Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel and Boyd Gaming today announced the creation of one of America’s richest turf sprint races for the upcoming Evangeline Downs Thoroughbred meeting, the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, which will be run on Saturday, June 21.
The $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint will be contested on the grass course at a distance of five furlongs for 3-year-olds and up with a maximum of 12 starters. It will be the highest purse for a five-furlong turf race to date this year in the U.S.
The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint will anchor a special Saturday afternoon program of races on June 21 at Evangeline Downs, located near Lafayette, La. The day will be highlighted by five stakes and a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 wager, which will allow ADW bettors and players at North American simulcast locations to take advantage of these rich wagering opportunities.
In addition to the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint, the lucrative card will also include the $100,000 Opelousas Stakes on turf for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up at 1 1/16 miles, and the $100,000 Evangeline Mile at one mile on the main track for 3-year-olds and up. Two Louisiana-bred sprints stakes on the main track – the $70,000 Lafayette for 3-year-olds and the $70,000 Acadiana for 3-year-old fillies – complete the $640,000 stakes program for the day.
“We are very excited to inaugurate the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint for our horsemen and fans here in Louisiana and around the country,” said Chris Warren, Director of Racing Operations Delta Downs/Evangeline Downs. “Turf sprints have become extremely popular in recent years on a national scale and we are extremely proud to bring one to the southern region of U.S. We look forward to drawing horses from Louisiana and across the U.S. to run in the Turf Sprint and our strong supporting card of stakes races.”
The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint is the second major stakes purse venture by Boyd Gaming, which purchased Evangeline Downs from Peninsula Gaming LLC in 2012. Evangeline’s sister track, Delta Downs, in Vinton, La., is home to the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (G3) for 2-year-olds in late November. In 2012, three Jackpot starters qualified for last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and the race produced Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents. The Jackpot Day program has proved extremely popular with horseplayers across the U.S., as total handle for the full card has risen by more than $2 million since 2009, punctuated by last year’s record setting all-sources mark of $5,044,286.
“The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint is another example of Boyd Gaming’s continued commitment to high quality Thoroughbred racing for horsemen and fans,” said Steve Kuypers, Vice President and General Manager of Delta Downs. “We hope to capitalize on the success we’ve created with the Delta Downs Jackpot and bring it to Evangeline for an outstanding day of racing on June 21 and throughout the 2014 meeting.”
Free nominations for the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint open today and close on May 28, 2014.