A huge crowd convened June 4 at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas for the annual Louisiana Legends Night – a night of racing that is dedicated to the best fourlegged athletes in the Pelican State, which included six states races worth more than $450,000 in purse money. Jockey Jareth Loveberry and trainer Ron Faucheux teamed up to win two trophies while others continued to strive for greatness.
TRAINER RON FAUCHEUX AND JOCKEY JARETH LOVEBERRY TEAM UP FOR TWO STAKES VICTORIES
OPELOUSAS, LA –Evangeline Downs hosted the annual celebration of the Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds with an exciting Louisiana Legends Night card on Saturday. A large crowd was on hand for the night of stakes action that included six stakes races each worth $75,000 for state-bred runners. Pleasant weather greeted race goers and the races were contested over tracks rated fast and firm.
Maga Man displayed a new dimension by sitting off the early speed and rallying to a thrilling victory in the $75,000 Turf. Normally a runner found battling for the lead, jockey Joe Stokes was able to get Maga Man to settle off the hot early pace being fought by Forestdungone, Mangelsen and Behemah Star through snappy fractions of 23.21, 47.28 and 1:11.63. Maga Man was ready to launch a four-wide rally at the top of the lane and engaged the leaders as they reached the furlong marker. While Behemah Star continued to battle on as the only survivor of the early pace, Jaci’s Royalty and City Park were closing from the back of the pack. Trained by Norman Miller, III, Maga Man was able to dig in and prevailed in a finish that saw the first four finishers separated by less than a combined length.
Maga Man stopped the clock in 1:43.33 over the 1-1/16 mile distance with the official winning margin of ½-length over Jaci’s Royalty. It was a head back to third place finisher Behemah Star and a nose to City Park in fourth. Maga Man defends his title in the Legends Turf, although last year’s running was contested over a sloppy main track.
Owned by Norman Miller IV, Maga Man returned $17.20 to his backers, $9.20 to place and $5.60 to show. Jaci’s Royalty paid $8.20 and $6, with Behemah Star paying $4.60 to show. The winning purse pushed the career totals for Maga Man to 10 victories in 39 career starts and $369,880 in earnings.
Bred by Steven Renshaw, Maga Man is a 7-year-old gelded gray/roan son of Musket Man, out of the Pulling Punches mare Lew’s Gray.
Free Like a Girl ran like a solid favorite is expected to do in her victory over 3-year-old fillies in the $75,000 Soiree. After breaking a little awkwardly, jockey Pedro Cotto, Jr. was able to get Free Like a Girl into a comfortable position just off the early leader Beleout. Trained by Chasey Deville Pomier, Free Like a Girl ranged up to challenge the leader moving past the quarter-mile pole and opened up a comfortable margin moving past the furlong pole. Wholelottamo was steadily gaining ground in a runner-up effort but could not threaten the winner. The winning margin for Free Like a Girl was 1-1/4 lengths, with another 7-3/4 lengths to the third-place finisher First I’ve Seen. The winner covered the mile distance in a time of 1:39.41
Sired by El Deal, the bay filly is out of the Flashy Bull mare Flashy Prize and was bred by Kim Renee Stover and Lisa Osborne. The victory was her seventh from 13 career starts and the winning purse pushed her career total to $401,473.
Owned by Gerald Bruno Jr., Carl J. Deville, Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom, Free Like a Girl returned $3 to win, $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show. Wholelottamo paid $3 to place, $2.20 to show and First I’ve Seen paid $2.20 to show.
Kendel Standlee’s Big Chopper was hustled to the front and never looked back in his victory in the $75,000 Cheval. Jockey C.J. McMahon had his mount away alertly from the gate and settled into stride setting fractions of 24.01, 47.83 and 1:11.93 before stopping the clock in 1:37.71 for the mile distance. Vodka Gimlet was in range throughout but could not get past the determined winner. Favored Touchuponastar, off a very impressive maiden victory, was chasing the eventual victor from the outset and faded to third. Trained by Scott Gelner, Big Chopper’s winning margin was ½-length, with another length separating the second and third finishers.
