BRET CALHOUN TRAINED RUNNERS FINISH FIRST AND SECOND
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.
Evelyn Benoit & trainer Jose Camejo win two stakes on closing day
(New Orleans, Louisiana – Sunday, March 27, 2022) – In a banner season that saw her top the owner’s standings with 22 wins, eight more than her closest pursuer Allied Racing Stables, Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stables won a pair of $75,000 stakes on closing day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. She took the Page Cortez Memorial with Ova Charged, and fittingly, the Star Guitar with a son of that stallion, Behemah Star. Both horses are trained by Jose Camejo.
All 22 of Benoit’s meet wins were by horses sired by Star Guitar, whom she stands at Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for $7,500 per live foal. With 27 wins from 100 starts, Camejo finished seventh in the trainer’s standings.
In the Page Cortez, which is named for the longtime Louisiana senator, the .60-1 favorite Ova Charged, dominated from start to finish. In what was her turf debut and first start since her Louisiana Champions Day victory in the Ladies Sprint on December 11, the 4-year-old daughter of Star Guitar was pressed early by Offspring through early fractions of 22.47 and 46.46. She put that foe away at the top of the stretch and was not menaced thereafter, stopping the timer in 1:04.44 for 5 ½ furlongs on firm turf with the rails down, even jumping a shadow in the stretch along the way. Defeated by seven lengths, Offspring held off Snowball by a nose for second.
It was the third consecutive win and fifth in six starts for Ova Charged, with her only defeat coming behind Super Sensational in the Victory Ride (G3) last summer at Belmont. The career bankroll now stands a $219,600.
One race later, Behemah Star scored a mild upset at 9.30-1 in the Star Guitar for Brittlyn Stables and Camejo, defeating a pair of Allied Racing Stable runners in Highland Creek and .90-1 favorite Who Took the Money. Earlier in the day, Chester Thomas (Allied Racing Stable) scored a stakes win of his own with trainer Bret Calhoun, taking the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial with his homebred Winning Romance.
CILLA BECOMES FIRST BLACK-TYPE WINNER FOR CALIFORNIA CHROME
OPELOUSAS, LA –Evangeline Downs hosted the annual celebration of the Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds with Louisiana Legends Night on Saturday. The exciting card featured six stakes races, each with a purse of $70,000 highlighted the card.
Persistent rains throughout the week forced all the races to be run on the main track. The Soiree was contested over a muddy track, but a downpour after that race left the card sloppy for the remaining races.
The $70,000 Mademoiselle featured what may have been the most impressive performance of the evening as Cilla powered away to victory. The 3-year-old Brett Brinkman trainee scratched out of the one-mile Soiree to face older fillies and mares in the Mademoiselle. That decision proved fruitful with the sensational turn of foot produced on the far turn. Traveling in mid-pack as Strong Beauty and Southern Beauty battled through fractions of 21.64 and 45.05, jockey Joel Dominguez sent Cilla up to challenge with a four-wide move at the top of the lane. While racing six wide, Cilla stormed away from her rivals to win by 4-1/4 lengths, stopping the timer in 1:03.74. Evangeline Downs Distaff winner Snowball rallied up the rail to finish second and Strong Beauty held on well for third.
Campaigned by P. Dale Ladner, and was bred by the partnership of Brinkman and Ladner. Sired by California Chrome, she is out of the Into Mischief mare Sittin at the Bar. The Mademoiselle victory was the second impressive win over a sloppy track, along with a win at Delaware Park last August.
Cilla returned $19.60 as the winner, $6.20 to place and $4.20 to show. Snowball paid $4.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Strong Beauty paid $4.40 to show. With the $42,000 winner’s prize, Cilla pushed her career earnings to $143,500.
The $70,000 Soiree, for 3-year-old fillies, was contested by a field of just four runners over the one-mile distance. Winning Romance, trained by W. Bret Calhoun, broke alertly and traveled comfortably in tandem with Half Koo Koo for the first half-mile. Jockey Diego Saenz asked his runner for more on the far turn, and she quickly responded. Winning Romance’s lead widened throughout the lane with the winning margin an incredible 20-3/4 lengths. Inawic, who tracked the leaders down the backside, finished second and Tecate Time was along for third. The final time was a hand-timed 1:38.75.
Winning Romance, sired by First Samurai, and out of the Flatter mare Lipstick Junky, returned $2.60 to win and $2.10 to place. Inawic returned $4.00 to place. There was no show wagering in the short field. The Allied Racing Stables, LLC (Chester Thomas) runner pushed her career earnings to $135,441.
