LTBA Legislative Update: Senate Bill 220 Rescinded


LTBA Contact:
Roger Heitzmann
(504) 947-4676
April 30, 2019

LTBA Legislative Update:  Senate Bill 220
Senate Bill 220 Rescinded

Due to overwhelming opposition from horsemen from all sectors of the industry, Senate Bill 220 was rescinded by Sen. Eric LaFleur during the Louisiana Senate Judiciary B Committee Tuesday, April 30. The proposed legislation would have reduced race dates in Louisiana. Many thanks to all who contacted members of the Senate Judiciary B Committee. Your involvement has made all the difference! This has been a real work of cooperation between members of the LTBA, LQHBA, and LaHBPA, proving that when we join forces we all benefit.

For more information, please call 504-947-4676 or visit


Opening Day Features Eight Races and the Simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby


Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs commences on Saturday, May 4. A new post time has been set for each Saturday with live racing to begin at 12:55 pm (Central). The meet’s additional race days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will get underway at 3:15 pm.


Opening day will feature plenty of action for racing fans and an entertaining day for families as well. Beginning at 11:00 am along the track apron, there will be a children’s area with free bounce houses, water slides, face painting and culinary delights from the most popular food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier City.  Of course, racing fans will also be able to watch and wager on the  145th Kentucky Derby and each of the stakes races from Churchill Downs.


Track announcer John McGary and his guest, Jimmy “The Dee”, will conduct a pre-race handicapping seminar at The Inside Rail at 11:55 am. They will offer analysis of Saturday’s eight live races at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs as well as their insights on the Kentucky Derby.


Saturday will also mark the final day of the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest which got underway at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on January 19. Fans were able to make selections on major stakes races as well as the key Kentucky Derby prep races. Each participant earned points and following this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the winner will be awarded the $1,000 grand prize.


“The response from our horseplayers for this contest has been exceptional,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “We appreciate the loyalty of our local race fans and look forward to kicking off the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season with our  opening day festivities, live racing, and of course, the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby.”


Trainers To Watch

Karl Broberg, who won the 2018 training title here with 36 wins, returns with a full barn. Last December, he became just the third Thoroughbred trainer in North America to win 500 races in a calendar year. Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake were the only other horsemen to accomplish that feat.  Heading into May of this year, Broberg is the leading trainer, by wins, according to Equibase statistics.


Joey Foster of Vinton, Louisiana, who was the leading conditioner in 2016 and 2017,  Al Stall, Jr., Beverly Burress, H. B. Johnson,  James Hodges, Scott Gelner, Patti Turner, Jorge Gomez, Ronnie Ward, and Danny Pish will also be prominent throughout the meet.


“We thank our many returning horsemen for their support of our Thoroughbred meet,” said David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing. “While our Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby always receives tremendous attention, we are also committed to carding plenty of races for accredited Louisiana-breds on both our main track and Franks Turf Course.”


Leading Rider Emanuel Nieves Hoping for A Second Title

Jockey Emanuel Nieves  won the first leading rider title of his career last September when he made 85 trips to the winner’s circle.  The hard-working and affable young man is eager to replicate his success at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs when the meet begins on Saturday.


Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, the 26-year-old Nieves attended Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school that also produced the sensational Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose.


Two years ago, Nieves got the call from respected former rider and jockey agent Ronald Ardoin encouraging him to come to Louisiana Downs.


Nieves appreciates the hard work of his agent in getting him quality mounts. He rides for a multitude of trainers including Joey Foster, Al Stall, Jr., H. B. Johnson and Joe Duhon


“Every day he shows up at the barn, even on his days off.” explained Foster. “He has an excellent work ethic; he’s polite and very professional.”


Following last year’s meet at Louisiana Downs, Nieves made a trip to Puerto Rico to see his family and had an opportunity to ride several races at Hipodromo Camarero.


“Riding in Puerto Rico was very special for me,” he explained. “Plus, it is always wonderful to visit my family.”


And on that topic, Nieves proudly announced that he will become a father in October when he and his girlfriend of four years, Milyorie Marie, will welcome their first child, a son!


For now, his mindset is on arriving early each morning in the barn area, working horses for each of his clients and winning races four afternoons a week.


“I believe in working hard everyday and doing my best for the horsemen who I ride for,” stated Nieves. “I want to win the title here again!”


