Oaklawn Park hosted representatives from more than 80 racing-related entities from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and France at the 17th annual Track Superintendents Conference Mar. 25 – Mar. 27. Presentations and displays focuses on topics pertaining to safety, injurties, new turf courses, equine equipment and racetrack geometry. “This conference is unique in our industry and Oaklawn is proud to host the event,” Oaklawn Plant Superintendent John Hopkins said. “Track Superintendents are responsible for providing a safe and fair racing surface for both equine and human athletes. They play a vital role in the protection of horses and riders. Getting the opportunity to host a gathering of them from around the world is important to the industry. We can learn a lot from each other.”
LOUISIANA LEGENDS NIGHT AND THE $100,000 EVANGELINE MILE HIGHLIGHT THE NEW MEET
OPELOUSAS, LA – The 53rd season of Thoroughbred racing at Evangeline Downs will begin on Wednesday, April 4 with a nine-race program. It will be the first of 84 racing days conducted on a Wednesday through Saturday weekly schedule. Post time for each live racing night will be 5:50 pm Central Time.
There will be a 20-race stakes schedule at Evangeline Downs in 2018 with purses totaling $1,375,000. Highlighting the stakes schedule are Louisiana Legends Night on Saturday, May 26 and the $100,000 Evangeline Mile on Saturday, June 23. Louisiana Legends Night is a celebration of the Louisiana-bred Thoroughbred with eight stakes races restricted to Louisiana-breds and purses totaling $600,000. The $100,000 Evangeline Mile is for three-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track. The 2017 Evangeline Mile winner, Iron Fist, went on to become a graded-stakes winner taking the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in July.
There are two new barns that have been constructed on the backside at Evangeline Downs for the 2018 season. These barns will be able to house an additional 84 horses on the property. This addition increases the total number of horses that can be on the backside at Evangeline Downs to 1,052.
The leading owner, trainer and jockey from the 2017 season will all be on hand at Evangeline Downs in 2018 to try and defend those titles. End Zone Athletics, Inc. of Karl Broberg and Matt Johanson was the leading owner with 52 victories and a winning percentage of 39%. Broberg also doubled as the leading trainer at Evangeline Downs in 2017 with 86 winners and a winning percentage of 35%. Tim Thornton, a Louisiana native, won the 2017 riding title with 119 wins and a winning percentage of 28%.
While the defending champions are all returning to Evangeline Downs in 2018, there will be some new faces on the scene as well. Notable trainers Allen Milligan, Tracy Norris, Gilbert Perez, Jeffrey Reeves and Kenneth Wesley will all have horses this season at Evangeline Downs.
Additionally, patrons will notice some changes at Evangeline Downs this season. Silks Clubhouse will be serving a new ‘a la carte’ menu, a new bar has been installed in the grandstand for patrons and horsemen alike, and numerous new televisions for fans to watch racing action across the country are among the upgrades that are being introduced.
For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.
About Evangeline Downs
Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel is owned by Boyd Gaming Corporation, a leading diversified owner and operator of 22 gaming entertainment properties located in Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Boyd Gaming press releases are available at www.prnewswire.com. Additional news and information can be found at www.boydgaming.com, or www.evangelinedowns.com.
Bill could double number of visas available.
Congress on the morning of March 23 passed a Fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, which includes language that could almost double the number of H-2B visas available, potentially improving a dire situation for Thoroughbred trainers who depend on these visas for the industry’s sizable foreign temporary workforce.
The bill provides the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to raise the cap on H-2B visas if the Secretary, in consultation with the Department of Labor, determines there is an economic need.
If the omnibus spending bill is signed into law by President Trump, the total number of H-2B workers that may enter the U.S. during fiscal 2018, which ends on Sept. 30, 2018, will then be capped at 129,547. If fully implemented, this new cap would be equal to the number of new and returning H-2B workers admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2007, which is the fiscal year when the highest number of H-2B foreign temporary workers participated in the H-2B program.
“Congress provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with the same discretionary power to increase H-2B limits as part of the 2017 omnibus spending bill passed in May of last year,” said National Thoroughbred Racing Association President and CEO Alex Waldrop. “Unfortunately, the Secretary did not make the necessary finding of economic need until July of last summer when it was too late for most employers to take advantage of the increased number of H-2B visas before the end of the fiscal year.”
The NTRA, through its membership in the H-2B Workforce Coalition, will urge the Administration to swiftly implement this H-2B cap relief and will continue to encourage Congress to pass permanent H-2B cap relief.
Dr. Sharon Young Buras, RN, CRNA, CNS, MSN, DSN, a retired Certified Nurse Anesthetist, passed away on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at home with her family by her side.
