09/08/2004 12:00AM

Total handle increases at Evangeline


Total handle for the Evangeline Downs meeting that concluded Monday showed a healthy increase from a year ago. This season was the final one for Thoroughbreds at the Carencro, La., facility, as the 2005 season, which begins next April, will be the first at the new location in nearby Opelousas, where the slots portion of the racino has been operating since December.

All-sources wagering this season totaled $117,571,392, compared to $108,463,742 in 2003, an increase of 8.4 percent. Evangeline ran 92 days each year. Ontrack attendance decreased 8.5 percent, which was expected, as the nearby slots casino offered its own offtrack betting.

Brian Hernandez Jr. captured his first riding title, despite taking several weeks off to ride at the spring Churchill Downs meeting. The local native won 99 times from 431 mounts for a solid 23 percent win rate. Steve Bourque beat out C.J. Woodley for the second spot, with 76 wins, compared to Woodley's 73.

Keith Bourgeois captured the training crown with 60 victories, compared to 55 for Dale Angelle.