Obituary: William Charles Langford Jr.

William (Bill) Charles Langford, Jr., 77, died on Friday, May 28, 2021, in Lafayette after a fierce battle with brain cancer.

Bill was born in Waycross, GA on December 16, 1943. He graduated from Clemson University in South Carolina and went on to serve in the Army in Vietnam. He was married to his bride Mary for nearly 50 years. She, their children, and grandchildren meant everything to him. After retiring from the oil industry, Bill moved to his sanctuary at Cherokee Ridge Horse Farm in Carencro, LA with his wife Mary. His love for nature and animals, especially his dogs and horses, flourished there. It became a healing place for him and resulted in a passion for him and his horses to hold space so that others might do the same. At his core, Bill was a man after God’s own heart. His faith in Jesus was life changing and deeply important to him. Bill’s favorite things included hanging out with the people he loved, doing equine therapy with kids and other veterans, riding around in his gator with his grandkids, cutting hay, laughing, telling stories, eating good food, and drinking red wine. He leaves a legacy of kindness, generosity, humor, and love. Bill lived a mighty and beautiful life. We are all better for having known him.

Bill is survived by his wife Mary Blum Langford; his son and daughter-in-law Josh and Jenny Langford and their children Will, Kyra, Ethan, Jack, Zoe, Caleb, and Sofia; his daughter Carrie Langford Begnaud and her children Elias, Deacon, and Forest; his daughter Dana Langford and her children Liam and Stella as well as their father John Bennett. He is also survived by his brother Hal Langford.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents William (Bill) and Sarah Langford, Sr., his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and one grandchild.

Throughout his life, people were drawn to Bill for his uniquely genuine heart. He saw and heard them, met them where they were and cared about them, only wanting the best for them.

To honor Bill’s wishes, his family is not having a memorial service. Bill had a huge heart for the people of Haiti, in particular the people of Picot Church. He and Mary loved their Haitian family and were blessed to travel there many times over the past 19 years.

Donations in Bill’s name can be made through Reciprocal Ministries International at in care of Picot Church in Haiti.

Online obituary and guestbook may be viewed at www.CypressFunerals.Com


Bossier City, LA – The 2021 Thoroughbred racing season at Louisiana Downs concluded on Tuesday, September 21.  The meet leaders, jockey Carlos Lozada, trainer Shane Wilson and owner Wayne T. Davis were honored for their accomplishments on the final afternoon of the 84-day meet, which began on Saturday, May 1.


Carlos Lozada Wins His Second Leading Rider Title

Carlos Lozada who won his first title here in 2019, clinched top honors once again. He has been  dominant throughout the meet, topping a very competitive jockey colony and holding off 2020 leading rider Joel Dominguez by four wins.


The 36-year-old native of Puerto Rico 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 Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves.


Lozada, won races for a variety of trainers including Joey Foster, Karl Broberg, Tim Dixon, Al Cates and Justin Jeansonne. He was named on 391mounts, with a record of 84 wins, 76 seconds, 60 thirds and purses of $1,053,720.


Winning his second leading rider title Louisiana Downs meant a great deal to the devoted family man, supported by his wife, Eileen Quinones and their three sons: Anthony, who celebrated his 17th birthday on September 21;Jean Carlos and Jandriel.


“I thank my family, my agent Ronald Ardoin and each of the owners and trainers who supported me this season,” said Lozada. “Louisiana Downs has been a very good track for me; I really enjoy the daytime schedule!”


Lozada plans to winter in Tampa and ride next at Tampa Bay Downs before returning to Louisiana Downs next May.


Joel Dominguez finished second with 80 trips to the winner’s circle, edging Lozada slightly in purses, with mounts earning $1,057,585. Emanuel Nieves finished the meet well, winning 72 races and Juan P. Vargas was fourth in the standings with 70 trips to the winner’s circle.


Shane Wilson Honored as Leading Trainer

In his second year of running a barn at Louisiana Downs, Shane Wilson topped his fellow conditioners with 55 victories.


The Haughton, Louisiana resident won 32 races last year and credited David Heitzmann, Louisiana Downs Director of Racing, for initiating a plan for the 2020 live racing season before any other racetrack.


“David helped the horsemen with the uncertainty of COVID-19 last year,” said Wilson. “Louisiana Downs has great racing surfaces and the location works for shipping to Dallas and Hot Springs.”


His success in 2020 propelled Wilson to formulate a plan for the 2021 live racing season.


“Returning this year, I claimed horses for my leading client, Wayne T. Davis and several other owners. We had a plan and it came together very well.”