Nieves will have plenty of competition as the 2019 jockey colony will include Gerardo Mora, Aubrie Green, Larry Taylor, Erica Murray, Eguard Tejera, Hector Del-Cid and Jose Guerrero as the meet gets underway.


2019 Thoroughbred Stakes Schedule

The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major stakes programs, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 3 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7.


Harrah’s Louisiana Downs 2019 Stakes Schedule

Saturday, August 3                           Louisiana Cup Day               Noms close July 20

$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


Saturday, September 7                     Super Derby Day                  Noms close August 24

$60,000 Frank L. Brothers                              3 YO & Up                             1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 River Cities                                       3 YO & Up F&M                    1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 Happy Ticket                                    2 YO Fillies                             One Mile (T)

$60,000 Sunday Silence                                 2 YO                                       One Mile (T) $300,000 SUPER DERBY (G3)              3 YO                                       1 1/16 miles

$60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin                             3 YO LA-Bred                        One Mile (T)

$60,000 Elge Rasberry                                   3 YO Fillies, LA-Bred            One Mile (T)


To see a complete list of the stakes schedule, including nominations, click here.


Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Special Events

145th Kentucky Derby                                                         Saturday, May 4

Watch and wager on the most anticipated race of the year from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, all while sipping on a Mint Julep and donning your favorite derby! Post time for the race is 5:50pm (CST). And if you are looking for a great place to dine while watching all of the live racing action, Harrah’s Club has an All You Can Eat Buffet offering for just $29.99 per person ($39.99 on special race days). Harrah’s Club will be open on Saturdays May-September from 12pm until 6pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 318-752-6367.


Mother’s Day Diamond Dig                                                Saturday, May 11

Mothers can swipe their Caesars Rewards card to be entered in to the Diamond Dig drawing at the Racing Kiosk located across from Racing Publications. 10 Moms will be drawn for a chance to dig on the racetrack for a Diamond Ring valued at $2,500! One Mom will walk away with new bling and nine others will walk away with a Cubic Zirconia Ring. The Mother’s Day Diamond Dig is scheduled to take place between the 5th & 6th race of the day. First Post Time 12:55 pm.


Preakness Stakes Family Fun Day                                      Saturday, May 18     

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is the place to be to watch and wager on the live racing action at Pimlico and Preakness 144 as the quest for the Triple Crown continues. Enjoy family fun on the apron including food trucks, inflatables, face painting and the thrill of live racing action. First Post Time 12:55pm Preakness Stakes Post Time: 5:20pm (CST).


Memorial Day Pig Races and Family Fun Day                 Monday, May 27

Don’t miss these wacky races as these high flying little porkers race to the finish line. The Pig Races will take place between post times for the Memorial Day Race Card. There will also be a Petting Zoo for children and a kid’s area with bounce houses and water slides. Face painting is available for purchase. Eat up as food trucks serve up great local bites. First Post Time 3:15 pm.


For more information on the upcoming racing season and special events, click here.


Daily Racing Promotions and Daily Offers

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs welcomes patrons four days a week for live racing and daily simulcast wagering on racetracks across the country. Promotions and food and beverage specials include:


Mobile Mondays | Enjoying the races? Check-in on the Caesars Rewards app from your smart phone to receive an entry into the weekly “Day at the Races” drawing. Winner will receive a dining experience for two to the Harrah’s Club (max value of $100).


2X Tuesdays | Present your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive a 2X racing reward credit multiplier each Tuesday.


Watch & Wager Wednesdays | Enjoy hotdogs, popcorn, beer and racing programs for only $1.00!


$5.00 Free Bet | Saturdays, May 4 & 18 |Opt in and receive a ticket at the Racing Kiosks between 11am and 5pm. Saturdays, May 11 & 25| Redeem your Free Bet at the Mutuel Counter.


Super Saturdays| Race to more Rewards by presenting your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive up to a 7X Racing Reward Credit Multiplier.


Saturday Pick 4 Family Day| Enjoy a box seat for 4 with food and drinks for only $16 on select Saturdays.


Bet & Earn| Check out Harrah’s new Bet & Earn offered through Racing by Caesars Rewards. Guests wagering using a Caesars Rewards card will now receive one Tier Credit and one Reward Credit on a three dollar bet.


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.



