Evangeline Downs hosts LQHBA Futurity Saturday

OPELOUSAS — A talented and evenly matched field of nine is set to square off in the Grade I (Res) LQHBA Futurity, the richest race of the year with a purse of $517,844 at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino on Saturday, November 19.

The LQHBA Futurity, for two-year-olds bred in Louisiana, will be run at the distance of 400 yards and features a field on nine who advanced from the more than 140 youngsters who took part in a total of 15 trials held just two weeks ago. With a purse of more than $517,000, this marks the sixth consecutive running of the LQHBA Futurity with a purse in excess of a half-million dollars. Note: Tylers Big Bird qualified for the final but was not entered and therefore will receive the 10th place finisher’s prize money. In addition to this event, there are three other stakes races on the rich eleven-race program (the stakes races will be run as the 5th, 7th, 9th, & 10th races) each to be run at the same distance of 400 yards. They are the $91,384.35 Invitational Breeders Stake (the consolation for the LQHBA Futurity featuring the second ten fastest qualifiers) and the Evangeline Downs Derby for three-year-olds which has split into two divisions each with a purse of $50,000.

Coors Select, who had to overcame a troubled trip in her trial en route to his fourth lifetime win in nine starts, has been installed as the 3/1 favorite in the morning-line in the Restricted Grade I event. One of two starters in the field by prominent sire Oak Tree Special, he is owned by Polly Coleman and trained by Janet Van Bebber. Gilbert Ortiz, who has been aboard for three of his four victories including an easy win in the La. Juvenile Stakes at Delta Downs in July, will ride Coors Select, who will leave from post position #6.

Fastest qualifier Rapid Transit and leading money-earner in the field Toast to Patriot, are two others in the field sure to attract plenty of support from the betting public. Rapid Transit, who was the fastest qualifier with a time of 19.717, has won two-in-a-row since arriving at Evangeline Downs this fall for owner Pablo Gonzalez and trainer Miguel Rodriguez. A Dashin Bye gelding, he will by ridden by Raul Ramirez Jr. and has drawn post position #8 and is listed as the fourth choice at odds of 6/1. Toast to Patriot, by leading Louisiana sire Game Patriot was the second-fastest qualifier for the rich final despite not winning his trial. The Vann Haywood trained gelding checked in second behind Rapid Transit in his trial by a half-length. Owned by Kris Locklear, Toast to Patriot has earned more than $168,000 while recording two wins and four other in-the-money performances in his seven lifetime races. Also listed in the morning-line at 6/1, Toast to Patriot will leave from post position #5 and will be ridden by Alfonso Lujan, the current leading rider here at Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino.

Carded as the 10th race on Saturday’s eleven-race program, the approximate post time for the LQHBA Futurity is 9:25 pm. The Invitational Breeders Stake is the 7th race on the card and is set to run at 8:10 pm. The two divisions of the EVD Derby are carded as the 5th and 9th races on the program and are set to run at 7:20 pm and 9:00 pm, respectively. All post times are Central.

Futurity entries and odds

1. Mossy Oak Tree Donald Watson 20/1

2. Ajs Fast Dash Rodrigo Vallejo 6/1

3. Mexican Standoff Jarrod Deschamp 12/1

4. Political Option John Hamilton 7/2

5. Toast to Patriot Alfonso Lujan 6/1

6. Coors Select Gilbert Ortiz 3/1

7. The Real Game Danny Lavergne 9/2

8. Rapid Transit Raul Ramirez Jr. 6/1

9. Mon Ti Rose Cipriano Vidana 20/1

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