Bossier City, LA – The Louisiana Downs racing office is busy this week taking nominations for Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 4. Nominations for the seven stakes will close this Saturday, July 21.
Trainer H. B. Johnson has three runners pointed to Louisiana Cup Day, including Berniestrike, who pulled the upset in last year’s$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic. Bred and owned by James Boyd, the son of Wilburn out of the Unusual Heat mare Unusual Strike wore down his rivals under rider Eguard Tejera.
Sent off at 22-1, Berniestrike, who ran third in the 2016 edition of this stakes, paid $46.20 for the victory. He won off an eight-month layoff last year and will be making his first stakes in six months,as his last race was the Dixie Poker Ace on March 3 at Fair Grounds.
“He ran in New Orleans and got hurt, so we had to give him some time off,” said Johnson. “I think he’ll do well again; turf is his best surface.”
The 5-year-old gelding has won four of his 19 starts, earning $169,470 to date.
His half-brother Jimi’s a Star, also owned and bred by Boyd, will make his stakes debut in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile. Sired by Star Guitar out of Unusual Strike, he ran a game second to Liaisons Halo in a $23,000 maiden special weight here on July 9. Jockey Emanuel Nieves had the call.
“He’s a pretty nice horse,” said Johnson. “In his debut, he was a little erratic, but came running late. I think he’ll improve in his second start.”
Johnson’s third runner is Smokin’ Truth, who is slated to run in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint. The 3-year-old son of Yes Its True is co-owned by Johnson and Drop 23, LLC. He ran third in the 2017 Louisiana Cup Juvenile and eighth in the Sunday Silence here on Super Derby Day.
Another veteran trainer Robert Schultz has nominated Double Star for the $60,000 Prelude. Owned by Four Star Racing, the son of Star Guitar out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Bond Queen, has won four of his 12 career efforts, including two stakes earlier this year at Evangeline Downs. Schultz shipped the bay colt to Louisiana Downs and ran him in a turf allowance on July 6, where he finished sixth.
“Either he didn’t like the turf or facing that company, it wasn’t his best race,” stated Schultz. “Sometimes 3-year-olds get funny when they are up against older horses.”
Schultz looks for a good performance from Double Star, who will be ridden by Jose Guerrero.
“He’s been on him all but once,” he added. “Jose is a good, young rider.”
Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form broke the news that Analyze This Jet is being pointed to the Prelude by his trainer, Terry Eoff. The stakes winner has been gelded since running fourth in the $65,000 Prairie Mile at Prairie Meadows June 8.
The Prelude serves as a prep for the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby which will be run on Sunday, September 2.
Louisiana Cup Day nominations for the following stakes close on July 21.
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile 2 YO LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies 2 YO Fillies LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint 3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint 3 YO & Up LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic 3 YO & Up LA-Bred 1 1/16 miles (T)
$50,000 Louisiana Distaff 3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 Super Derby Prelude 3 Y0 1 1/16 miles
Super Derby Charity Golf Tournament Set for August 23
The Super Derby Charity Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday, August 23, at Querbes Golf Course in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk & The Winner’s Circle Church, which provides assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers. It serves as one of the special events saluting the annual Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, the marquee race of the Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season, set for Sunday, September 2.
Sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m. The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team. The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and Super Derby t-shirt/cap.
Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to: Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.
The deadline for registration is August 16. Hole sponsorships for $100, including a sign, are available, but must be purchased by August 1.
For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol, Louisiana Downs Racing Office Manager at (318) 741-2512.
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. The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major events, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 4and Super Derby Day on Sunday, September 2. As previously announced one major change for the upcoming season is that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will return to the main track at a distance of a mile and one-sixteenth on Sunday, September 2.
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.