His top claimer is Emerald Forest who Wilson convinced Davis to take from Joe Sharp for $15,000 last February at Fair Grounds.  It was one of Wilson’s toughest conversations as Davis countered the suggestion with “You want me to spend $15,000 on a horse that lost by 31 lengths?”


Wilson was strongly convinced that the 3-year-old gelding by Gemologist was not suited for the turf and would fare better on the main track.


And boy, was he right! He won a maiden special weight on April 6, and captured three of his four starts at Louisiana Downs. On July 13, he set a new seven-furlong track record of 1:21.07, drawing off to a ten-length victory under Jose Guerrero.


“We’re going to try the big boys at Churchill Downs next,” said Wilson.


Both Guerrero and Alexander Castillo have ridden well for Wilson this season at Louisiana Downs.


“I took a long look at the jockey colony and liked the fact that both Alexander Castillo and Jose Guerrero finished in the top five,” he explained. “These guys try hard on each mount and won some races at big prices. I worked with their agent, Steve Melancon, and decided to give them a chance. They have worked hard for us and I believe in loyalty.”


Wilson played football and basketball in high school and college and developed a fierce competitive drive, which fuels him to this day.


“I wasn’t the best athlete, but beat better by being prepared,” he said.  “I never accepted I was going to lose until the game was over!”


It’s a family affair at the Wilson barn, with his wife Becky and younger son, Connor, sharing in the key duties.


“I don’t hunt, fish or play golf,” stated Wilson. “It’s all about the horses and thankfully, Becky, Connor and my oldest son, Peyton, understand that!”


Joey Foster, who has won the trainer title three times, finished second with 40 wins. Joe Duhon followed with 33 victories and Karl Broberg rounded out the top four with 30 wins.



Leading Owner Title Goes to Wayne T. Davis

The leading owner of the meet is Wayne T. Davis who topped the standings with 25 victories. The 92-year-old Louisiana businessman has been an owner for over 20 years and he and Wilson have teamed with a wide range of Thoroughbreds; their most successful to date is Grade 3 winner Mocito Rojo.


End Zone Athletics, Inc., who took the owner title in 2019 and 2020, finished second.  The highly successful partnership of Karl Broberg and Matt Johanson won 20 races this meet.  Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. was thirdin the standings with 18 wins and Justin Jeansonne had 11 victories to finish fourth.


About 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.


Brinkman’s Cilla Raises the Bar for Louisiana-Breds

MarketWatch: Brett Brinkman


Cilla thrust Louisana-breds into the spotlight with her gritty upset victory in the Sept. 4 Prioress Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course. The daughter of California Chrome  hails from Brett Brinkman’s farm in Cajun country, Louisiana, where Brinkman bred, raised, and broke the filly that would provide him with one of the biggest thrills of his career.

Brinkman, the co-owner, co-breeder, and trainer of Cilla who operates Le Mesa Stallions in Carencro, La., spoke with BloodHorse MarketWatch about his early beginnings in the industry, acquiring Cilla’s dam, the successful race mare Sittin At the Bar, and why he believes the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association program offers breeders significant value on the racetrack.


Read BloodHorse Article





OPELOUSAS, LA –Diego Saenz took charge of the jockey standings with a five-win night on the first Friday of the meet and never looked back.  Finishing off the season with a two-bagger, Saenz finished the season with 116 victories from 403 mounts, a 29% winning clip.  With 88 runner ups and 58 show placings, Saenz hit the board with 65% of his rides and brought in $1,872,243 in earnings. Three other riders brought in over one million dollars for their connections with their mounts.  Tim Thornton was second behind Saenz with $1,611,046, followed by Pedro Cotto, Jr. with $1,340,315 and Joe Stokes with $1,235,400.


The complete top 10 jockeys for the 2021 meet were:  Diego Saenz (116 wins), Tim Thornton (100), Pedro Cotto, Jr. (81), Joe Stokes (66), Roberto Morales (38), Kevin Smith (38), Gerard Melancon (37), Ashley Broussard (34), Casey Fusilier (34) and Antonio Quiles (26).


The long reign of Karl Broberg as the top trainer at Evangeline Downs came to an end on Saturday night.  Capping off the season with three victories on the closing night card, Eduardo Ramirez drew off to capture his first training title.  Ramirez, a former assistant in the Broberg brigade, saddled 44 winners on the season.  Winning at a 31% clip, Ramirez finished the season five wins ahead of Broberg.  The Ramirez barn tallied $541,682 in purse winnings for the meet.  Karl Broberg runners did lead in that category, bringing in $624,546 for the meet.