May Calendar of Events from the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders AssociationWhispering Oaks FarmDaaher and Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more informationMay 2, 3, 4, 5, New Orleans Jazz Fest at the Fair Grounds
No visitors will be allowed access to New Orleans Office during these days.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

May 2

  • National Day of Prayer

May 3

  • Equine Sales Oaks, Evangeline Downs

May 4

  • Equine Sales Derby, Evangeline Downs
  • Louisiana Downs 2018 Thoroughbred Meet Opens
  • Kentucky Derby

May 5

  • Cinco De Mayo

May 7 

  • Nominations for LTBA Board of Directors due from LTBA membership. Resume and photo of prospective board members also due.

May 12

  • Mothers Day

May 14

  • LTBA Board of Directors to meet with the Acadiana Caucus in Baton Rouge

May 18

  • Preakness Stakes
  • Armed Forces Day

May 21

  •  LTBA 2019-20 Membership Forms mail

May 25

  •  Louisiana Legends Night – Eight stakes races for Accredited Louisiana Bred Thoroughbreds worth total purses of $550,000

May 27

  •  Memorial Day

May 31

  • Louisiana Futurity Forms mail
  • LTBA Board of Directors Ballots to be mailed out

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach @ 2,500 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, or Roger 504-947-4676, for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.


Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association



IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDEDSenate Bill 220 has been introduced by Sen. Eric LaFleur, and is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary B Committee, TODAY, Tuesday, April 30.This bill will reduce race dates which could impact all four Louisiana racetracks.

Please contact your state senators right away, especially those on the Senate Judiciary B Committee.

Thank you, 
Louisiana Thorougbred Breeders Association 


Judiciary B
Senator Gary Smith (Chairman)
P. O. Box 189
Norco, LA 70079
(985) 764-9122
Senator Ronnie Johns (Vice-Chairman)
1011 Lakeshore Drive
Suite 515
Lake Charles, LA 70602
(337) 491-2016
Senator Norbèrt N. “Norby” Chabert
P.O. Box 2417
Houma, LA 70361
(985) 858-2927
Senator Eric LaFleur
P. O. Box 617
Ville Platte, LA 70586
(337) 363-5019
(877) 396-4600
Senator Jean-Paul J. Morrell
6001 Stars and Stripes Boulevard
Suite 221
New Orleans, LA 70126
(504) 284-4794
Senator Karen Carter Peterson
1409 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard
Suite C
New Orleans, LA 70113
(504) 568-8346
Senator Gregory Tarver
1024 Pierre Avenue
Shreveport, LA 71103
(318) 227-1499
For more information, please call 504-947-4676 or visit

Evangeline Downs Gate Crew (1971-84) Hold Reunion

The Gate Crew
By Charlotte Stemmans Clavier

evd starters
Seated – Phil Domingue, Melvin Clause, Bill Boudreaux, Alvin Reaux, Mike Creduer. Standing – Joseph “June” Rideaux, Dr. Paul Resweber, Greg Domingue, Richard “Fats” Huval, Russell Comeaux, Don Stemmans, Jerry Griffith, Karlon “Tippy” LeBlanc, Ron Keddy, Darrel Clavelle, Gary Deville, Francis Comeaux

The Starter, the track official that presses the button to start each race, and his Crew assures the safety of both rider and steed for the start of each race. The start of each race is a very dangerous place, but with the Guidance of the Starter and his Crew a calamity at the beginning of the race is unusual.

It seems that everything in South Louisiana is unique. The “Gate Crew” at Evangeline Downs is no exception. With most horse race tracks in the country the “Gate Crew” changes regularly. Evangeline Downs in Carencro La opened in 1966 has only had three Starters to present. The first Starter was Preacher Harold. In 1971 he moved his skills to Jefferson Downs and Don Stemmans became starter. Stemmans was starter from 1971 to 1984, at which time Russell Comeaux took over the duties as Starter. Russell Comeaux made the move to Opelousas with the track and remains in that position today.

Recently the Old Gate Crew of Evangeline Downs from 1971 to 1984 had a reunion. These are True Horsemen.





