Linda McLellan

  • “The Louisiana Bred program serves the thoroughbred breeders in the state. It has been a privilege for me to get to know many of the breeders through my work with Louisiana Horse Magazine, and these are some of the most hard working, genuine people I know.”
    Linda McLellan lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana and came to the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association when it purchased Louisiana Horse Magazine in 1991. She was an amazing addition who had been with Louisiana Horse Magazine since 1986.
    Most people know her as the editor who produces the magazine. What most people don’t know is everything she does. She develops story ideas, generates advertising sales revenue, produces print ads, designs the magazine for print and electronic distribution. This is a Herculean task that she does nearly single-handedly.
    She is a woman with many talents and is constantly upgrading her skills to take on new job responsibilities. She drives the LTBA digital world and is the web master for
    Linda is also the photographer you see at every Louisiana Bred Championship racing day at the four racetracks throughout the state. Behind that camera is consummate professional with a heart of gold and a smile as big as the sun.
    She has been involved with thoroughbred horses for 30 years and the business has been her sole business occupation. She not only knows the business, she’s helped build it.
    When asked what her favorite Louisiana Bred horse was; she had a tough time answering it.
    “I guess it would have to be Star Guitar; with him, Evelyn Benoit brought so much positive national attention to the Louisiana Bred program.” Spoken like a true marketer who is passionate about the program.

Four-Win Saturday Gives Louisiana Native Lanerie Lead In Keeneland Jockey Standings


 Corey Lanerie
Corey Lanerie

Jockey Corey Lanerie won with half of his eight mounts on Keeneland’s Saturday card, taking over the lead in the local jockey standings with a total of 14 wins. With just four racing days remaining, Lanerie has a one-win lead over both Javier Castellano and Luis Saez, both of whom were absent on Saturday.

Lanerie won his first leading rider title at Keeneland last fall with 25 wins over the course of the meet. Castellano captured the leading rider title for last year’s Spring meeting with 21 victories.

The wins began in the first race on Saturday for Lanerie, when he piloted Cheray to a one-length starter allowance victory for trainer Mark Cristel. His next win came in the fifth race, booting home Mike Maker’s Try Your Luck to a 9 1/4-length maiden special weight victory. He captured back-to-back events to close out the day, winning the seventh aboard Scooter Dickey’s Shadow Rock and the eighth on Charlie LoPresti’s Dear Elaine.

Castellano spent Saturday riding at Charles Town Race Course in West Virginia, where he won two races including the Charles Town Classic aboard Stanford. He is scheduled to return to Keeneland for racing on Sunday. Saez, who got off to a smoking-hot start at the Keeneland Spring meeting with seven wins over the first three days, has been riding in New York since Wednesday, and captured three races, including two stakes, on Saturday’s card at Aqueduct.





Benwill Scores Upset Victory in John Henry Stakes


John Henry S.
April 23, 2016
1 1/16 miles, Turf, for 3-Year-Olds and Upwards, $60,000

Leestown-Dynaspice, by Dynaformer
Breeder: E. O. Pickett
Owner: Royce Roberts
Trainer: Jose Mendez
Jockey: John Jacinto
Time: 1:45.03
Margins: 1, 2 1/4, 1 2nd: Easy Crossing 3rd: Next Event

OPELOUSAS, LA- Royce Roberts’ Benwill made a decisive move in the stretch of the $60,000 John Henry Stakes at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night to win by a length under the ride of John Jacinto. It was a reversal of fortune for the Jose Mendez trainee, who had not won a race since winning the Unbridled Stakes at Louisiana Downs in September 2014 following a disqualification.

Benwill sat sixth in the field of nine during the early stages of the race, behind the pace-setting pair of Solitary Ranger and Next Event. That twosome carved out solid fractions of 23.51 seconds for the quarter-mile and 48.42 seconds for the half-mile. The betting favorite, Easy Crossing, had sat just off the pace before making his move on the far turn. He and Next Event went on to run together until mid-stretch where Benwill found the running room he needed to storm by both of them and win in a final time of 1:45.03 for the 1 1/16. 

Benwill paid $48.60 to win, $12.60 to place and $7.60 to show. Easy Crossing came home second, returning $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Next Event held third and paid $4.20 to show.

The victory by Benwill in the John Henry Stakes was the eighth in his 31-race career. The $36,000 first-place purse pushed his lifetime earnings to $281,663. The 7-year-old horse was bred in Louisiana by E.O. Pickett. Benwill was sired by Leestown and is out of the Dynaformer mare, Dynaspice.

Evangeline Downs will resume live racing on Wednesday evening with a 9-race program. The program will include a Super Hi 5 carry-over of $5,058.70 in the fifth race, which will be the first of three Super Hi 5 wagers offered on the card. Post time on Wednesday will be 5:50 pm Central time.

