John Charles springs the upset in the Need for Speed Stakes at Evangeline Downs

Opelousas, Louisiana – John Charles ($26.40) dueled with Toolenghtsoflite thru a blazing first quarter of 21 seconds flat, edged clear from that rival in mid-stretch and then held off the late bid of 2-1 favorite Brother Bean to win the $60,000 Need for Speed Stakes by a length at Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino on Friday evening. Ridden by Gerard Melancon, the four-year-old gelding covered the five furlongs in 57 1/5, just 2/5’s of a second off the track record on a track that was labeled muddy after receiving plenty of rain earlier in the day.

Winning Jockey Gerard Melancon stated “Going five furlongs there isn’t a whole lot of strategy, you pretty much have to run the whole way. I knew there was plenty of speed and that I was going to have to gun him from the inside to avoid getting pinched back. He broke sharp and even though we were going very fast I still had plenty of horse underneath me when I asked him at the top of the stretch he responded and was digging in all the way to the finish.”

Toolenghtsoflite, who entered the Need for Speed on a four-race winning streak, held on for third, one length in front of New Mexico invader Unbridled Trust. State Power rallied belatedly to check in fifth, followed by All Wired Up, Tricky Mon, Chief What It Is, and Carlisles Jet. Groovy Luck and Mt. Ree Tah rounded out the complete order of finish. Jimmy’s Boy, the defending champion, was a late scratch.

John Charles, never worse than second in seven career starts, earned $36,000 for the win and increased his lifetime bankroll to $135,000. This was his fifth win and first stakes victory in just seven career starts. He’s owned by the L & R Racing Stables and is trained by Sam Breaux. The son of Belek and the Boys Nite Out mare Whistlers Nite Out was bred in Louisiana by Rudy Douglas.

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