The $70,000 Cheval was contested in a torrential rainstorm that arrived shortly before post-time. Chu Chu’s Legacy was quickly away in the one-mile affair, and was never headed, scoring a front-running six-length victory. The winner owned and trained by Allen Landry is a son of Bind, out of the Johannesburg mare Bond’s Babe. Jockey Joe Stokes urged his runner along in splits of 23.59, 47.41 and 1:12.36, before stopping the timer in 1:39.18 for the eight furlongs.
Runner-up Wise Verdict made a move inside of rivals on the turn to get in position turning for home, while third-place finisher Beauregard was well placed throughout, but unable to threaten the leader.
The winner returned $10.60 to win, $6.40 to place and $4.80 to show. Wise Verdict rewarded backers with $9.60 to place and $6.00 to show. Longshot Beauregard paid $13.80 to show. Chu Chu’s Legacy ran his total earnings to $176,350 with the triumph.
The $70,000 Sprint, over a distance of 5-1/2 furlongs, was a family affair as half-siblings Bertie’s Galaxy and Wild Bert battled from the start and finished one-two. Both runners are out of the Wild Rush dam, Wild Bertie, with the winner being the younger brother and sired by Greeley’s Galaxy.
Wild Bert sped through early fractions of 21.86 and 45.04, with Bertie’s Galaxy in close attendance to the outside of the leader. Moving to challenge on the far turn, jockey Diego Saenz swept up with the Ron Faucheux runner to take the lead approaching the quarter pole. The pair steadily drew away through the lane to win by 3-1/4 lengths in a time of 1:03.53. Wild Bertie was well clear as the runner-up, with Laughingsaintssong another 3-1/2 lengths back in third.
Bertie’s Galaxy’s pushed his career earnings to $225,750. Owned by Allen Cassedy and trained by Ron Faucheux, Bertie’s Galaxy was sent off as the second choice at 2-1 and paid $6.00 to win, $3.60 to place and $2.80 to show. Wild Bert returned $7.20 to place and $4.60 to show. Laughingsaintssong returned $5.00 to show.
The $70,000 Turf Distaff was the second straight stakes victory for Offspring. The 5-year-old mare by Into Mischief, out of the Pioneering mare Pioneer Gal, had previously won a stakes at the Fair Grounds. Away in good order under jockey Roberto Morales, Offspring was allowed to settle off the moderate fractions being set by Distractor Factor, traveling just off the leader through splits of 25.06 and 49.68. Saber Cut was up to put pressure on Distractor Factor as Offspring moved alongside, while Quikfast N Ahurry ranged up four-wide past 6-furlongs in 1:14.55. As they straightened away, Offspring surged between rivals to poke her head in front at the top of the lane and fought off her rivals for a 1-3/4 length victory in 1:39.57. Quikfast N Ahurry battled on for second, 1-1/4 lengths in front of favored Net a Bear in third.
Owned by Oak Tree Stable (Bennett E. Powel) and trained by Edward J. Johnston, Offspring rewarded backers with a win price of $7.80, $4.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Quikfast N Ahurry paid $5.60 to place and $3.20 to show, with Net a Bear at $2.40 to show. The career bankroll increased to $219,478 with the winning share of the purse.
The $70,000 Turf was the final stakes race of the night and was won in wire-to-wire fashion by Maga Man. A quick start from the inside post allowed Maga Man, with jockey Kevin Smith, to set reasonable fractions of 48.17 for a half-mile and 1:12.74 for the six-furlong split. With Grand Luwegee in close attendance throughout, Maga Man repelled that challenge at the top of the lane and held sway in the final yards to hold off a late rally up the rail from Jax Man in a time of 1:38.36. The rider of Jax Man, Casey Fusilier, lodged an objection and the stewards also posted the inquiry sign regarding the final yards of the one-mile race. After reviewing the videotapes, the stewards found there was insufficient evidence to change the order of finish.
The 6-year-old son of Musket Man, and out of the Pulling Punches mare Lew’s Gray, runs for the Whispering Oaks Farm, LLC of Carrol Castille. Trained by Steven B. Flint, the winner returned $11.80 to win, $5.20 to place and $3.20 to show. Runner-up Jax Man paid $6.20 to place and $2.80 to show. Grand Luwegee paid $3.20 to show. With the victory, Maga Man increased his career bankroll to $233,960.
For more information on racing at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website atwww.evdracing.com and on Twitter @evdracing. Racing continues on a Wednesday thru Saturday schedule until the end of the meet on September 18.
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.