OPELOUSAS, La. � Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline Downs showed the bettors knew what they were doing, as favorites won seven of the eight stakes races on the 12-race program. The most prominent names among all the Louisiana-breds on the card were Stormdriver, who won the Classic, Heitai, who came out on top in the Sprint, and String King, winner of the Turf. All were sent off at less than even-money and all had to persevere to achieve victory.
Stormdriver continues to make a strong case for season-ending honors at Evangeline Downs, winning his second stakes race of the season in the $125,000 Louisiana Legends Classic. Stormdriver sat toward the tail end of the field through the early stages, as Udoknowjack set solid fractions of 24.23 for the quarter and 48.81 for the half. Once the field made the far turn, though, Diego Saenz sent Stormdriver through traffic and an opening developed that the 5-year-old horse came through and he scored a 2 � length victory over the sloppy surface in a final time of 1:38.13 for 1 1/16 miles. Stormdriver is owned by Fruition Racing LLC and trained by Patrick Devereux Jr. He paid $2.60 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show.
The $100,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint was taken by Heitai, who is quickly closing in on the million dollar mark in career earnings. The win in the Sprint elevates his lifetime earnings to $981,043. Heitai darted right to the lead out of the gate and set torrid fractions of 21.97 for the first quarter and 44.64 for the half-mile. After setting those quick times, Heitai was ripe for a closing challenge and one came from Strong And Tough, ridden by Colby Hernandez. Strong And Tough got within a half-length, but could get no closer as Heitai won in an impressive final time of 1:03.12 for 5 � furlongs. Heitai is a 5-year-old gelding owned by Rowell Enterprises Inc, trained by Tom Amoss and Diego Saenz was aboard tonight. He returned $3.20 to win, $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show.
String King scored by a length in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf, run over the sloppy main track after heavy rains on Saturday forced racing off the turf. String King had to wear down longshot leader, Drewssasin, who led most of the way at odds of 26-1. The 7-year-old gelding also had to withstand challenges from Galveston Harbor and Old Pal of Mine in the stretch before prevailing in a final time of 1:38.62 for 1 1/16 miles. String King is owned and trained by Charles Craig Smith and was ridden to victory by Richard Eramia. He paid $2.60 to win, $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show.
There were five other stakes races on the Louisiana Legends program at Evangeline Downs. Over A Barrel was up in time to prevail in a photo in the $50,000 Starter. Pacific Pink came rolling from off the pace to draw away to a 4 � length victory in the $100,000 Soiree. Snappy Girl was an impressive gate-to-wire winner in the $100,000 Mademoiselle. Mobile Bay took the lead on the far turn and held off the closers to take the $100,000 Cheval. Heatseeker Sharon went to the front right away and led all the way around the racetrack to win the $100,000 Distaff.
For more information about the upcoming season at Evangeline Downs visit the track�s website atwww.evangelinedownsracing.com.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, just off I-49 at exit 18.