UNDERPRESSURE - The Evangeline Downs Classic - 04-27-19 - R08 - EVD - Finish
Underpressure wins the 2019 Evangeline Downs Classic. Coady Photography

Evangeline Downs Classic Stakes
Evangeline Downs, 4-27-19, 8 furlongs
4-Year-Olds and Upwards, $75,000

Birdstone–Charming Colleen
Breeder: James McIngvale
Owner: Mallory Greiner
Trainer: Chris Richard
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

Just Stormin
Freud–Crypto Cream
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Craig Drago
Trainer: Allen Landry
Jockey: Kerwin D. Clark

Musket Man–Spaseeba
Breeder: James A. Mcgehee Jr.
Owner: Double Dam Farm LLC
Trainer: Delmar R. Caldwell
Jockey: Roberto Morales

OPELOUSAS, LA – It wasn’t the easiest of victories in the $75,000 Evangeline Downs Classic for Underpressure on Saturday night. He had to survive both a stewards’ inquiry and a rider’s objection for possible interference in deep stretch, but once both claims were disallowed, then the pressure was truly off. The 5-year-old horse had rallied to pass a game pacesetter in Just Stormin and score a victory by 1-1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:38.39 for one mile over the fast track.

Just Stormin was hustled to the lead off the break and maintained that advantage through moderate early fractions of 24.77 seconds for the quarter-mile and 49.40 for the half. Underpressure was languishing in mid-pack until the field entered the far turn and made an aggressive run into contention that had him on even terms with Just Stormin until taking the lead around the eighth pole. Underpressure then moved down toward the rail, causing Just Stormin to steady in deep stretch, but this action was considered inconsequential to the outcome and the result was allowed to stand.

Underpressure was sent off at 4-1 by the betting public and returned $10.40 to win, $5.40 to place and $3.60 to show. Just Stormin paid $10.80 to place and $7 to show, while Mageez returned $4.20 to show.

Underpressure was bred in Louisiana by James McIngvale. He is owned by Mallory Greiner, trained by Chris Richard and was ridden to victory by Gerard Melancon. Underpressure is by 2004 Belmont Stakes winner, Birdstone, and is out of the Charismatic mare, Charming Colleen. He has now won ten of 29 starts in his career and the $45,000 first-place purse increases her lifetime earnings to $550,632.

Live racing at Evangeline Downs will resume on Wednesday night with a nine-race program. Post time on Wednesday will be 5:50 pm Central Time.

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at



SPECIAL BLESSING - Evangeline Downs Distaff - 04-26-19 - R08 - EVD - Finish
Special Blessing wins the Evangeline Downs Distaff Stakes. Coady Photography

Evangeline Downs Distaff Stakes
Evangeline Downs, 4-26-19, 8 furlongs
Four Year Old and Upwards, Fillies and Mares, $75,000

Flat Out–Langsyne
Breeder: J. Adcock
Owner: Coteau Grove Farms LLCV
Trainer: W. Brett Calhoun
Jockey: Roberto Morales

Tap Dance Star
Star Guitar–Dance by Em
Breeder: Virginia Lazenby
Owner: Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC
Trainer: Oscar Modica
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

Hyper Piper
Old Fashioned–Filaree
Breeder: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez & John Duvieilh
Owner: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez & John Duvieilh
Trainer: Sam B. David, Jr.
Jockey: Sam B. David, Jr.


OPELOUSAS, LA – The $75,000 Evangeline Downs Distaff on Friday night was expected to be a battle between Louisiana heavyweights and old rivals, Hyper Piper and Testing One Two. However, a filly that hadn’t won a stakes race in nearly a year had other plans, as Special Blessing went to the front shortly after the start and never looked back, coasting to a victory by 6-1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:37.58 for the one mile over the fast track.

Special Blessing was able to secure an inside position before the field entered the first turn and used that rail run to her advantage, carving out fractions of 24.06 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.76 for the half. She really took off entering the far turn and the outcome was never in doubt as the field entered the stretch, as Special Blessing just kept increasing her lead with every stride. Tap Dance Star had been last in the field of six through the early stages, but closed well and beat out Hyper Piper for second. The even-money betting favorite, Testing One Two, was unable to fire after being near the pace early on and faded to finish fifth.

The win in the Evangeline Downs Distaff on Friday night was Special Blessing’s first stakes win since taking the $75,000 Equine Sales Oaks, also at Evangeline Downs on May 4, 2018.

Special Blessing was sent off by the betting public at odds of 9-1 and returned $20.80 to win, $8 to place and $4.60 to show. Tap Dance Star was also 9-1 in the wagering and paid $6.40 to place and $4 to show. Hyper Piper returned $3.40 to show.

Special Blessing was bred in Louisiana by J.Adcock. She is owned by Coteau Grove Farms, LLC, trained by Bret Calhoun and was ridden to victory by Roberto Morales. The 4-year-old filly is by Flat Out and is out of the Langfuhr mare, Langsyne. She has now won five of 12 starts in her career and the $45,000 first-place purse increases her lifetime earnings to $209,030.


