REPAIRS TO RACETRACK UNDERWAY AFTER HURRICANE LAURA
September 28, 2020
VINTON, LA – Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel today announced that it is working toward a revised start date for its 2020-21 Thoroughbred season, following delays caused by heavy damage to the track from Hurricane Laura on August 27.
Based on the progress of repairs to date, Delta Downs believes it will be able to allow horses to move back on the grounds and start training by late October and begin live racing in late November.
This year’s meet was originally scheduled to run from October 6, 2020 to February 27, 2021 for a total of 84 race days. The end of the season may now be revised and extended along with a change in the total number of race days, pending approval from the Louisiana Racing Commission
Steve Kuypers, Vice President & General Manager of Delta Downs, said: “Boyd Gaming and Delta Downs are committed to hosting a successful 2020-21 Thoroughbred meet here in Vinton, Louisiana.”
As work continues and repairs are completed, Delta Downs will provide further information about when horses will be allowed to be stabled on the backside, when the track plans to begin its season, and the new schedule for live racing. This information will be posted to the Delta Downs website at www.deltadownsracing.com.
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.
Stabling and tracking could begin by late October.
Delta Downs, which postponed its race meet when damaged by Hurricane Laura, could begin racing in late November, according to a company spokesman. Delta had been scheduled for its regular Thoroughbred season for 84 days from Oct. 6-Feb. 27.
Track officials are hoping to open its backstretch for training by late October, said David Strow, the vice president of corporate communications for Boyd Gaming, the track owner.
Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm, brought devastating winds causing damage or destruction to barns, the backside dining room, the track toteboard, its data/computer room, and its safety rail and starting gate, Strow said.
“The damage was fairly extensive. The good news is we are making great progress in our repairs, and we’re confident we can have the horses return in late October,” he said.
Boyd is working with the Louisiana State Racing Commission to extend the meet beyond its originally planned ending, though specific dates and the length of the season are still to be determined, according to Strow.
Jockey Joel Dominguez Clinches His First Leading Rider Title
Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which got underway one month late due to COVID-19, wrapped up on Saturday, September 26. Eleven races were contested today: three from Tuesday, September 22 and eight races from the Wednesday, September 23 card which were canceled due to heavy rain from Tropical Storm Beta.
Steve Asmussen Wins Both Leading Trainer and Owner Titles
It’s been quite a summer for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen who claimed both leading trainer and owner of the meet titles at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
As a trainer, Asmussen started 124 runners, winning 41 races and adding 22 seconds and 23 thirds. He sent a combination of maidens, claimers and allowance entrants, doing well on both the main track and Franks Turf Course. Rue Lala, owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt in partnership with Spendthrift Farm LLC, broke her maiden here impressively on September 5 and wheeled back in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing a game second to multiple stakes winner Mirabeau.
“She is a very nice Louisiana-bred,” said Asmussen. “The Heiligbrodts were one of my first owners and their support means a great deal to me.”
Asmussen credited the racing officials at Louisiana Downs as well as the track surfaces.
“Louisiana Downs stepped up when other tracks were trying to figure out when they might be able to open,” stated Asmussen. “They have excellent track surfaces, which is one of the reasons we support Louisiana Downs and are proud of this accomplishment.”
For the second year in a row, Karl Broberg, finished second with 38 wins. However, Broberg did edge Asmussen in purses with his runners banking $448,275 over $423,440 earned by Asmussen’s string. Shane Wilson who had not stabled at Louisiana Downs for the past eight years, won 32 races and 2019 leading conditioner Joey Foster rounded out the top four, saddling 24 winners.
Asmussen was able to top his fellow owners with 19 wins from 52 starts. His horses won 37% of their starts with earnings of $147,835.
Wayne T. Davis finished second in the owner standings with 17 wins. His horses earned $188,405 and are conditioned by Shane Wilson. End Zone Athletics, Inc. won 16 of their 75 starts with Tri-Star Racing LLC and M and M Racing finishing in a tie for fourth with nine victories each.
