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April 08, 2008


For Immediate Release
 
Racetrack Contact:
Trey Thibodeaux
(337) 349-8823
 
Media Contact:
Julie Calzone
(337) 235-2924 Ext.3
 
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino Set To Open 43rd Season of Thoroughbred Racing with Expanded Fields
2008 Season to Run in Honor of David A. Yount
 
(Opelousas, La.) - Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino saw its 2007 spring/summer season post across-the-board gains in several major categories, including total handle, on-track handle, purse distribution, and average field size for the 89-night meet. The average field size for the 89 race days was more than 10 runners per race, which was the largest in the U.S.
 
Increased business and casino proceeds also drove purses to an all-time level. The nightly overnight purse distribution of $180,000 was more than $10,000 higher than in 2006, and with the improved stakes program, more than $19.4 million was paid out to horsemen. Nineteen stakes worth more than $1.8 million were contested during the meet, which was highlighted by the $200,000 Evangeline Mile.
 
On April 9, the 2008 spring/summer season begins promising a record stakes schedule which will feature 25 events worth a record $2.015 million, up more than 12% from last year.
 
“We are looking forward to another record season of thoroughbred racing," said Steve Darbonne, Evangeline Downs' director of racing operations. “Increased fields and purses will continue to set Evangeline Downs apart as the best place to race and wager. We are continuing to make improvements to the program and to the facility, including a 7/8-mile turf track to be completed in the very near future.”

The 2008 meet will also run in honor of David A. Yount, the former executive director of racing and current assistant general manager at Evangeline Downs, who recently lost a year-long battle with cancer. He was instrumental in moving the racing operation without interruption from its Carencro site to Opelousas. He maintained the operation in Carencro, while the casino was built and put into service in late 2003. Yount moved the racing operation to Opelousas well ahead of the state regulated deadline.
 
“One of his legacies is the racing program we have here in Opelousas,” said Darbonne. “Every time we run, we know he’ll be at the finish line making sure we are all doing the best job we can.”
 
The stakes schedule will showcase a total of ten events worth $100,000 or more, including the Evangeline Mile on August 16. The richest race on the calendar with a purse of $200,000, The “Mile” for three-year-olds and up, annually attracts the best handicap horses from both the mid- and southwest. Last year’s renewal was captured by Louisiana-bred Costa Rising, who dominated his rivals by double-digits under veteran Kerwin Clark for trainer Glenn Delahoussaye and owner Charles Castille.
 
State-bred horses will be in the spotlight during the running of the fourth edition of Louisiana Legends Night scheduled for Friday, July 4. The program will feature six races with a purse of at least $100,000 each and a total of eleven black type events that are worth more than $900,000. Last year’s event recorded an all-time high handle of $2,218,014 wagered.

The 2008 schedule will offer three new races. They include the $75,000 Opelousas Stakes for two-year-old fillies on Saturday, August 30, and a pair of races that are restricted to state-bred three-year-olds, the Salute Stakes for fillies on June 13, and the Acclaim Stakes for colts and geldings on June 14. The Salute Stakes will honor A Thrill for Jill while the Acclaim Stakes pay tribute to Bet Me Best.
 
Evangeline Downs Racing Secretary Jason Boulet stated “Louisiana racing, and especially Evangeline Downs, has long been a proving ground for two-year-olds, and while we have a three-race program of six-figure events for the colts, the addition of the Opelousas now gives us a similar program for the fillies.” Boulet further stated, “The Salute and Acclaim Stakes will each have a purse of $60,000 and will be held three weeks prior to Louisiana Legends Night in order to provide a final lead-in event for those three-year-olds and their connections preparing for their respective Legends Night engagements.”
 
The 85 night schedule will feature races every Wednesday-Saturday thru Labor Day, Monday, September 1. Post time each race night is 6:20 p.m.
 
For more information contact Evangeline Downs at 337-594-3000 or visit evangelinedowns.com.
 
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