Evangeline Downs is a 133.7 acre horse racing property in Carencro, Louisiana with a seven-eighths mile oval horse track. The track features thoroughbred and quarter horse racing in a season that typically spans from April to October.
In 2005, the racing facilities will transfer to a site in nearby Opelousas, joining the casino that has been operating since late 2003.
Evangeline Downs is one of Louisiana's pioneer horse racing tracks. It has been the site of many prestigious stakes and racing events in the past. Among these are the D.S. "Shine" Young Futurity, the John Franks Memorial Sales, the Lafayette Stakes and the Evangeline Mile.
Evangeline Downs Records
|4 furlongs||Rare Trip||118||:46 3/5||May 20, 1977|
|4 1/2 furlongs||Bag In Hand||116||:51 3/5||Aug. 28, 2000|
|5 furlongs||Hallowed Dreams||117||:57 2/5||Jul. 3, 1999|
|5 1/2 furlongs||Hunter's Halo||119||1:03 4/5||Jul. 15, 2002|
|6 furlongs||Rail||121||1:09 1/5||Jul. 22, 1995|
|7 1/2 furlongs||Top Silk||117||1:31 2/5||Jun. 2, 1991|
|1 mile||Selma's Boy||124||1:36 3/5||Jul. 12, 1981|
|1 mile 40 yards||Mr D's Prank||119||1:43 3/5||Jul. 11, 1983|
|1 mile 70 yards||State Commander||117||1:42||Apr. 22, 1991|
|1mile 1/16||Nin's Pick||116||1:43 2/5||Jun. 19, 1977|
|1 mile 1/8||Report To Glory||117||1:50 4/5||Aug. 9, 1993|
|1 mile 3/16||Pasquale G.||120||2:01 2/5||Jul. 31, 1977|
|1 mile 7/16||Paw Paw's Pride||122||2:28 1/5||Jul. 19, 2002|
|1 1/2 mile||Just For Charlie||117||2:41 2/5||Sep. 15, 1986|
|1 mile 5/8||Lucky Man||119||2:48 1/5||Aug. 2, 2002|
|1 mile 7/8||Concho County||122||3:19 2/5||Aug. 18, 2000|
|2 miles||Gray Gardner||122||3:31 3/5||Aug. 27, 1990|
History of Evangeline Downs
- An estimated 10,000 people turned out for the opening night of Evangeline Downs on April 28, 1966. Blue Vee, ridden by Donald Comeaux, won the first race - a five-furlong claiming race for 4-year-olds and up. Louisiana Governor John McKeithen cut the ribbon to officially open the $2 million facility.
- By Labor Day of that year and the end of the first racing season, 277,556 fans had visited Evangeline Downs, and pushed $12 million across the betting boards for the season.
- Many of the world's finest jockeys started off in Cajun Country. A number of them have raced at Evangeline Downs. These include Randy Romero, Eddie Delahoussaye, Ray Sibille, Robbie Albarado, and multiple Eclipse Award winner Kent Desormeaux.
- On the equine side, the famous John Henry won his very first stakes victory at Evangeline Downs. He captured the Lafayette Futurity on September 5, 1977. The winner of the inaugural $3 million Breeders Cup Classic, Wild Again, raced at Evangeline Downs in the early stages of his career.
- In November 1988, Evangeline Downs became the sole recipient of the first inter-track wagering signal in Louisiana, simulcasting races from the New Orleans Fair Grounds.
- In 1996, the voters of Lafayette Parish, where the Evangeline Downs town of Carencro is located, chose to outlaw video poker and casino gambling. Since Evangeline Downs had plans to offer these services in the racetrack, the 1996 vote became the catalyst for the eventual transfer of the track to nearby Opelousas, in Saint Landry Parish county.
- On June 3, 2000, Hallowed Dreams set a new American record for consecutive victories by a thoroughbred filly. By winning the Tellike Stakes, she gained her 14th consecutive victory, in 14 starts.
- In February 2003, Evangeline Downs officials broke ground on the new $96 million Evangeline Downs Casino and Racetrack in Opelousas. Track officials plan to complete construction and relocate in two years.
- In December 2003, the new Evangeline Downs casino opened in Opelousas.