September has been not only successful, but historical for Asmussen as on Friday, September 17, he won his 9,000th career victory with Troy Ounce at Remington Park. He is now second to Dale Baird, who holds the North American record for training wins with 9,445. Over the summer, Asmussen has won races at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
“I believe I won one previous title at Louisiana Downs, but it might have been a year that the Fair Grounds meet was run in Shreveport,” he said.
Asmussen credits assistants Mitch Dennison, who coordinated the Louisiana Downs entries and other duties from his Kentucky base and Misty Drinkwater, who is in her second year of handling the day-to-day duties at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
“Misty deserves a great deal of credit,” added Asmussen. “She is extremely organized and does a fabulous job with our Louisiana runners.”
Joel Dominguez Wins His First Leading Rider Title
Jockey Joel Dominguez has made the most of his four-year tenure at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
The 30-year-old native of Durango, Mexico began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug, but finishing third in the standings as he transitioned to the journeyman ranks. He improved to second last year, but powered to the lead early in the 2020 meet and built an unsurpassable lead over his fellow riders. Dominguez completed the meet with a record of 71 wins, 59 seconds, 50 thirds and $903,325 in purses.
He rode first call for Steve Asmussen this season, who he galloped for in Kentucky when he first came to the United States. His highlights this meet included winning four races on the July 25 card, which included three wins for Asmussen and one for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges.
On Saturday, September 19, Dominguez won two of the six Louisiana Cup Stakes, coming from off the pace aboard Budro Talking for Keith Austin in the Turf Classic and finishing the card with an upset aboard Saltee Stark from the barn of Joe O. Duhon in the Louisiana Cup Sprint.
“I want to thank Steve and all the trainers who put me on mounts,” said Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked for Steve and trainer Neil Howard. Steve began to trust me galloping some of his top horses; I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence! Neil helped me get my license and we still stay in touch.”
Dominguez paid his dues in Kentucky and his work ethic is applauded by Asmussen.
“Joel is an excellent horseman and has turned into a great jockey,” he said.
Dominguez’ agent is former jockey, Don Simington and the two have a strong bond.
“Don gives me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “I admire that he is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”
Dominguez extended his gratitude to his wife Janet, and sons, Andy and Joel Jr. and expressed his thanks to others.
“I also want to thank the Louisiana Downs racing office staff for their hard work as well as my valet Oscar Lara,” added Dominguez. “Mitch and Misty have been great to work with and I appreciate the hard work of all the grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders. I would not have won this title without so many people helping me!”
Last year’s top jockey Carlos Lozada finished with 40 wins, tying for second in the standings with Jose Andres Guerrero. Next was Jack Gilligan with 37 victories and Gerardo Mora, who won 35 races.
Dominguez will ride next at Delta Downs when their 2020-2021 Thoroughbred season gets underway.
“We thank each of our horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19 and a very volatile Hurricane season which has impacted so many people in our state. We look forward to a much better 2021 for our racing industry.”
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs to Offer Training and Stall Space to Horsemen
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the months of October through March.
When the Evangeline Training Center closed in 2018, officials acknowledged that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers were in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses. The Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex offers convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans; Remington Park in Oklahoma as well as upcoming live meets at Sam Houston Race Park and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.
Lexington, KY – The Jockey Club today released a response from its general counsel, Marc Summers, to the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) recent assertion that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional.
In a recent press release, the USTA touts a secret “white paper” purportedly concluding that the HISA is “possibly” unconstitutional. Of course, no one else has set eyes on this white paper. But it is hardly surprising that — after months of USTA opposition to any bill like HISA — the USTA’s hired-gun law firm would come up with the USTA’s preordained conclusion.
The USTA’s unwillingness to release its legal analysis is telling: In reality, HISA is carefully crafted and constitutionally sound. The bill has been rigorously vetted. Many attorneys from different sectors (including Supreme Court and constitutional experts from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP) have thought through the very issues the USTA raises, because we anticipated that those who oppose the bill for other reasons would lob this type of unfounded attack. In the face of decades of precedent supporting the proposed statutory scheme, none of the USTA’s four constitutional arguments withstands scrutiny.
