Emanuel Nieves, Karl Broberg and End Zone Athletics, Inc. Earn Titles
Bossier City, LA – The 2018 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs concluded on Wednesday, September 26. The 84-day meet, which got underway on May 5, offered live cards on its Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday racing schedule.
Both major racing events, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 4 and Super Derby Day, featured excellent fields and were well received by both horsemen and horseplayers here and across the country. Limation, winner of the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, will run in Sunday’s Grade 3, $400,000 Remington Park Derby.
Louisiana Downs handled $64,565,651 throughout the meet, versus $67,290,466 in the 2017 live Thoroughbred racing season. While there was a decline of 4% in total handle, there were several positives, including an increase of 12% on Super Derby Day with horseplayers wagering $1,943,318 million this year, versus $1,737,269 in 2017. With carryovers on both the Pick 5 and Pick 6 wagers the handle on the final day of the meet was the largest at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs since the 2016 Super Derby. Also,an increase of 3.2% was noted on handle per race, with an average of $109,619 wagered per race this year, compared to $106,136 last year.
“We are encouraged by the increase in our per race handle and the momentum that we saw at the end of the meet, highlighted by the very strong closing day handle, “said Eric Halstrom, Director of Operations. “It remains difficult to attract horses to Northwest Louisiana, and the reduction in the number of races we ran in 2018 is a reflection of that. We will work hard in the months to come to build momentum with both horsemen and patrons for our 2019 live racing season. ”
Emanuel Nieves Wins His First Louisiana Downs Leading Rider Title
Emanuel Nieves had an exceptional season, topping a very competitive jockey colony to claim his first ever leading rider title. The 25-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished the meet with a record of 420 starts, 85 wins, 76 seconds and 70 thirds and purses of $1,074,804.
Nieves began riding in 2012, and has ridden in each of the four Louisiana racetracks for the past six years. He finished sixth in the standings last year, but his business grew significantly in 2018 due to the allegiance of many horsemen and his agent, Ronald Ardoin, who was one of the most successful jockeys in Louisiana.
“He’s won over 5,000 races,” said Nieves. ““Ronald has such good relationships with horsemen and has helped me so much.”
In the money at a very respectable 55% clip,, Nieves’ lone stakes win this season was aboard Cabo’s Rumor owned by Northpointe Thoroughbreds in the $60,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile on August 4.
Cabo’s Rumor is trained by Steve Duke, and Nieves had tremendous backing from a multitude of horsemen including Joey Foster, Al Stall, Jr., Karl Broberg, H. B. Johnson, Joe Duhon, Beverly Burress, Jose Camejo, Sarah Delany, Joe McKellar, Ray Shumake, Tommy Ives, Jody Hodges and Michael McEachern.
“I could not have gotten this far without the support of so many great horsemen,” said Nieves. “I work hard every day and am very thankful the opportunity to ride so many good horses.”
He finished the meet with tremendous confidence, piloting six winners this week, including his 500th career victory aboard Princesa Pomasane on Monday’s card.
Next up for Nieves is Delta Downs for their meet which gets underway on October 17. But first he will make a trip to Puerto Rico, where he rides three races Friday at Hipodromo Camarero.
“It will be a wonderful trip home,” stated Nieves. “I’ll ride on Friday, but Saturday there will be a big party with family and friends! Then back to Louisiana where I will work horses at Delta Downs on Wednesday!”
It was also a very successful season for Gerardo Mora, who finished second with 67 trips to the winner’s circle. Mora, who is also represented by Ardoin, was last year’s leading rider. Joel Dominguez won 66 races to finish a close third in the standings, followed by Jose Guerrero, who piloted 43 winners.
Karl Broberg Honored as Leading Trainer
Karl Broberg added another title to his fast growing list, winning 31 races from 101 starters to top his fellow conditioners this meet.
This showing caps his dominant year in Louisiana, when he began the year with 83 wins at Delta Downs to capture his seventh consecutive leading trainer award. On August 28, he picked up his eighth training title at Evangeline Downs with 59 wins from 190 starters.
This was the second leading trainer title at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs for Broberg, who has been training since 2009, and is currently ranked eighth in win on the Equibase North American trainer list.
“I’m shocked that we were able to win the title here,” said Broberg. “We sent in a few horses and had some success, so added a few more. While many of the horses were owned by End Zone Athletics, Inc., I was blessed with some quality owners this meet, for which I am thankful.”
Broberg, who is prominent at several racetracks in the region, acknowledged the hard work of assistant trainer, Kevin Martin, who ran the Louisiana Downs string.
“Maybe his worst attribute is that he is so well-liked,” quipped Broberg. “Our “good cop-bad cop” continues to work well!”
Joey Foster, who won the training title last year, finished second with 26 wins. Al Stall, Jr. won 22 races this meet and H. B. Johnson, Beverly Burress and Jorge Lara each saddled 18 winners.
Leading Owner Title Goes to End Zone Athletics, Inc.
The very tight battle for leading owner honors concluded on Tuesday afternoon when End Zone Athletics, Inc. won with Sun And Sand to clinch the title.
The highly successful partnership of Karl Broberg and Matt Johanson has reigned supreme on a national level and in the Texas-Louisiana region for many years and won 15 races this meet to earn leading owner honors.
End Zone Athletics, Inc. has led the nation in wins for the last three years, and currently tops all North American owners, according to Equibase, in 2018. They won the title at Delta Downs earlier this year for the sixth time in the last seven years. They also won leading owner honors earlier this year at Sam Houston Race Park. Since 2007, End Zone Athletics, Inc. has started 4,195 Thoroughbreds, winning 1,110 races and earnings of $14.573,256.
“Matt and I have been partners since we were roommates in college,” said Broberg. “We have had tremendous success in the claiming game.”
Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. followed closely with 14 wins and horses owned by Patti Turner made 13 trips to the winner’s circle. Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC was fourth with ten wins and Beverly Burress won nine races in the 2018 Thoroughbred meet.
Training and Stall Space Offered to Horsemen Beginning November 15
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the upcoming Fall and Winter months.
With the recent closing of the Evangeline Training Center, officials acknowledge that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers are in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is now accepting stall applications to accommodate horsemen from November 15 – March 19.
The track will be open for training six days a week with full amenities including a clocker, outrider and ambulance service. Security in the stable area will be provided 24 hours a day, seven days each week. Located in the Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is located in convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans and the upcoming live season at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.
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.