BRET CALHOUN TRAINED RUNNERS FINISH FIRST AND SECOND
Featured photograph: Coady Photography
OPELOUSAS, LA –A derby weekend crowd was treated to a skillful ride by jockey Deshawn Parker aboard Winning Romance in the $60,000 EVD Distaff at Evangeline Downs on Friday night.
The race for Louisiana-bred older fillies and mares was contested at the distance of one mile over a track rated fast.
Winning Romance tossed her head slightly just as the gates opened and was away a step slower than her rivals but was able to make it to the lead heading into the clubhouse turn. She’s Gone d’Wild and Offspring were away quickest but settled into tracking positions behind the Bret Calhoun trainee. After making the lead, Winning Romance was able to set very moderate fractions early, with an opening quarter-mile in 25.72 seconds and a half-mile in a pedestrian 50.96 seconds. Offspring was tracking the leader from a half-length back, while She’s Gone d’Wild, Snowball and Net a Bear were closely grouped in the compact field.
The Allied Racing Stable, LLC (Chester Thomas) runner was traveling comfortably moving into the turn as She’s Gone d’Wild turned up the pressure with a bid along the rail. Snowball had maneuvered through some traffic and was angling for a three-wide bid as the leaders passed six furlongs in 1:15.53 seconds. As the field turned for home, Winning Romance maintained a slim advantage, and responded when called upon by Parker nearing the furlong marker. She was able to edge clear in the final yards, with the winning margin 1-3/4 lengths. She’s Gone d’Wild, also trained by Calhoun, was able to hold second 2-1/4 lengths clear of Snowball and Net a Bear, who finished in a dead-heat for third. The final running time for the mile was 1:39.65 seconds.
Winning Romance earned $36,000 for the victory, her fifth from 15 career starts. The winner’s share of the purse increased her lifetime earnings to $253,446. The 4-year-old filly was bred in Louisiana by Allied Racing Stable, LLC. Sired by First Samurai, the chestnut is out of the Flatter mare Lipstick Junky. Winning Romance, sent off as the wagering favorite, returned $3.60 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. She’s Gone d’Wild paid $5 to place and $2.40 to show. Snowball and Net a Bear each paid $2.10 to show.
Live racing resumes on Saturday with a 5:30pm first post. The featured event on the Derby Day card is the $60,000 Evangeline Downs Classic.
The Evangeline Downs Thoroughbred season runs on a Wednesday thru Saturday schedule until August 27.