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at



by Gary McMillen

For jockeys and their mounts, Heitai’s tail was a familiar sight at race tracks in Louisiana for the past five years. The fans loved to see him run and they didn’t need binoculars to locate the speedy gelding. As soon as the gates popped open, Heitai’s position was to be in front. Heitai was so fast in the early stages of a race it was if he broke the spirit of the competition. For the sake of fantasy, we can imagine Heitai announcing a short challenge as the field approached the starting gate: “I own the lead. Now try and catch me.”

Owner and breeder Frank Rowell recalled the volume of advice he received to alter Heitai’s front running style. “Throughout his career people kept advising me to rate him,” Rowell said. “Take him back off those fast fractions was their suggestion. But Heitai had one way of running. If you tried to slow him down it took him off his game.

A son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, Heitai was hard to catch at the sprint distances. His career record is evidence. His 16 wins, 10 seconds and 4 third place finishes came from 36 starts. The mere numbers are more outstanding than meets the eye since most of those races were stakes events. His dominance in Louisiana-bred sprint events was on display early when he won an allowance race at Delta Downs by 19 lengths. In the end it all added up to career earnings of $1,074,893. “We had a whole lot of fun with this horse,” Rowell said. “What else can you ask out of a horse? He has more than paid his way.”

On big stakes days across the state, Rowell’s home-bred was a familiar name amongst a sensational cadre of Louisiana-breds that included Vicar’s In Trouble, Star Guitar, String King and Sunbean.

Foaled on March 16, 2010, Heitai was raised and took his racing vacation breaks at Brenda Landry’s farm in Arnoudville, Louisiana. As a runner he was ordinary in his first few outings but not for long. Once allowed free rein Heitai took his speed game to a new level.

The trophy case in Rowell’s home in Conroe, Texas is well stocked. Along with winning seven hundred grand stakes, Heitai won the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint. Rowell was asked which of those races stood out a special moment. “I can’t play football. I can’t play basketball. I can’t run the 100 yard dash,” the 82-year-old said with a laugh, “but I can walk Heitai into the winner’s circle and that is something that most people will never experience. To have an animal that we bred and raised and see him do so much in our Louisiana setting—that total experience has meant so much to us.”

Not to be outdone by his famous sire (Fusaichi Pegasus), Heitai’s mother notched a place in racing history. It was Sparkles of Luck that ended the phenomenal win streak of Hallowed Dreams in the 2000 Millenium Stakes at Evangeline Downs. The Louisiana-bred Hallowed Dreams had captured national media attention by winning 16 races in a row and was on even terms with the great Cigar for the most consecutive wins. In a stunner on a hot August night, Sparkles of Luck won off by two lengths.

Rowell named Heitai from a word in the Japanese language that means “soldier.” The name came from Rowell’s early life experience when he served in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army.

The soldier has been retired. Heitai is currently back home at Brenda Landry’s farm but soon to be shipped to North Texas where he will be trained as a barrel racer. “He’s going to be around other horses and have his own 4 acre paddock,” Rowell explained of Heitai’s retirement plans. “He will be treated well, not confined to a stall and saddled up to play. We want him to be a happy horse.”


Equine Sales Company of Louisiana has announced the addition of current supplements to the 2016 Two Year Old In Training Sale with Horses of Racing Age.

The catalog pages on these supplements can be found at or Supplements Group 1, Supplements Group 2

SALE DATE: MAY 10, 2016 – 11:00 AM

BREEZE SHOW: MAY 8, 2016 – 10:00 AM

Special Horsemen’s Rate Are Available At These Hotels.
Please contact the hotels directly for further information.

The Evangeline Downs Hotel
2235 Creswell Lane Ext,Lot B
Opelousas,LA 70570
(337) 407-2121

The Comfort Inn
5454 I-49 North Service Road
(337) 942-4900

Holiday Inn and Suites of Opelousas
5696I-49 North Service Road
(337) 948-3300

2016 September Yearling Sale will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.
Consignment contracts will be available in the near future.




OPELOUSAS, LA- Evangeline Downs will be offering the 50-cent minimum Super Hi 5 wager three times each racing night, starting on Wednesday, April 20. This will be an expansion of the number of opportunities to play this wager for the betting public, as the Super Hi 5 is currently offered only once per racing night.

The Super Hi 5 will be available at Evangeline Downs in the fifth race, the seventh race and the final race on each racing program. The wager is available only in the fifth race at the present time. The Super Hi 5 is a 50-cent minimum wager that requires the bettor to correctly select the first five finishers in exact order in the race where the wager is offered. If no bettor is able to correctly select the first five finishers in exact order in a Super Hi 5 race, then 100% of the pool will carry-over into the next race where the wager is offered. The pool will also carry-over from one racing day to the next, if necessary. It is the only carryover wager currently offered without a consolation payout, in accordance with Louisiana state law.