1. HISA does not violate the non-delegation doctrine. The USTA is correct, of course, that there are important limits on Congress’ ability to “grant regulatory authority to private entities.” But that doctrine does not bar private entities from “help[ing] a government agency make its regulatory decisions, for ‘[t]he Constitution has never been regarded as denying to the Congress the necessary resources of flexibility and practicality’ that such schemes facilitate.” Ass’n of Am. Railroads v. United States Dep’t of Transp., 721 F.3d 666, 671 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (quoting Pan. Ref. Co. v. Ryan, 293 U.S. 388, 421 (1935)), vacated on other grounds, 575 U.S. 43 (2015). As long as a government agency has discretion to approve, disapprove, or modify a private party’s proposed regulations, longstanding Supreme Court precedent makes clear that Congress is free to formalize the party’s role in the regulatory process.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (Authority) designated in HISA is subject to the oversight and approval of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in at least two critical respects. On the front end, the Authority must file any proposed rules (or rule changes) with the FTC, which must subject the rules to proper notice-and-comment and agency-approval procedures. Without the FTC’s approval, the rules cannot take effect and have no binding legal force. On the back end, all sanctions imposed bythe Authority “shall be subject to review by an administrative law judge” appointed by the FTC, subject to yet further review by the commissioners. Far from the “exalted brooding” the USTA criticizes, these statutorily mandated constraints ensure the FTC’s ultimate responsibility for any meaningful action carried out under the HISA.
This relationship mirrors the enduring and effective model adopted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). FINRA is a private, independent, nonprofit, self-regulatory organization that participates in the regulation of the securities brokerage industry, subject to SEC oversight. As with the proposed Authority-FTC scheme, FINRA rules must be approved by the SEC and FINRA’s disciplinary actions are subject to SEC review. Courts considering challenges to FINRA on the non-delegation grounds that the USTA’s press release trumpets consistently have held that the contentions have “no merit.”
Grasping at straws, the USTA warns about (undefined) “law-enforcement powers” that “would be free from FTC oversight.” As an initial matter, the predicate for USTA’s warning is false: Any powers carried out by the Authority, whether analogized to “law-enforcement powers” or not, would be cabined by specific rules the FTC adopts and specific review the FTC conducts over any resulting sanctions. In any event, the Authority’s investigatory powers also parallel those that FINRA routinely carries out with respect to securities brokers and firms. In fact, other statutory schemes — such as Congress’ express grant of broad investigatory authority to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), a private entity recognized as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports — impose far fewer constraints on self-regulatory organizations than the FINRA-SEC and Authority-FTC models impose.
2. Hedging its non-delegation challenge, the USTA alleges that the HISA may run afoul of the Appointments Clause and Article II removal restrictions. But the USTA does not acknowledge, let alone resolve, the tension between its two arguments: The non-delegation theory rests on the notion that HISA delegates regulatory authority to a private entity. Meanwhile, the Appointments Clause and removability concerns apply only to federal (i.e., non-private) entities. The fact that the pre-existing Authority designated by HISA is private — as USTA emphasizes to support its non-delegation challenge — dooms any Appointments Clause or removability challenge.
3. USTA’s due process theory fares no better. Ignoring the exceedingly difficult standard for bringing a successful claim under the Due Process Clause, the press release vaguely cautions against “economically self-interested private actors.” But the Authority’s only interest is improving the integrity and safety of horse racing. The “capture” theory that the USTA creates out of whole cloth lacks any basis. As the USTA recognizes, the majority of the Authority’s board members are “independent” (i.e., from outside the equine industry). To be sure, the remaining board members will have industry experience and engagement. But it is difficult to understand how that statutory recognition of the value of informed voices constitutes a deprivation of due process. What’s more, with respect to that minority group of board members, HISA expressly provides for equal representation among each of the six equine constituencies (trainers, owners and breeders, tracks, veterinarians, state racing commissions, and jockeys). And the committee tasked with nominating eligible candidates for board and standing-committee positions is made up of entirely non-industry members. The HISA further imposes broad conflicts-of-interest requirements to ensure that all board members and independent standing committee members (and their employees and family members) are free of all equine conflicts of interest.