Sharon received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Southeast Louisiana University, her certificate in Anesthesia for Nurses from Charity Hospital New Orleans School of Anesthesia for Nurses, her Masters of Science in Nursing degree in Psychiatric and Community Mental Health Nursing from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, and her Doctorate of Science in Nursing degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. She practiced Nurse Anesthesia as a member of the faculty of the Charity Hospital School of Anesthesia for Nurses. In addition, Sharon, as a Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Practitioner, also counseled children with behavioral issues in her own private practice.
Outside of her career in nursing, Sharon was a successful wife, mother, grandmother, and a very accomplished horseman. She was a rodeo rider as a youth, with quarter horse pole bending her specialty, and later a successful owner and breeder of thoroughbred race horses, winning races at Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, and Evangeline Downs.
She was a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Sharon loved going to the beach, and spending time there with her family and grandchildren. She was also a dedicated cruise boat rider, cruising several times each year with her family and friends.
She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Floyd A Buras, Jr., her son, Floyd A Buras, III and his wife, Shelle Pullen Buras, and by her two granddaughters, Ella Buras and Joslyn Buras. Sharon was the daughter of the late Samuel Leslie Young and Bonnie Lou Bryant Young, and the sister of Samuel Young, Jr., Scott Young, Steve Young, Sloan Young, and the late Susan Young.
Services will be at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd in New Orleans, on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, with visitation at 11:00 am and Catholic Mass following at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Sharon’s GoFundMe account to help with her final expenses. www.gofundme.com/sharon-buras-funeral-expense. To view and sign the family guestbook please visit www.lakelawnmetairie.com
Lake Lawn Met Funeral Home
5100 PONTCHARTRAIN BLVD New Orleans, LA 70124
Costa Rising Stakes
Fair Grounds, 3-24-18, @5.5 furlongs (turf), $60,000
Accredited Louisiana bred, Four-Year-Olds and Upwards
Custom for Carlos–Sarah’s My Angel
Breeder: Val C. Murrell
Owner: Ivery Sisters Racing
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: Adam Beschizza
Rock N Sake
Half Ours–Passion for Words
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Roy Investments LLC
Trainer: Shane Meche
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan
Breeder: J. Adcock & Hume Wornall
Owner: Scrivener Stables
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Jose L. Ortiz
Crescent City Derby
Fair Grounds, 3-24-18, 1 mile 70 yards, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Breds, Three-year-olds
BATTLE AT SEA
Into Mischief–Mystery At Sea
Breeder: Clear Creek Stud LlLC
Owner: Three Diamonds Farm
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Jose L. Ortiz
Pound for Pound
Redding Colliery–Buttercup’s Song
Breeder: J. Adcock & B&B Bloodstock
Owner: Israel Flores Horses LLC
Trainer: Jose Grimaldo
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Custom for Carlos–Tensas Wedding Joy
Breeder: Curt Leake & Elm Tree Farm , LLC
Owner: Zedan Racing Stables Inc
Trainer: Doug F. O’Neill
Jockey: Terry J. Thompson
NEW ORLEANS (March 24, 2018) – Three Diamonds Farm’s Battle At Sea successfully transitioned into stakes company with a win in the $75,000 Crescent City Derby against state-bred competition.
Coming off a gate-to-wire maiden breaking score February 10, the 3-year-old trained by Mike Maker led his foes from start to finish again Saturday with Jose Ortiz aboard.
“Going into the race, I saw some speed to my inside but when I went to the post parade he was really keen and pulling me,” Ortiz said. “When I got to the lead, he relaxed. I felt like I was going fast but he was relaxed. When I asked him to go, he gave me a little run.”
Battle At Sea opened up on the field going down the backside after posting splits of 23.28 and 46.69. He shrugged off a challenge from eventual third-place finisher Gracida around the turn, and never relinquished his advantage. He crossed the line 2 1/4 lengths clear of second-place finisher Pound for Pound. The final time was 1:44.90. Double Star rounded out the superfecta. Sent off at 7-1, Battle At Sea paid $17.40, $7.40, $4.80.
Three Diamonds Farm bought the son of Into Mischief for $55,000 at last year’s OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale. He debuted at Churchill Downs in June only a few months later with a fourth-place finish but did not start again until December 29.
“He had a little injury at Saratoga so we had to give him some time off,” Maker said. “We were pointing to this meet. He’s a big old horse that wants more ground.”
That seems to be the case as the Louisiana-bred is now 2-for-2 around two turns.
Rounding out the field were Double Star, Treys Midnite Moon, Gladyousawme, Grand Luwegee, Uncle Nearis and Ready Prospector.
Crescent City Oaks
Fair Grounds, 3-24-18, 1 mile 70 yards, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Breds, Three-year-old fillies
TESTING ONE TWO
Star Guitar–Yes Sir
Breeder: Brittlyn, Inc.
