Star Guitar wins the Louisiana Legends Classic at Evangeline Downs
On Saturday, Evangeline Downs hosted the 8th annual Louisiana Legends Night, a series of 8 stakes races for Louisiana-breds. Conditions were excellent at the Opelousas, Louisiana, oval with clear skies and temperatures in the 80's.
The highlight race of the night was the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic, for older horses going 1 1/16 miles. Star Guitar, winner of the last three Legends Classics and the all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner, was sent off as the 7-10 favorite in the field of 5 over 6-5 Get In Da House and 10-1 Productive Envoy. Productive Envoy was sent to the lead by jockey Richard Eramia through fractions of 24.27, 48.92, and 1:13.43 while stalked by 12-1 Heavy on Themister. Entering the stretch, Productive Envoy tired allowing Heavy on Themister to inherit the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.55, but Star Guitar, 3rd early, responded when asked and easily took command late to win by 3/4 length in a new track record time of 1:43.71 over the fast track. It was another length back to Get In Da House third.
Full results chart
Star Guitar in the winner's circle and post parade. Jockey Gerard Melancon said, "This horse is like riding a sports car, he has so many gears. I kept asking him in the stretch and he kept giving me more and was really striding out in the end. He beat a couple of good horses tonight and he is just a fun horse to ride." Trainer Al Stall Jr. added, "It's turned into a situation where it becomes such an event when he runs, for us at least. The expectations get so high I find myself getting little more nervous than I used to. But he always delivers."
Ladyzarbridge wins the Louisiana Legends Distaff at Evangeline Downs
Immediately before the Classic, a field of 7 older fillies and mares contested the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Distaff at 1 mile 70 yards. 14-1 Sea the Stream battled for the lead with 9-5 second choice Ladyzarbridge through fractions of 23.21, 45.87, and 1:10.55 while styalked by even-money favorite Harlie's Dreams. Into the lane, Ladyzarbridge took over the lead, and held off Harlie's Dream to get the win by a head in 1:43.46. It was a long 5 3/4 lengths back to 16-1 Surprise Squall third.
Kissimmee Kyle (outside) wins the Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes
A field of 6 older horses contested the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes at about 1 1 1/16 miles on the turf. 17-1 Classy Deelites opened up a clear lead of as many as 4 lengths with 19-1 longest shot Idefromthebayou sitting second. On the far turn, Classy Deelites tired badly and faded to last. 6-5 faorite Kissimmee Kyle, 4th early, came out 4 wide for room and held off 2-1 second choice Sadie's Soldier to win by a head in 1:41.17 over the firm course. It was a long 4 1/4 lengths back to Idefromthebayou third. Due to a timer malfunction, fractional times are not available and the final time was hand-timed.
The $100,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint featured a field of 7 older horses sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track. Jockey Richard Eramia sent 3-2 favorite Amanecer de Oro to the lead down the backstretch through fractions of 22.06 and 44.84 while stalked by 9-2 Unitas. Into the lane, Amanecer de Oro extended his lead and finished under wraps 4 1/4 lengths in front of 5-2 Pirate Island in 1:03.55. It was another 3/4 length back to Unitas third.
Top Cat Boogie wins the Louisiana Legends Colts and Geldings Mile
The $100,000 Louisiana Legends Colts and Geldings Mile at 1 mile on the main track originally drew a full field of 12 but after 1 scratch, 11 three-year-olds went to post on Saturday night. Jockey Randall Toups sent 8-5 favorite Top Cat Booge to the lead and he set fractions of 23.39, 46.85, and 1:11.48 while stalked by 48-1 Silent Punch. At the top of the stretch, Silent Punch tired badly as Top Cat Boogie easily drew off to a 4 1/4 length win over late-running 17-1 Four Joes in 1:37.75. It was another 1/2 length back to 2-1 Look at the Time third.
U Belong to Me wins the Louisiana Legends Ladies Sprint Stakes
A field of 8 older fillies and mares contested the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Ladies Sprint at 5 1/2 furlongs. 7-2 Wire Me Bessie dueled for the lead with 13-1 Izzie's Gold through fractions of 21.77 and 45.10 while stalked by 8-1 Tina Lena Too. 10-1 U Belong to Me, 7th earle, came through between horses late when set to a drive and won by 1 1/4 lengths over 6-1 Warrior Maid in 1:04.52. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to pacesetter Wire Me Bessie third.
Well's Gold wins the Louisiana Legends Starter Stakes in course record time
The $75,000 Louisiana Legends Starter Stakes featured 11 older horses sprinting 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. 8-5 favorite Redhotrush was sent to the lead by jockey C.J. McMahon through fractiions of 23.06 and 45.81. On the turn the favorite tired, as 5-1 third choice Well's Gold took command through 3/4 in 1:10.10, drawing off to win by 5 lengths over 10-1 Mr. Porter in a new course record time of 1:28.46. It was a neck back to 13-1 Kiss My Kriss third, while Redhotruch checked in 9th.
Winning owner Melvin Phillips said, "This is the first time Well's Gold has run for a purse of this amount. It's very exciting because this is a first time for me. I've only been in the business for about three years and we started with $30,000."
Little Ms. Protocol wins the Louisiana Legends Fillies Mile Stakes
Kicking off the stakes action on Saturday night was the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Fillies Mile Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. 7-2 Midge Four set the pace of 23.54, 47.17, and 1:11.78 while 2 lengths in front of 5-1 Little Ms. Protocol. Entering the stretch, jockey Diego Saenz asked Little Ms. Protocol for run and she obliged, taking over the lead at the 3/16 pole and pulling away to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:37.49. It was another 2 1/4 lengths back to 11-10 favorite She's Prado's Idol third.
Winning owner Keith Myers said, "We live about 5 miles away from Evangeline Downs and our farm is right behind our house. It is such a big thing for us to win a stakes race of this caliber. It is always a big accomplishment to win a race of this magnitude, but to be able to win a race like this in your hometown makes it really special."