Live racing at Evangeline Downs will resume on Saturday night with a nine-race program. The featured event on the program will be the $75,000 Evangeline Downs Classic. Post time on Saturday will be 5:50 pm Central Time.


For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at


ThoroCap announces relaunch date

HOT SPRINGS, AR- ThoroCap, established in 2004 as a Thoroughbred handicapping service, will relaunch on Thursday, April 25, 2019. ThoroCap will continue to provide a wide range of handicapping products, but has expanded its focus to include providing news, analysis, and commentary on Thoroughbred racing and the Thoroughbred racing industry.

Commenting on ThoroCap’s plans to become a destination site for racing fans, publisher Chris Robbins said, “We believe that informed racing fans are central to the success of our industry. It is an industry that is often described as ‘dying’, but the facts belie that.”

According to the U.S Equine Economic Impact Study, the horse industry generates approximately $40 billion in direct economic impact annually and has a total economic impact of more than $100 billion, approximately $30 billion of which comes from the racing sector alone. Over all, the horse industry generates the equivalent of 1.4 million full-time jobs and pays almost $2 billion per year in taxes.

In January 2019, Equibase reported that pari-mutuel wagering increased by 3.3% to $11,265,519,563 in 2018, the largest single-season increase in 18 years. “That does not speak to a dying industry,” Robbins said.

In addition to its primary focus areas- news, analysis, commentary, and handicapping products, ThoroCap has also launched ThoroCap Supports, a program that provides free advertising, promotion, and a public forum for the non-profit organizations that support those involved in the industry: backside workers, jockeys, the horses themselves.

Speaking about ThoroCap Supports, Robbins stated that, “ThoroCap is proud to be a part of the Thoroughbred industry, and we recognize our responsibility to the animals and to the people who work in our industry. The charitable organizations that ThoroCap Supports was created to assist perform an invaluable service that helps meet the needs of those in the industry whose last race may have been run.”

Don Phillips, a long-time sports writer and analyst based in New York, who serves as CEO of the ThoroCap division of DHHS, LLC., enthusiastically endorses ThoroCap Supports. Phillips said, “When Chris first mentioned the idea, I told him we almost had to do it. It’s a positive for the racing community, and just felt like the right thing to do.” Phillips, who suffers from profound Cerebral Palsy noted that philanthropic organizations, such as those ThoroCap supports was created to assist, play a vital role in meeting needs that would otherwise remain unmet.

Robbins, the owner of ThoroCap’s parent company Diversified Holdings of Hot Springs, LLC (DHHS, LLC), has been directly involved in the Thoroughbred racing industry for almost two decades, as a horse owner, writer, handicapper, and advocate for the sport.

With ThoroCap, Robbins has attempted to create a service that offers a forum for all sides when addressing issues affecting the sport, and one that makes a clear distinction between news and opinion. ThoroCap itself takes no position the issues, rather it offers a forum for civilized discourse and encourages readers to form their own informed opinions.

“ThoroCap also strives to offer a wide range of innovative handicapping products appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and advanced racing fans, who are the lifeblood of the sport.” Robbins said.

Thoroughbred Idea Foundation: Calling for a Racing Industry Compromise

The sport which brings us together is at a turning point. We have been divided for far too long on a variety of issues that impact our business. Most notably, the “Lasix debate” has been a debilitating one, inhibiting our collective ability to move ahead. The time has come for the industry to compromise – working together with all major constituencies to establish a mutually-agreed, new way forward.

The recent announcement from a coalition of racetracks to introduce changes to their house Lasix policies was met with a series of statements from certain stakeholder groups restating their long-held positions. Compromise is essential. Absent a compromise, binding mediation should be considered.

In my many years in this great sport, I have never seen racing more at risk than it is right now,” says B. Wayne Hughes, owner of Spendthrift Farm. “We have far too much at stake to continue being tied down in separate bunkers and not finding a way forward. The time for a compromise is now.

As major stakeholders, we believe the only way to grow revenue for the industry’s obligations – among them, aftercare and backstretch programs, equine research, jockey insurance and prize money – is through the growth of the sport’s overall “pie.” If our industry can collectively agree to compromise, we can finally move ahead together and address other meaningful issues that have inhibited growth in the sport for far too long.