Owner: Brittlyn Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Victor Arceneaux
Jockey: Diego Saenz
Tale of the Cat–Wine Diva
Breeder: Becky Winemiller
Owner: Diamond Racing, Inc., Janssen, J., Janssen, J., Camodeca, P. and Camodeca, N.
Trainer: Leo G. Gabriel, Jr.
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie
Breeder: Al Ulwelling & Bill Ulwelling
Owner: Al Ulwelling & Bill Ulwelling
Trainer: Gary M. Scherer
Jockey: Mitchell Murrill
Earlier on the card, Brittlyn Stable’s Testing One Two made amends in the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks five weeks after a fifth-place finish in the Gr. II Rachel Alexandra Stakes.
Testing One Two pounced from a stalking position around the far-turn and went clear of her Louisiana-bred competition in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. The final time for the 1-mile 70 yards distance was 1:43.21.
“Last time she wasn’t really prepared for this stretch but she was so game,” said Evelyn Benoit, owner of Brittlyn Stables Inc. “I just hoped she could relax and do her thing today.”
With her win Saturday, Testing One Two improved her record to four wins from six starts and $199,135 in earnings.
Jockey Diego Saenz has ridden the filly in each of those starts.
“All I needed was to have a clear trip and I got it,” Saenz said. “I felt like I had it from the three-eighths pole because I was where I wanted, on the outside, and she finished strong.”
A daughter of Star Guitar, Testing One Two is a homebred for Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable.
“I didn’t expect this filly to be better than Minit To Stardom, who is undefeated right now, we thought she would be the superhero,” Benoit said. “I’ve been breeding horses for close to 40 years. Every year Star’s babies are looking great. We’ve had 19 born this so far this year and they look fabulous.”
The connection between Arceneaux and Benoit dates back to Star Guitar.
“He actually broke Star Guitar. He was my Kindergarten teacher, and now I gave him the opportunity to be the trainer,” Benoit said. “I have seven or eight trainers right now and I think I’m going add two more. We understand that a lot of people don’t want to come to Louisiana to breed to Star Guitar so we’re going to send them all over. That’s a great way for people to see them.”
Arceneaux and Benoit noted after the race that Testing One Two be sent out of town in her next start.
“We’re thinking about the (Gr. II $250,000) Black Eyed Susan (at Pimlico on May 18) next,” Benoit said.
Rounding out the field are Special Blessing, Saint’s Girl, Tap Dance Star and Thegrayspider.
Claude P. Williams
November 3, 1935 – March 24, 2018
Long time thoroughbred industry professional Claude P. Williams, son of the late Hazel P. and Dempsey D. Williams Jr., passed away at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge Saturday March 24, after a brain injury suffered in a fall earlier in the week. He was 82.
Williams started his thoroughbred career as a freelance journalist for the Daily Racing Form in 1965. He was a chart caller for the Daily Racing Form for 10 years, becoming a staff columnist until 1981. He then took the job as manager of Franks Farms in Shreveport, Louisiana until 1983.
Williams purchased Louisiana Horse magazine from the late Jack Lohman in 1984 and was editor and publisher from 1984 to 1988 when his son, the late Kyle Williams, became editor.
In March of 1988, Williams became a state steward for the Louisiana Racing Commission. In November of 1989, he was appointed Executive Director of the Louisiana Racing Commission by Governor Buddy Roemer, a position he held through September of 1991.
From there he moved to Alabama to be Executive Secretary of the Birmingham Racing Commission. He retired from that position in December of 2003. In retirement, he continued his interest in the thoroughbred industry as an author.
Service is at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at Westwood Presbyterian Church, Dothan, Alabama.
Survivors include his wife Rosemary Williams of Dothan, Alabama; Son Keith Williams of Ponchatoula, Louisiana; Daughter Kelly Williams Odom of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Step Son Richard Glaze of Warrior, Alabama; Step Son Alan Glaze of Hoover, Alabama; Brother Raymond L. Williams, of Gulf Breeze, Florida; Ex-wife, Martha Williams of Springfield, Louisiana; 8 Grandchildren; 5 Great Grandchildren, and 4 Step Grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by son Kyle T. Williams, brother Lawrie G. Williams and brother Dempsey D. Williams, III.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Baptist Children’s Homes of Alabama or Westwood Presbyterian Church of Dothan, Alabama.
November 13, 1937 – March 19, 2018
Leandrus “Lee” James Young, age 80, a native of Church Point, LA and a resident of Grand Coteau, LA, passed away on Monday, March 19, 2018 at his residence surrounded by his family.
Lee was the owner and operator of Indian Hills Country Club in Opelousas for the past eight years. He enjoyed going daily to visit the members and to spend time with his family. He also was a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Grand Coteau for many years.