Bred by the owner, the 3-year-old is by Shackleford and is out of the Unusual Heat mare Miss Well Molded. The winning purse pushed his career total to $130,480 with his third victory from eight career starts.
Big Chopper returned $13.80 to his backers for a win ticket, $6.20 to place and $3.80 to show. Vodka Gimlet returned $4.60 to place and $2.60 to show, with Touchuponastar paying $2.80 to show.
Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro’s Net a Bear returned to her winning ways on the grass with an impressive victory in the $75,000 Turf Distaff. Jockey Tim Thornton and Net a Bear were unhurried early sitting in fifth position early as longshot Sumitup raced away to an open lengths lead. World War and Great in Red were the first to collar the leader moving into the far turn as the leader gave way after fractions of 23.63 and 48.15. Through six furlongs in 1:12.26, Net a Bear was shuffled back in some traffic and had to wait for some running room. As the field straightened away in the lane, the Allen Landry trainee found clear running room and rushed past the leaders to win by 1-1/4 lengths. World War fought on to finish second a head in front of Great in Red. The winner stopped the timer in 1:36.91.
Bred by Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll, Net a Bear was sired by Awesome Bet and is out of the Eddington mare Edacious Reality. Winning for the twelfth time in 33 career starts, the $45,000 winning purse pushed her career earnings to $615,970.
The favorite in the wagering, Net a Bear paid $3.40 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show. World War paid $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show. Great in Red returned $2.80 to show.
Trainer Ron Faucheux and jockey Jareth Loveberry teamed up for their first of two stakes victories as Fame Feather won the $75,000 Mademoiselle. Winning for the first time over the main track, Fame Feather rallied from off the pace to win the 5-1/2 furlong sprint. Settling off swift early fractions of 21.90 and 45.58 seconds set by Lady Hopper, the Picard Thoroughbreds Racing Stable LLC (Dawn and Jeffrey Picard) runner commenced a rally two wide on the turn and rallied to pull away for a one length victory over Spirited Beauty, a half-length ahead of Snowball who rallied late for a third-place finish. The winner stopped the timer in 1:04.49.
Bred by Ramona Pierce, Fame Feather is a 7-year-old chestnut mare sired by Lion Tamer, out of the Indian Charlie mare Pretty Indian. Winning for the seventh time in 25 career starts, the winner’s share increased her career bankroll to $274,330.
Fame Feather returned a welcome $21.20 to win for her backers, $7.80 to place and $5 to show. Spirited Beauty paid $4.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Snowball returned $3 to show.
Faucheux and Loveberry found the winner’s circle again as Bertie’s Galaxy defended his title in the $75,000 Sprint. Sharp away from the gate, Bertie’s Galaxy was quickly in charge leading by a length through an opening quarter in 21.86 seconds with Black Sword and Yankee Seven chasing their familiar rival. Turning for home in a half-mile in 44.63 seconds, the Allen Cassedy runner extended the lead to two lengths and was clear at the wire. The winning margin was 2-1/4 lengths over a late closing Creole Charlie and it was another 1-1/2 lengths back to Takes Two to Tango in third. Bertie’s Galaxy stopped the clock in 1:03.52 for the 5-1/2 furlong distance.
Bertie’s Galaxy was bred by Margie Averett and the 6-year-old chestnut gelding is by Greeley’s Galaxy out of the Wild Rush mare Wild Bertie.
Off as the favorite, Bertie’s Galaxy returned $6.60 as a popular victor, $4.60 to place and $4 to show. Creole Charlie was worth $12.60 to place and $8 to show. Takes Two to Tango returned $5.60 to show. The winning share pushed the career bankroll of Bertie’s Galaxy to $442,850. The victory was the eleventh from 25 career starts.
For more information on racing at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.comand on Twitter @evdracing. Live racing resumes Wednesday with a 5:30pm Central first post. The racing calendar for 2022 is a Wednesday through Saturday schedule until the end of the meet on August 27.