Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Racing with 3:05 pm (CT) Post Time
Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, June 6. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time will be 3:05 pm (Central).
The meet will be run spectator-free, until further notice, in accordance with sanctions by Governor John Bel Edwards. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs remains in constant communication with the Louisiana Department of Health on procedures and protocols to ensure the safety of horses, horsemen and essential employees.
Joey Foster Hopes to Defend His Trainer Title
Benton, Louisiana horseman Joey Foster set up shop in Louisiana back in 1992 and continues to be one of the top trainers at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. The very popular conditioner won his first title here in 2016, repeating the feat in 2017 and finishing second to Karl Broberg in 2018. He won 54 races last year here, adding another title.
He and his brigade of exercise riders have been prominent in morning works and Foster is hoping to get off to a good start when the Thoroughbred meet begins on Saturday.
“I might need some practice,” said Foster, who saddled his last racehorse in March at Fair Grounds. “We are all in the same boat; just need to take it one day at a time.”
Last year’s winners at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs included a mix of claiming and allowance horses, but his stakes stock is on the rise, topped by Our Lost Love, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Half Ours. Bred and owned by Tri-Star Racing LLC, she broke her maiden impressively here on September 14 before stepping up in class. She earned her first black-type victory on December 29 at Fair Grounds in the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity and won the $70,000 Take Charge Brandi at Delta Downs two months later.
“She’s doing well; we’re just looking for a race for her,” said Foster. “We’ve got some new stock for this meet, and great support from our owners.”
Heading into Saturday’s opening day card, Foster has five horses entered and looks poised to clinch his 800thcareer win.
Karl Broberg, finished second to Foster last year with 45 wins. Former jockey Beverly Burress finished the meet with 28 victories and Steve Asmussen and Jorge Lara tied for fourth with 20 winners each. Each will be back in action, joined by H. B. Johnson, James “Sweet” Hodges, Patti Turner, Ronnie Ward, Kathleen Mordenti and Steven Duke.
The backside is bustling with several new horsemen who have been granted stalls for the 2020 live racing season.Scott Gelner Brett Brinkman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Angel Cordero, Sarah Delany, F. Dewaine Loy, Becky LeBlanc, Eric Heitzmann and Shane Wilson are among the conditioners who will be stabled here.
“We were pleased with the interest of new outfits requesting stalls this meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “It has been a very challenging time in our industry, and we cannot say enough about the resilience of our Louisiana horsemen. We appreciate their loyalty and look forward to presenting a very competitive racing program.”
Competitive Jockey Colony Ready for Action
There will be a battle from start to finish for leading rider honors as several solid veterans will return to the jockey colony this season.
Carlos Lozada was dominant throughout the 2019 meet as he earned his first leading rider title. The 35-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished the meet with a record of 428 starts, 95 wins, 70 seconds and 52 thirds and purses of $1,076,410. He began riding in the United States in 2007 after attending Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of riders, including Irad Ortiz, Jr, Jose Ortiz as well as 2018 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves.
The soft-spoken rider gave credit to his agent, Ronald Ardoin, Louisiana Downs Hall of Fame jockey, who won 5,226 races in his illustrious career.
“There is no doubt that Ronald made a big difference for me,” said Lozada. “He works hard in the mornings and got me a lot of mounts. He was very helpful when I asked for advice.”
Previous title holders Emanuel Nieves and Gerardo Mora will ride as well as up and coming jockey Joel Dominguez, who finished second last year with 91 trips to the winner’s circle.
Jockey Aubrie Green finished third in the standings last year with 54 victories. Born in Idaho, the mother of three is improving in just her fifth year riding professionally. Green capped off 2019 campaign with a victory aboard Pound For Pound in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. It was her biggest win to date, and she received plenty of well-deserved recognition for her skills in the saddle.
“Winning that race was surreal and a huge accomplishment for me,” she admitted.
However, her 2020 did not begin on a high note. She suffered an ankle injury that required extensive tendon surgery and just began working horses the second week of May at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
“I’m really excited to be back,” stated Green. “I have some great trainers who continue to support me and look forward to riding for Shane Wilson and Eric Heitzmann, who will run here this meet. It looks like I will also pick up a few for Joey Foster; he is a great trainer; hilarious too!”
Green is hoping that restrictions will be lifted in the near future so that fans can enjoy live racing.
“It’s important that we continue to grow our industry,” she added. “I grew up in a small town and never got a chance to go to the races. So, when I see a kid watching a race, I always try to talk to them and give them a set of goggles.”
Racing fans will have plenty of exotic wagering options for the upcoming meet. Rolling daily doubles and Pick 3 wagers will begin on the first race. A Pick 4 wager will be offered on the last four races of the program as well as a Pick 5, covering the final five races. Also, a new Pick 6 Jackpot, with a minimum bet of .10 cents, beginning on the second race of the card, has been added. The final race of the day will have a Super High Five wager providing there is a seven horse field (or higher) entered.
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.