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September 14, 2008

For Immediate Release

Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino Contact:
Trey Thibodeaux, Director of Community Relations
(337) 594-3138

Media Contact:
Julie Calzone
(337) 235-2924 Ext. 3

MBNA Challenge Championship Night Highlights Evangeline Downs' 2008 Fall Quarter Horse Season

(Opelousas, La.) -The MBNA Challenge Championship Night, the richest night in the 43-year history of Evangeline Downs highlights the 40-night fall quarter horse meeting at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino that will run from Thursday, September 18 through Saturday, November 22.

The "Challenge Night Championships" held for the first time in Louisiana will feature a total of nine stakes races worth more than $1 million and includes four Grade I events: the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship; the $200,000 Bayer Legend Racing Challenge Derby Championship; the $125,000 Merial Racing Challenge Distaff Championship; and the $125,000 Red Cell Racing Challenge Distance Championship. Three other Graded Stakes are also on the rich program and include the $150,000 Ford Racing Challenge Juvenile Championship, a Grade II event as well as the Farnam Stakes and the AQHA Members Plus Stakes, both Grade III races.
The $200,000 added LQHBA Breeders Futurity, a Restricted Grade I event and the richest race at Evangeline Downs (last year's purse of $573,055 was the richest race ever held at Evangeline Downs) and the Consolation for the LQHBA Breeders Futurity will also be held on the MBNA Challenge Championship Night. In addition, the $75,000 added Louisiana Derby and the $25,000 Don Cravins Dash will be conducted on that evening bringing the total purses for the night to well over $1.8 million dollars.
In addition to the lucrative and expanded stakes program, daily purse distribution will start off at approximately $110,000. This has again led to an overfilled barn area, both at the track and the training center.

Kenny Roberts, who won the leading trainer title for the last three seasons at Evangeline Downs, is back with a full contingent of 40 horses to defend his crown against a talented lineup of horsemen. They include Heath Taylor who won this year's $1.9 million All-American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs with Stoli's Winner. Joining them are Janet Van Bebber, Danny Eldridge, Ray Robbins and Anthony Arey.

Alvin Smith Jr. Alfonso Lujan, who captured last year's leading rider title with 55 wins, including a victory in the LQHBA Breeders Futurity aboard Vals Warrior, heads up the jockey colony that also features Orlando Baldillez, Gibert Ortiz, and Danny Lavergne, the leading rider at Evangeline Downs in 2005 and 2006.
"In addition to the MBNA Challenge Night and the big futurities for the Louisiana bred two-year-olds, Evangeline Downs has a solid overnight program as well as an extensive and varied stakes line-up that will provide plenty of opportunity for both three-year-olds and for older campaigners," said Harvey Lourd III, racing secretary at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino.
Racing will be conducted four evenings a week, Thursday thru Sunday with a first post of 6:20 p.m. central time.
For more information contact Evangeline Downs at 337-594-3000.

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