OPELOUSAS, La. (Evangeline Downs) – A first-time starter winning their first start is not something that happens very often and for it to come in a stakes race is rare indeed. Yet, that was exactly what happened in the fillies division of the $75,000 D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity on Friday night at Evangeline Downs. Sarah’s Passion broke alertly and was in contention all the way, taking the lead at the top of the stretch and cruising to a ¾-length win in a final time of 1:06.36 for the 5-1/2 furlongs over the fast track.
The 4-5 betting favorite, Joe G’s Payback, went right to the lead at the start and set a solid pace of 22.09 seconds for the quarter-mile and 46.24 for the half. Sarah’s Passion stalked the leader through the early stages of the race and made her move entering the stretch, taking over while dropping over to the rail. Todayisnottheday was also forwardly-placed throughout and made a valiant try to overtake the leader late, but came up just short in her effort to keep a perfect record through two starts. Tensas Weezy, a 38-1 longshot, was outrun early on, but closed stoutly to get up for third.
Sarah’s Passion won at odds of 3-1 and paid $8 to win, $5 to place and $3.80 to show. Todayisnottheday returned $6.20 to place and $4.40 to show, while Tensas Weezy paid $7 to show.
Sarah’s Passion was bred in Louisiana by the owners Perform Stables Inc., is trained by Ricky Courville and was ridden to victory by Colby Hernandez. The 2-year-old filly is by Songandaprayer and is out of the Holy Bull mare, My Holy Belle. She is a perfect one for one in her career and earned $45,000 for the debut victory.
Live racing at Evangeline Downs will resume on Saturday night with a nine-race program. Post time on Saturday will be 5:50 pm Central Time and the featured event on the card will be the colts and geldings division of the $75,000 D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity. The Steve Asmussen trainee, Halfmoon Reef, has been installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the field of eight.