The complete top 10 in the trainer standings were:  Eduardo Ramirez (44 wins), Karl Broberg (39), Juan Larrosa (33), Scott Gelner (30), Allen Landry (26), Keith Bourgeois (23), Sam Breaux (21), Dale White, Sr. (20), Rylee Grudzien (19) and Ron Faucheux (18).  Of the trainers in the top ten, Bourgeois runners had the highest strike rates with 34% winners and 72% on the board from his 68 total starters.


Jimmy Johnson’s Red Rose Racing fended off the challenge of End Zone Athletics, Inc. to bring home the title in the owner’s race.  Red Rose Racing starters won 30 races from 88 starts, while finishing second 10 times and third 10 times, for a 34% winning percentage and 57% in the money. End Zone Athletics, Inc. was active at the entry box with a meet leading 144 starters that tallied a second-best 28 winners.  The End Zone Athletics, Inc. runners led in money won with $434,936 in earnings followed by Joe Alfredo Castillo with $361,925 and Red Rose Racing with $300,307.


The complete top 10 in the owner standing were:  Red Rose Racing (30 wins), End Zone Athletics, Inc. (28), Joe Alfredo Castillo (19), Dale White, Sr. (16), Rylee Grudzien (15), Elite Thoroughbred Racing, LLC (12), Adriel Gonzalez (10), Whispering Oaks Farm, LLC (8), and a tie for ninth between George Santis and Sandy Badeaux with 7 wins apiece.


Evangeline Downs will be dark for a couple of weeks.  Live racing resumes with the start of the American Quarter Horse meet on Wednesday, October 6.  Post time for the 53-day season will be at 5:35pm Central Time.


For more information on Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at  Evangeline Downs information can also be found on Twitter @EVDracing and on Facebook at


Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.



OPELOUSAS, LA – Evangeline Downs wrapped up its 2021 Thoroughbred season on Saturday night with an 11-race program that featured the $60,000 D. S. ‘Shine’ Young Futurity for colts and geldings and recognition of the top horsemen for the meet.


The D. S. ‘Shine’ Young was won by Whispering Oaks Farm’s Fiesty Fist. The 24-1 longshot was ridden to victory by jockey Kevin Smith, who got a leg up from trainer Steven Flint before the 5-1/2-furlong test for 2-year-olds.


Breaking from post nine in a 10-horse field, Fiesty Fist sat off the early pace of 22.08 seconds for the opening quarter mile and 45.92 for the half set by True Deal. As the field turned for home, True Deal held a narrow lead while riding the rail as Fiesty Fist and Tambourine Star were closing in during the final furlong. At the wire, Fiesty Fist passed the pacesetter by just a half-length to claim victory while Tambourine Star settled for third, another head behind the runner-up.


The final time for Fiesty Fist was 1:05.39 while racing over a track listed as muddy.


The win by Fiesty Fist was the second of his three-race career. He broke his maiden at first asking on May 20 before finishing sixth in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs on August 21. He earned $36,000 for his win on Saturday while raising his overall bankroll to $50,400.


Bred in Louisiana by Carrol J. Castille, Fiesty Fist is a 2-year-old bay gelding by Iron Fist, out of the Roman Ruler mare Sheza Roman Ruler.


Fans who backed Fiesty Fist at the wagering window were rewarded to payoffs of $51 to win, $27.80 to place and $15.60 to show. True Deal paid $5.40 to place and $3.60 to show. Tambourine Star was worth $3.20 to show.





Free Like A Girl wins the Filly Division of the D.S. “Shine” Young Memorial Futurity. Coady Photography.


OPELOUSAS, LA –The penultimate day of racing saw a potential star-in-the-making as Gerald Bruno, Jr.’s Free Like a Girl scored a big victory in the $60,000 D.S. ‘Shine’ Young Futurity on Friday night.  The filly division of the futurity for Louisiana-bred runners was contested over the distance of 5-1/2 furlongs.


Madame Jane broke sharply to gain early control, with Free Like a Girl rushing up after a slow start from her outside post.  Through an opening quarter-mile in a quick 22.06 seconds, Madame Jane opened up a 1-1/2 length lead with Free Like a Girl and Morewickedthanless on the chase.  Jockey Pedro Cotto Jr. urged Free Like a Girl to go after the leader and cut that margin to only a head as they covered the half-mile in 46.25 seconds.


Despite drifting wide coming off the turn, Free Like a Girl was able to wrestle the lead away from a tiring Madame Jane inside the final furlong.  Buckley Bunny and Serape both made late challenges in the lane, but were held off by the Chasey Deville Pomier runner.  The winning margin for Free Like a girl, who stopped the clock in 1:05.87 over a track rated fast, was 1-1/4 lengths.  Buckley Bunny was up for second, with Serape a ½-length back in third.  Early leader Madame Jane faded to fourth.