Lee was well-known as a horse trainer throughout his life. In the years 1969, 1971, and 1973 he was awarded “Top Racing Horse Trainer” in the nation and then in 1968, 1972 and 1974 he was awarded second “Top Racing Horse Trainer” in the nation. In 2013, Lee’s passion and talent for training racehorses earned him the “Horse and Harmony Award”.
He was survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley Leger Young of Grand Coteau, LA; his sons, Marty Young of Houston, TX; Troy Young of Opelousas, LA; his daughters, Lea Ann Bullara and husband, Dean, of Opelousas, LA and Shirlene Young of Lafayette, LA; his brothers, Ronald Young and wife, Annette, of Houston, TX; Sherman Young and wife, Nancy, of Church Point, LA; his sisters, Nelda Turner and husband, Bendal, of Church Point, LA and Peggy Baker and husband, Mike, of Scott, LA. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Family and friends are invited to sign and view the online guestbook at www.lafondardoin.com.
A three-horse spill in Thursday’s eighth race at Fair Grounds Race Course & slots injured a pair of riders. Kerwin Clark was aboard ill-fated Ellashoo when the 4-year-old filly broke down nearing the five-sixteenth’s pole, setting off a chain reaction that resulted a pair of other horses falling – A Fashion Affair (Miguel Mena) and Queen Bernardina (Gabriel Saez).
Clark complained of pain in his neck, jaw and ribs and Miguel Mena, who entered the day as Fair Grounds leading rider at the meet with 55 victories, suffered an injury to his right ankle. Both were transported to University Medical Center of New Orleans for further evaluation.
Mena was diagnosed with multiple fractures in his right ankle and heel, according to drf.com. The jockey could miss as much as six months because of the injury.
Clark suffered a collapsed lung, a broken jaw, and at least one broken rib, per his agent, Charles Ashy Jr.
Saez got up under his own power and rode the next race. Ellashoo had to be put down. Trainer Bret Calhoun reported that his Queen Bernardina “appears to be fine”. Andrew Valenzuela, trainer of A Fashion Affair, was unable to be reached.
Panel said backstretch workers need to know where to turn.
Members of a panel discussing sexual harassment issues at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association convention March 16 in New Orleans said potential places for workers to turn include backstretch chaplains, horsemen’s groups, backstretch health workers, and stewards.
Loretta Brennan, executive director of the Arkansas HBPA, applauded the move by the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association to place forms in its office that allow workers to fill out a complaint about sexual harassment. Brennan acknowledged that not every worker may feel comfortable filling out such a form, but noted that it’s important to have options and make workers aware of those options so they don’t feel isolated.
Jennifer Johnson, vice president of Mountaineer HBPA who grew up on the backstretch, said workers need to have the ability to seek help and know where to turn.
“They do have to seek some help to make sure that behavior doesn’t continue,” Johnson said, noting that victims need to understand that they didn’t do anything wrong, and by speaking up they can stop this behavior. “They have to understand they have rights.”
The panel said sexual harassment can occur on the front side as well, and those workers should address the human resources department. They noted that where a worker can turn is not as well defined on the backstretch, and language barriers as well as the enclosed environment can potentially lead to feelings of isolation.
Brennan said that like every work environment, sexual harassment occurs on the backstretch. Some of those workers, who may not feel they are in a position of power, have shared their stories with Brennan.
“It definitely happens. I have had young women come to me in need and seek advice. I always reach out to my chaplain. I advise them that they can seek legal avenues. If it’s serious enough, they can hire a lawyer, but that hasn’t happened,” Brennan said. “My chaplain goes and talks with them, and gets pretty stern with them. I don’t think it’s happened again once I’ve had that conversation.”
Panel moderator Lynne Schuller recalled a personal incident where a horseman client she was representing at a hearing before the stewards said something highly offensive to her.
“I was going into a stewards meeting on a horseman, and he said something to me so shocking that I won’t repeat it,” Schuller said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘You idiot, you’re going to say that to me right before a meeting. What would you say to an employee you hired mucking a stall?'”
Schuller said she informed the stewards of what was said, and they took some level of action against the horseman. She said it was never a problem again. But she said women working on the backstretch may not feel like they are in a position to say something. She said there have to be ways to communicate, and any victim has to feel comfortable in telling her story.
Richard Riedel, executive director of the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund, said horsemen and backstretch groups should start activities and events that are popular with women like yoga classes and self defense. He said as members become comfortable in that atmosphere, advocates can present on topics like sexual harassment and inform them of their options.
Dan Waits, executive director of Race Track Chaplaincy of America, said part of chaplaincy training now includes training on sexual harassment.
“While the horse racing environment is unique, this problem goes on in any environment. As employers and supervisors, we need to provide a safe environment. Some of this is not just about sexual advances, some is about control,” Waits said. “People want to work in a safe environment where they are respected. It’s that simple.”