Chris Warren, Evangeline Downs Director of Racing, feels that this change will make the Evangeline Downs racing signal more attractive to the betting public, “Bettors are always searching for opportunities to hit it big at the races and by expanding the number of times Evangeline Downs is offering the Super Hi 5, we hope to entice our fans who are looking for their next big score.”

Evangeline Downs has live Thoroughbred racing each Wednesday through Saturday night through

Saturday, August 27. Post time for each live racing night is 5:50 pm Central time.

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at


Super Derby tops 14 stakes at Louisiana Downs 84-day meet

The Super Derby on Sept. 10 will again serve as the centerpiece of the Louisiana Downs meet that opens May 7. The 84-date season in Bossier City will run through Sept. 24.

The Super Derby is part of a 14-race stakes schedule worth a total of $1.3 million. It will be run over 1 1/8 miles, and the purse remains $400,000. In a change, the Super Derby will be contested as a Grade 3 race this year after holding Grade 2 status last season, when it was won by Mobile Bay.

Louisiana Downs will showcase the Super Derby, its richest race, on a card of five stakes. The program, worth a total of $700,000, will again include a pair of one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds, the $75,000 Sunday Silence and the $75,000 Happy Ticket.

Louisiana Downs will group seven stakes together Aug. 6 for the annual Louisiana Cup. There will be six divisional stakes for horses bred in Louisiana, led by the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic and the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff. The program also includes the $100,000 Prelude, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that serves as the local prep for the Super Derby. Purses for the races will total $450,000.

Louisiana Downs will race Wednesdays through Saturdays at this meet, with special Monday cards May 30, July 4, and Sept. 5.

Date Race Condition Distance Purse
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Prelude 3YO 1 1/16 miles $100,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Juvenile 2YO* 6 furlongs $50,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies 2YO* F 6 furlongs $50,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint F-M, 3YO & Up* 6 furlongs $50,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Sprint  3YO & Up* 3YO & UP* 6 furlongs $50,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Turf     3YO & Up* 3YO & UP* 1 1/16 miles (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Aug. 6 Louisiana Cup Distaff F-M, 3YO & Up* 1 1/16 miles (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 10 Super Derby (G3) 3YO 1 1/8 miles $400,000
Sat.,     Sept. 10 Unbridled 3YO & UP 1 1/16 miles (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 10 River Cities F-M, 3YO & Up 1 1/16 miles (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 10 Happy Ticket 2YO F 1 mile (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 10 Sunday Silence 2YO 1 mile (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 24 A.L. “Red” Erwin 3YO** 1 mile (T) $75,000
Sat.,     Sept. 24 Elge Rasberry 3YO** 1 mile (T) $75,000




Rajin Cajun S.
April 9, 2016
7 furlongs, for 3-Year-Olds, $50,000

Pulling Punches-Sassy Belle, by Doc’s Leader
Breeder: Charles Titsworth
Owner: Rodney J. Verret
Trainer: Allen Landry
Jockey:S. J. Bourque

Time: 1:23.85
Margins: 7 3/4, 3 1/4, nk

2nd: Si Familia

3rd: Bill’s Production


OPELOUSAS, LA- Rodney Verret’s gelding Couche Couche picked a fine time for his first career win over a dirt surface, rolling from off a blistering pace to register a 15-1 upset victory in the $50,000 Ragin’

Cajun Stakes at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night. Steve Bourque was aboard for the win by the Allen Landry trainee.

Couche Couche sat well off the pacesetting Smoothmoney at the rear of the field, as Smoothmoney set torrid fractions of 21.84 seconds for the quarter-mile and 44.46 for the half-mile. Bill’s Production, a 7-1 shot, tried to circle the field on the far turn with an aggressive charge, while the 7-5 favorite, Greeley’s Wish came up the rail into contention. They were noses apart at the top of the stretch, but Couche Couche came storming down the outside and flew past them, drawing away to a crushing 7 3/4 length victory in a final time of 1:23.85 seconds for the seven furlongs over the fast main track.

Couche Couche has now finished in-the-money in all four lifetime starts with two victories, a second and a third. His other career win came in a maiden-breaking turf sprint at the Fair Grounds on February 25.

He earned $30,000 for his victory on Saturday night, increasing his career earnings to $63,230.

Couche Couche paid $32.60 to win, $10.00 to place and $6.80 to show. Si Familia rallied from last on the backstretch to finish second, paying $13.40 to place and $6.20 to show. Bill’s Production held third and returned $4.80 to show.

Couche Couche is a 3-year-old by Pulling Punches out of the Doc’s Leader mare, Sassy Belle. The chestnut gelding was bred in Louisiana by Charles Titsworth.

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at

Boyd Gaming press releases are available at Additional news and information can be found at, or