May 30, 2017
REGISTRATION OPENS TODAY FOR THE NATIONAL HORSEPLAYERS CHALLENGE AT HARRAH’S LOUISANA DOWNS ON SATURDAY, JUNE 17
Owner and Trainer Charles Hukill Still Going Strong
Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that they will host a regional qualifying event for the $2.5 million-est. National Horseplayers Championship. The contest will be held at the Bossier City racetrack on Saturday, June 17 and registration opens today.
This will be a live format, with win, place and show wagers on ten selected races. The entry fee is $300 ($150 entry fee, $150 live bankroll) and the contest will be limited to 100 entries, maximum two entries per person. All participants must be NHC Tour Members and may join online. The fee of $50 offers valuable discounts for handicapping products and entry into the four FREE remaining online tournaments in 2017.
The top two finishers will win a berth in the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament which will take place in Las Vegas, February 8-11, 2018. In addition, both winners will receive a $400 travel voucher and hotel accommodations for four nights in Las Vegas.
Owner and Trainer Charles Hukill a Force at Louisiana Downs
There are many Thoroughbred trainers who pursue the profession because their families were horsemen, and their love for racing was passed down from previous generations. But Charles Hukill took a very different route!
Hukill was born in Dallas, Texas and built a very successful landscaping and sprinkler business in Plano, 20 miles northeast of downtown Dallas. He got into horseracing as an owner in the ‘70’s, but did not begin training until his oldest son assumed control of the family business. In 1998, Hukill took out his trainer’s license and embarked upon building a new business centered on racing and breeding. He owned and operated a training center in Canton, Texas and had as many as 120 horses in the late 1990’s. He was a solid supporter of Texas racing with stakes wins at both Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park. In addition to training, Hukill stood several stallions, including Sand Tunnel and Record Catch.
Tragedy struck Hukill’s training center in February, 2011 when an electrical fire broke out and 25 horses perished.
“That was pretty tough,” acknowledged Hukill.
He got out of the breeding after the fire, and owns and trains the majority of his 26 horses currently stabled at Louisiana Downs.
“I have one owner, Bobby Salome, who has six horses with me,” said Hukill. “I prefer to train my own and bring them along my way.”
Hukill and his wife, Lynn, have three sons. Growing up, each one worked
in the family
landscaping and sprinkler business, with the two oldest remaining in that vocation. His youngest son served our country in the Air Force, and Hukill chuckles when he talks about his career choice.
“Dad, I have dug my last hole; I’m going to join the Air Force,” Hukill recalled.
Hukill has started over 6,300 Thoroughbreds in Texas and Louisiana, with a record of 478 wins and purses of $7.5 million. He was the ninth-leading trainer at Louisiana Downs in 2016.
One of his top level horses is Chases Dixie Belle, who captured the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies last August at Louisiana Downs. The daughter of My Pal Charlie has won 2 of her 11 starts and has bankrolled $89,800 to date.
“She’s a nice filly,” said Hukill. “She broke her maiden at first asking and moved right into stakes company.”
Hukill will turn 80 in November and talks about slowing down. But his version of cutting back may differ from most people in their late 70’s. His last venture involved transforming a 40-acre property in Canton into Mare Haven Estates.
“I sold all but two lots,” he said. “It was home to my mares and babies, so that’s why it was named Mare Haven Estates.”
Current Meet Leaders
Last year’s top trainer Joey Foster continues his dominance with 13 wins, through May 30, to lead all conditioners. Foster has started 53 runners and is hitting the board at an impressive 58%. Ronnie Ward, Beverly Burress and Denise Schmidt are tied for second with four wins.
Gerardo Mora has the lead in the jockey standings with 15 wins, followed by Richard Eramia who has won 13 races and apprentice Jose Guerrero, who follows closely with 12 wins.
Beverly Burress has won four races to top the owner standings. Patti Turner and Red Rose Racing are tied for second with three wins and 13 owners, including Hukill, locked in a showdown for third-place with two victories each.
Post Times and Stakes Schedule
Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time through September 27. For more information on the upcoming racing season and special events, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.
The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major events, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 5 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 9. To see a complete list of the 2017 Thoroughbred stakes schedule, click here.
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.
For further information, please contact:
|Trent McIntosh | Assistant General Manager
8000 East Texas Street | Bossier City, LA 71111