by Jerry Shottenkirk
June 22, 2018
Evangeline Mile Stakes night attracts the top local barns and well as some shippers and the accompanying card helps make the evening a big-time attraction at the Opelousas, Louisiana track.
The 'Mile anchors a solid Pick 4, which includes Lafayette Stakes for Louisiana-breds, a turf allowance race and a claiming event.
Dazzling Gem, trained by Brad Cox, will get the most attention on the card as he’s the 9-to-5 morning line favorite for the Mile. He comes in off a good 3rd behind highly regarded McCracken in an optional claiming race at Churchill and prior to that won an allowance at Oaklawn. He tried the toughs in the Essex Handicap but faded to sixth.
Evangeline isn’t the easiest port in which to ship, and there is plenty of talent waiting for him, including the game Magic Vow, who battled head-and-head for the last six furlongs of a mile turf race and prevailed by a head. He’s been competitive in several stakes races, against open company as well as state-breds, and is better on the dirt than he is on grass. A single of Dazzling Gem is an option many will take, but Magic Vow, trained by Allen Landry, also has a place on this suggested ticket.
Autumn Warrior is the 9-to-5 morning line choice for the Lafayette Stakes, and anyone who witnessed his 14-length win in his maiden voyage here knows why. The Orb gelding trained by Al Stall, was not asked for much in that performance and since then has some impressive local works, including half-mile bullets in his last two. He’s clearly talented but takes on some in outstanding form. Even if Autumn Warrior wins, it won’t as easy as his first start. Aw Shucks and Discreetly have been very tough lately and are worthy of attention as well.
Here's My Suggested Pick 4 Ticket
Race 6: #3 Aw Shucks, #4 Discreetly D, #6 Autumn Warrior
Race 7: #1 Sir Advent, #5 Tensas’s Boy, #6 Much Class
Race 8: #5 Dazzling Gem, #8 Magic Vow
Race 9: #2 Blue Houdini, #6 Tres Huevos, #9 Tanq on the Rocks
50-cent Pick 4: 3-4-6 with 1-5-6 with 5-8 with 2-6-9 ($27)