by Jerry Shottenkirk
July 28, 2017
Thoroughbred breeding in Louisiana has improved over the years – ask anyone who ships into Fair Grounds over the winter months.
Evangeline Downs is the summer place for the state-breds to show their talents, and Saturday night is a good example of it in the fillies division and colts and geldings division of the D.S. Shine Young Futurity. They are exclusively for Louisiana-breds and part of the late Pick 4, the target my pari-mutuel intentions this week. The sequence goes from races six through nine.
The Pick 4 begins with the $75,000 fillies division of the D.S. Shine Young Futurity. She’screative, a J.R. Caldwell-trained daughter of Creative Cause, was truly impressive in her only start, which came at Evangeline on June 28. She put away early challenges and romped by 8.5 lengths. She’screative is a good starting-out price as she’s 5-1 on the morning line. The Karl Broberg-trained Girls Life is the lukewarm 4-1 morning line choice and worthy of inclusion on the ticket.
The eighth is a tough one full of decent veteran claimers, and I'll utilize the ALL button (seven horses).
The colts and geldings division of the D.S. Shine Young goes as the eighth race and gives the Caldwell barn a second good chance on the stakes menu. It would not be a shocker to see Caldwell to claim both, and his rep I Want a Picture is a 2-1 favorite in this one. He was 2nd in his maiden voyage and then came back for a clear win. Each of those came at Lone Star and this is his 1st try against Louisiana-breds. Calimor looks to have the best chance of the locally based horses. We’ll use those two in the third leg of the sequence.
The Pick 4 ends with a five-furlong maiden race for 3, 4, 5 and 6-year-olds. I’m taking a trio in here with Song N a Cat, who was 2nd last out; Farewell Time, who tired in his latest but is a threat to steal going this distance; and Stout’Cannon, who was 4th in his latest.
Evangeline Downs Late Pick 4 Ticket
Another race caught my eye at a place that doesn’t usually pop up on the radar. It’s Fair Meadows in Tulsa, Okla., where Taxman’s Quest comes back to his native land for the $45,000 Route 66 Stakes, a race for 3-year-old and upward Oklahoma-breds at 6.5 furlongs around the bull ring.
Taxman’s Quest is a 3-year-old going against older rivals, so it’s not a giveway. But you have to like the company he’s kept. After dominant performances against state-breds at Remington in his only starts of last year, the targets became more difficult to hit. Owner-breeder Litsch Family sent him to trainer Richard Mandella at Santa Anita. He ran three times, all in stakes races and most recently was fourth, some 17 lengths behind American Anthem in the G3 Laz Barrera Stakes. He was returned his original spot in the Roger Engel barn, which always hovers around 40 percent (at least) success in northeast Oklahoma. It’s doubtful you’ll get the 4-1 on the morning line but he’s definitely worth a look despite taking on the likes of half-million dollar earner Johnny Whip. But after facing graded company in California, you have to like Taxman’s Quest’s chances of working over this level of competition in his return home.