Winning Romance takes the EVD Distaff S. Coady Photography


OPELOUSAS, LA –A derby weekend crowd was treated to a skillful ride by jockey Deshawn Parker aboard Winning Romance in the $60,000 EVD Distaff at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night.   The race for Louisiana-bred older fillies and mares was contested at the distance of one mile over a track rated fast.


Winning Romance tossed her head slightly just as the gates opened and was away a step slower than her rivals but was able to make it to the lead heading into the clubhouse turn.  She’s Gone d’Wild and Offspring were away quickest but settled into tracking positions behind the Bret Calhoun trainee.  After making the lead, Winning Romance was able to set very moderate fractions early, with an opening quarter-mile in 25.72 seconds and a half-mile in a pedestrian 50.96 seconds.  Offspring was tracking the leader from a half-length back, while She’s Gone d’Wild, Snowball and Net a Bear were closely grouped in the compact field.


The Allied Racing Stable, LLC (Chester Thomas) runner was traveling comfortably moving into the turn as She’s Gone d’Wild turned up the pressure with a bid along the rail.  Snowball had maneuvered through some traffic and was angling for a three-wide bid as the leaders passed six furlongs in 1:15.53 seconds.  As the field turned for home, Winning Romance maintained a slim advantage, and responded when called upon by Parker nearing the furlong marker.  She was able to edge clear in the final yards, with the winning margin 1-3/4 lengths.  She’s Gone d’Wild, also trained by Calhoun, was able to hold second 2-1/4 lengths clear of Snowball and Net a Bear, who finished in a dead-heat for third.  The final running time for the mile was 1:39.65 seconds.


Winning Romance earned $36,000 for the victory, her fifth from 15 career starts.  The winner’s share of the purse increased her lifetime earnings to $253,446.


The 4-year-old filly was bred in Louisiana by Allied Racing Stable, LLC.  Sired by First Samurai, the chestnut is out of the Flatter mare Lipstick Junky.


Winning Romance, sent off as the wagering favorite, returned $3.60 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show.  She’s Gone d’Wild paid $5 to place and $2.40 to show.  Snowball and Net a Bear each paid $2.10 to show.




Snowball wins the Evangeline Downs Distaff. Coady Photography.


OPELOUSAS, LA – Evangeline Downs kicked off the 2021 stakes schedule as Diego Saenz booted home Tin Roof Farms LLC’s Snowball to win the $60,000 Evangeline Downs Distaff.


Snowball broke smoothly in the one-mile test for older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.  After being allowed to settle off the early pace set by Saber Cut and Distractor Factor, under steady fractions of 24.84 for the opening quarter-mile and 48.72 for the half mile.  As the field entered the far turn, Snowball commenced with a three-wide rally to collar the leaders at the top of the lane after six furlongs went in 1:13.17.


After taking the lead inside the final furlong, Snowball, who is trained by Sam Breaux,  drew clear over a stubborn Distractor Factor to win by three-quarters of a length.  Saber Cut wound up third another half-length behind the top pair.  The final running time for the distance was 1:38.35 over a track listed fast.


The win by Snowball was the sixth of her 28-race career.   She earned $36,000 for the victory, running her career earnings to $296, 680.


A 5-year-old mare, Snowball was bred in Louisiana by 4M Ranch.  The gray, or roan, mare is by Apriority, out of the Value Plus mare Inner Peace.


Sent off as the 8.5 favorite, Snowball paid $5.40 to win, $3.00 to place and $2.40 to show.  Distractor Factor returned $5.00 to place and $4.20 to show.  Saber Cut paid $5.60 to show.


Evangeline Downs finishes up the third week of racing with another nine-race card Saturday, featuring the $60,000 Evangeline Downs Classic.  A field of seven set to travel the one-mile distance.


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, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.






SPECIAL BLESSING - Evangeline Downs Distaff - 04-26-19 - R08 - EVD - Finish
Special Blessing wins the Evangeline Downs Distaff Stakes. Coady Photography

Evangeline Downs Distaff Stakes
Evangeline Downs, 4-26-19, 8 furlongs
Four Year Old and Upwards, Fillies and Mares, $75,000

Flat Out–Langsyne
Breeder: J. Adcock
Owner: Coteau Grove Farms LLCV
Trainer: W. Brett Calhoun
Jockey: Roberto Morales

Tap Dance Star
Star Guitar–Dance by Em
Breeder: Virginia Lazenby
Owner: Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC
Trainer: Oscar Modica
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

Hyper Piper
Old Fashioned–Filaree
Breeder: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez & John Duvieilh
Owner: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez & John Duvieilh
Trainer: Sam B. David, Jr.
Jockey: Sam B. David, Jr.


OPELOUSAS, LA – The $75,000 Evangeline Downs Distaff on Friday night was expected to be a battle between Louisiana heavyweights and old rivals, Hyper Piper and Testing One Two. However, a filly that hadn’t won a stakes race in nearly a year had other plans, as Special Blessing went to the front shortly after the start and never looked back, coasting to a victory by 6-1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:37.58 for the one mile over the fast track.

Special Blessing was able to secure an inside position before the field entered the first turn and used that rail run to her advantage, carving out fractions of 24.06 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.76 for the half. She really took off entering the far turn and the outcome was never in doubt as the field entered the stretch, as Special Blessing just kept increasing her lead with every stride. Tap Dance Star had been last in the field of six through the early stages, but closed well and beat out Hyper Piper for second. The even-money betting favorite, Testing One Two, was unable to fire after being near the pace early on and faded to finish fifth.

The win in the Evangeline Downs Distaff on Friday night was Special Blessing’s first stakes win since taking the $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks, also at Evangeline Downs on May 4, 2018.

Special Blessing was sent off by the betting public at odds of 9-1 and returned $20.80 to win, $8 to place and $4.60 to show. Tap Dance Star was also 9-1 in the wagering and paid $6.40 to place and $4 to show. Hyper Piper returned $3.40 to show.

Special Blessing was bred in Louisiana by J.Adcock. She is owned by Coteau Grove Farms, LLC, trained by Bret Calhoun and was ridden to victory by Roberto Morales. The 4-year-old filly is by Flat Out and is out of the Langfuhr mare, Langsyne. She has now won five of 12 starts in her career and the $45,000 first-place purse increases her lifetime earnings to $209,030.


Live racing at Evangeline Downs will resume on Saturday night with a nine-race program. The featured event on the program will be the $75,000 Evangeline Downs Classic. Post time on Saturday will be 5:50 pm Central Time.


For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at