All those safeguards mean the Authority’s board will be even more constrained from self-dealing than the leadership of other self-regulatory organizations, including FINRA. Regardless, established precedent confirms what common sense indicates: Even when a private entity is engaged in the regulatory process, agency authority and surveillance serve as adequate guards against any promotion of self-interest. See, e.g., Sunshine Anthracite Coal Co. v. Adkins, 310 U.S. 381, 399 (1940). The FTC’s ability to overrule the Authority’s proposed rules and sanctions ensures that neither the Authority nor the individuals making up its board can “use their position for their own advantage — to the disadvantage of their fellow citizens.” Pittston Co. v. United States, 368 F.3d 385, 398 (4th Cir. 2004).
4. Finally, no part of HISA commands states to do anything to which they don’t freely agree. Instead of requiring the states to undertake any particular duties, the bill presents them with genuine choices: They can work with the Authority to effect the anti-doping program or they can relieve themselves of enforcement activity, with the Authority implementing the horse racing anti-doping and medication control program in the state. Further, the weakness in the USTA’s anti-commandeering argument is laid bare by its reliance on an incorrect quotation from the bill. Rather than providing that “State law enforcement authorities shall cooperate and share information with the Authority,” the bill directs the Authority “to cooperate and share information” with state and federal law enforcement authorities whenever its investigation into violations of the horse racing anti-doping and medication control program uncovers a violation of state or federal law.
For all its grandstanding, the USTA’s bottom line (apparently quoting its attorneys) is underwhelming to say the least: The “enactment would lead to extensive litigation and the possible invalidation of the statute.” Anyone can sue over anything — the mere existence of litigation says nothing about its likelihood of success. These are the facts: The HISA is ground firmly in 70 years of precedent and the Authority-FTC relationship closely parallels the long-running FINRA-SEC model. However, anything is “possible.” It is possible to place a winning trifecta bet six races in a row. But it is not likely. If Congress rejected every bill that could be litigated and “possibly” invalidated, it would never enact a new law.
There were high fives all around at Keeneland during the Sept. 21 session of the September Yearling Sale after a Not This Timecolt (Hip 2739) was sold for $320,000 to top the auction’s eighth session.
Consigned by Stuart Morris, the Louisiana-bred colt’s sale to agent Donato Lanni—who was acting on behalf of a unidentified client—represented a major home run for breeders Phillip and Nancy Stelly.
By Taylor Made Stallions’ Not This Time—the son of Giant’s Causeway whose first crop to race as 2-year-olds this year includes Del Mar Debutante (G1) winner Princess Noor—the colt named Mardi Gras Time is out of the winning More Than Ready mare Ready At Nine, who has also produced stakes-placed Drummer Boy.
The colt was the first at Keeneland for the Stellys, who have been breeding since 2011. They credited Morris as well as Al and Salley Pike, and the Pikes’ son Colt, for their big score in the sale ring. Colt Pike had helped obtain the mating to Not This Time, and his parents had prepped the colt for auction.
“I just couldn’t be any more excited; it’s like catching lightning in a bottle,” said Phillip Stelly, who resides in Louisiana and said that both his father and grandfather were self-described “backyard trainers.”
“We’ve raised some babies and I always thought they were nice, but this is the nicest one we’ve ever raised,” he added.
Lanni said the early success of Not This Time played a role in the purchase.
“The sire has done his job,” Lanni said. “You have to respect any yearling by that sire. He was a strong horse and straightforward, good-looking horse.”
The colt’s extended female family includes grade 1 winner Classy Cathy—the dam of British group 2 winner Placerville—millionaire Rieno Tesoro, and Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) winner Audible .