While racing has some long-standing traditions which have shaped our collective experience, nothing is set in stone. Let’s embrace that freedom to redefine the future.

Our sport has recently been challenged in a manner that requires bold, serious and innovative action. But the longer-term reality should not be ignored, either. Foal crops are at 50-year lows. Handle is down close to 50%, adjusted for inflation, over just 15 years. Though tougher to measure, the social license racing enjoys is also questioned now more than at any point in recorded history. We must adapt to this, better exhibiting to the world – not just ourselves – the outstanding care our horses receive, and their majestic, innate desire to compete.

We must unite and emerge stronger – for the horses, for our passion, for the future.

Since our organization’s launch last summer, we’ve presented four substantive white papers tackling topics related to improving our sport’s approach to pricing, transparency, product development and access to information. Now is the time to present a fresh approach to racing. We have enlisted five industry leaders to present their take on improving different segments of racing through new approaches to long-stagnant “offices.” Their ideas will be released over the next two days.

Wagering and Innovation: Marshall Gramm (chair of Rhodes College economics department, co-founder of Ten Strike Racing)

Racing Administration and Planning: Rick Hammerle (long-time racing official, including 20 years at Santa Anita as racing secretary and vice president of racing).

Integrity and Welfare: Maggi Moss (attorney, major horse owner, leading aftercare advocate)

Communications and Marketing: John Sikura (president of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm)

Owners’ Services and Recruitment: Brad Weisbord (founder of BSW Bloodstock, ELiTE Sales)

Presented with an opportunity to re-shape our industry and mindful of our precarious position, these suggestions should be met with open minds. Our interest in a healthy thoroughbred industry is shared. The process to achieve these much-needed improvements remains rooted in compromise, with all stakeholders understanding that once-entrenched opinions must be loosened in order to establish a modern sport.

In the recently-published words of billionaire investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio, “collective decision making works much better than fragmented individual decision making so I urge you to understand it and employ it. If you don’t, you will be left behind.” Our future, as projected by five industry leaders, could be so much brighter than our past if we can collectively move beyond that which has divided us for so long and work together. Join us in this quest!

More than 170 Equine Organizations Compete in ASPCA Help a Horse Home Challenge to Increase Equine Adoptions Nationwide

ASPCA #HelpAHorse Challenge will award $150,000 in grant prizes to equine organizations

NEW YORK–The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its annual Help a Horse HomeSM: ASPCA Equine Adoption Challenge. More than 170 equine organizations from 41 states and Puerto Rico are participating in the nationwide competition for equine rescues, shelters, and sanctuaries which is designed to increase adoptions of equines around the country. This year’s challenge has been expanded to include one grand prize, eight divisional prizes, and three social media prizes, totaling $150,000. Contestants will be placed into one of four divisions based on the number of adoptions they completed during the challenge period last year and for all of 2018.

“The Help a Horse Home ChallengeSM provides an effective way to reach the untapped equine adopters that our research suggests are out there,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of Equine Welfare for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA is dedicated to supporting the many groups around the country working to help more horses find loving homes, and we are excited to see what innovative and thoughtful ideas equine organizations come up with to help save more horses’ lives.”

The ASPCA recently announced an exciting partnership with Zoetis US LLC to reduce the medical costs for the groups participating in the 2019 Help a Horse HomeSM Challenge. Zoetis will donate their new vaccine CORE EQ Innovator™ for every equine adopted during the two-month challenge period, up to 1,500 vaccines. Participants are also invited to promote their equines on My Right Horse, a new listing site created by The Right Horse Initiative for equines in transition.

In 2018, equine organizations adopted out more than 1,000 horses during the two-month Help a Horse contest period, proving that there are more homes out there for horses. To build on the success of the 2018 contest, the 2019 challenge has been reimagined and renamed— Help a Horse HomeSM: The ASPCA Equine Adoption Challenge with $150,000 in grant funding available to equine rescues, shelters and sanctuaries who secure the biggest increase in adoptions compared to the previous year. Any U.S.-based 501(c)(3) organization or governmental agency capable of receiving grant funds and fulfilling an animal welfare or protection mission that adopts out horses or other equines is eligible to participate.

The Help a Horse Home ChallengeSM kicks off on April 26—a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. Each year, the ASPCA hosts a national grant competition to elevate the work of equine rescues that help at-risk horses who’ve been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless.

For more information about the ASPCA Help a Horse Home ChallengeSM, please visit


About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram