Bossier City, LA – Monday, May14 was a very good day for trainer Becky LeBlanc. Just two months after getting her trainer’s license, she shipped in two horses to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and won her first career race. On, Tuesday, May 15, she added a second win!
Born and raised in Sioux City, Nebraska, LeBlanc native fell in love with horses at an early age and spent her summers working and grooming at various farms. She relished the demanding work; everything from mucking stalls to cleaning tack and credited Nebraska horseman Harlan Norman for teaching her the ropes.
“He taught me everything I know,” said LeBlanc.
So after graduating from high school, LeBlanc began her pursuit of a career in the racing industry. She has been an assistant trainer since 1990, working for a number of horsemen. Owner Thomas Holyfield got to know LeBlanc when she was serving as an assistant to trainer Keith Bourgeois and encouraged her to go out on her own.
On March 10, she took out her trainer license and set up a 12 horse stable at Evangeline Downs. Fittingly, her first win came for Holyfield in Monday’s third race at Louisiana Downs when Opportunity Cost won the mile and one-seventy yard claiming event under jockey Thomas Pompell.
Track announcer John McGary recognized her achievement and tweeted that Opportunity Cost, a son of Tapit and $400,000 Keeneland sale purchase, was making his first start since October 17.
LeBlanc admits the handsome gray gelding didn’t always keep his focus, but ran a very good race Monday, sustaining his lead against the race favorite.
“He’s a big feeler in the barn,” LeBlanc said. “He likes to bite and play, but that’s what makes him happy!”
One day after winning her first career race, LeBlanc returned to the Bossier City racetrack and scored with another horse owned and bred by Holyfield. She’screative, a filly by Creative Cause, captured Tuesday’s fourth race, a $17,500 optional allowance claimer. Pompell was in the saddle as she drew off to a 2 ¼ length victory.
“She’s my baby girl,” admitted LeBlanc. “After breaking her maiden in her first start, she won the D.S. Shine Young Futurity (at Evangeline Downs). She ran her little heart out on Tuesday.”
LeBlanc, 48, married her husband, retired jockey Kirk LeBlanc in 2011. The former top rider on the Louisiana circuit is now a jockey agent at the Opelousas, Louisiana racetrack and handles the business for riders Pompell and Alfredo Contreras.
After cooling out her filly Tuesday afternoon, LeBlanc loaded both horses for the four-hour trip back to Evangeline. No big celebrations were planned as she recognizes that winning two races back-to-back is not the norm for a new trainer.
“It was a big step, and I wasn’t sure I was ready,” acknowledged LeBlanc. “But this was a very nice two days! I’ve been blessed.”
Simulcast of the 143rd Preakness Stakes on Saturday
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will offer an exciting afternoon of racing on Saturday, May 19 with seven live races and the simulcast of the 143rd Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Fans can watch and wager as Justify, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert goes for the second jewel in Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
Post Time for the first live race at Louisiana Downs is 3:15pm! The full card at Pimlico will be simulcast with the Preakness scheduled to run at 5:20 pm(Central). The Harrah’s Club will offer an All You Can Eat Buffet for just $39.99 this Saturday. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 800-551-7223 or 318-752-6367.
Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
Through the first eight days of the 2018 Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season, trainer Joe O. Duhon tops his fellow conditioners with four wins. Jorge Lara, Dana Whited and Danny Pish have each saddled three winners.
As expected, a very tight battle for leading jockey is off and running! Four riders are tied with five wins each. Last year’s leading jockey Gerardo Mora, Richard Eramia, Eddie Martin, Jr. and Joel Dominguez are each off to a solid start for the meet. Kevin Smith, Emanuel Nieves and Eguard Tejera follow closely with four wins.
Dream Walkin Farms, Inc has won three races to take the early lead in the owner standings. Brittlyn Stable Inc,, Thomas L. Holyfield, P and D Racing Stables and Lara Racing Stables, Inc. follow with two wins each.
Wednesday and Saturday Race Day Promotions
Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.
The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives. These include:
- Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
- Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
- Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier
Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.
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