Opelousas –Gratified, who wowed horsemen and racing fans alike with a dominating maiden victory on Louisiana Legends Night last month, and Tiger Shark, a winner at first asking in a maiden special weight event three weeks ago, loom as the two main players in a field of twelve two-year-old colts and geldings in the $100,000 John Franks Memorial Sales Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on Saturday evening at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino.
Gratified, a gelded son of Afternoon Deelites, ran away from his rivals in his maiden victory on July 4th, after dueling for the lead he opened up in the stretch to win by seven lengths covering the five furlongs in 58 3/5ths, a clocking which was faster than either of the two divisions of the D. S. “Shine” Young Memorial held later on that evening. Trained by Torey Blanchard for owner Rodney Verret, Gratified has drawn post position #9 and will once again be ridden by veteran Ricky Faul. Tiger Shark, a Pennsylvania bred gelded son of Hold That Tiger, showed grit & determination in his winning debut. After establishing a clear early lead, he dug in when challenged rounding the turn and then edged clear for the victory in the time of 59 2/5ths for the five furlongs.
Two Nickel Bud and My Little Buster are two others who are coming off solid wins. Two Nickel Bud ships down from Louisiana Downs where he prevailed as the even-money favorite in a Louisiana bred only maiden special weight, while My Little Buster recorded a front-running win in his debut back at the end of May here at Evangeline Downs. Two Nickel Bud, who races for Harrod Williams, is trained by Jerry Cart and will be ridden by Don Simington, who is the current leading rider at Louisiana Downs. My Little Buster, trained by John Gelner for owner/breeder William Gilmore will have Sylvester Carmouche Jr, in the saddle.
Carded as the 9th race on Saturday’s ten-race program, the approximate post time is 9:48pm central time.