The winner’s share of $36,000 increased the lifetime bankroll of Free Like a Girl to $75,713.  The victory is the second win from only six career starts.


The 2-year-old was bred in Louisiana by Kim Renee Stover and Lisa Osborne.  The bay filly is by El Deal, out of the Flashy Bull mare Flashy Prize.


Sent off as the favorite at even money, Free Like a Girl paid $4 to win, $2.60 to place and $2.40 to show.  Buckley Bunny returned $5.80 to place and $4 to show.  Serape paid backers $5.80 to show.





TTA Releases Video Honoring 2020 Texas Champions and Human Award Winners

The Texas Thoroughbred Association has released an online video honoring the 2020 Texas Champions and human award winners. Traditionally the TTA would have an in-person awards ceremony, but one will not be held this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


“While we are disappointed in not having an awards ceremony this year, we are proud of the accomplishments of Texas-breds and Texas horsemen last year, and we are pleased to honor them with this video,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “Congratulations go out to all the award winners.” 


The 2020 Texas Champion horses were previously announced, and those horses are highlighted in the video along with four human award winners that were not previously announced. The video can be viewed on the TTA’s Facebook page and at


The T.I. “Pops” Harkins Award for lifetime achievement was awarded to Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale and Joe Straus Jr.  


McIngvale has found great success in both the business world and on the racetrack. His Houston-based Gallery Furniture has sponsored numerous stakes races over the years and frequently features racing-related promotions, including one involving the 2021 Kentucky Derby that helped raise the profile of the sport to non-racing fans. He won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Runhappy and now stands the stallion and often sponsors racing events to promote him. He is also a noted philanthropist and has supported numerous charitable efforts within and beyond the world of racing. 


Straus is one of the founding fathers of modern Texas horse racing. He was instrumental in the passage of pari-mutuel wagering laws in the state and is a co-founder of Retama Park near San Antonio. Straus also serves as chairman of the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, of which he is also an inductee. Also a successful breeder and owner, Straus has worked hard to ensure a level playing field for horsemen and served on the Texas A&M Target 2000 committee and spearheaded efforts for the Texas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to serve as the lead agency to test competition racehorses. 


The Allen Bogan Memorial Award for TTA member of the year was awarded to Bill Tracy and Martha Claussen.  


Tracy is a longtime TTA member and Texas horseman who worked at JEH Stallion Station in New Mexico and Oak Tree Ranch in Bandera, Texas, and presently is farm manager at Mike Grossman’s Eureka Thoroughbred Farm in Fredericksburg, Texas. He has served on the TTA board for a combined total of nearly 20 years, and he has also served on the board of the TTA’s Paddock Foundation and as president of the Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund. In his work to support TTA and Texas racing, he has testified before the Texas Racing Commission and spent numerous hours working with legislators to highlight the importance of horse racing to our state. 


Claussen has worked to promote Texas horse racing for nearly 25 years after being hired as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park in 1997. Since then, she has distributed countless news releases and photos to better inform the media and general public about the special people and horses in our sport. While many news releases just list out basic information, Claussen always goes the extra mile to include quotes from the winning connections and other details to recognize the effort it takes to win a stakes race. She is among the most active and recognized voices on social media when it comes to Texas horse racing, and she is a familiar face nationwide from her frequent winner’s circle interviews. 


Following is the complete list of the previously announced 2020 champion horses: 


2-Year-Old Filly: Con Lima (by Commissioner) • Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Graffeo, Joseph F., Del Toro, Eric Nikolaus and Johnson, Troy • Breeder: Lisa Kuhlmann 

2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Hulen (by Tapiture) • Owner: L. William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, Madaket Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC • Breeder: Keith Asmussen 

3-Year-Old Filly: Boerne (by Fed Biz) • Owner: De Luca and Sons Stable • Breeder: Randi and Eric Moreau-Sipiere 

3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Gold Pilot (by My Golden Song) • Owner: Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch • Breeder: Ronald and Margaret Ellerbee 

Older Filly/Mare: Ima Discreet Lady (by Discreet Cat) • Owner: Duane Coker and Raymond Todd White • Breeder: Larry S. Huntsinger 

Co-Champion Older Horse: Sunlit Song (by My Golden Song) • Owner: Carolyn Barnett and Becky Harding • Breeder: Carolyn Barnett 

Texas Champion Claimer: Meme Jo (by Too Much Bling) • Owner: John L. Pierce II • Breeder: Jeanne Bruce 

Champion Broodmare: My Silver Song (by My Golden Song) 

Horse of the Year and Co-Champion Older Horse: Redatory (by Oratory) • Owner/Breeder: James Wessel