At last thrown a relatively small bone by state lawmakers two years ago, Texas racing is taking full advantage.
In September 2019 Texas lawmakers approved legislation that would commit an additional $25 million to the state’s horse racing industry, split equally between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse purses. Texas has made the most of that small investment.
While Texas is surrounded by racing states that boost purses with money from added gaming—Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico—it has found a way forward behind its equine and racing tradition along with a pair of quality tracks in major metropolitan areas built in the 1990s in Lone Star Park, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; and Sam Houston Race Park, in Houston.
2021-22 STAKES SCHEDULE worth $7.795 MILLION
AS TRACK CELEBRATES 150th ANNIVERSARY
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, September 28, 2021) – In what will be a historic, 150th anniversary racing season, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 59 stakes worth a combined $7.795 million, up more than $600,000 from last season, will be offered during the 80-day, 2021-22 Thoroughbred meet, which is set to begin Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25.
“Fair Grounds Race Track is embedded in the history of New Orleans,” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots president Doug Shipley. “We have always been very proud to be part of such a great city and this year marks the 150th anniversary of our inaugural season. We are very excited to continue our growth and support of the Thoroughbred racing industry with our purse allocation and this year’s diverse and dynamic stakes schedule. Having not only the best fans, but also the best horsemen and jockeys from all around the world provides an unforgettable experience of high caliber racing at The Fair Grounds.”
The “Louisiana Derby Day” card on March 26 will feature eight stakes worth a total of $2.525 million, including the 109th running of the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds. Run at 1 3/16ths miles for the second time last year, the Louisiana Derby, which is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers, is the fourth and final local prep on the Road to the Grade I $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve to be run at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 7. Last year’s race winner Hot Rod Charlie, runner-up Midnight Bourbon, and Mandaloun, who finished sixth as the favorite, have all factored prominently in subsequent stakes events. Mandaloun finished second in the Kentucky Derby and later won the Grade I Haskell (via DQ). Hot Rod Charlie finished third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Grade I Belmont and he recently won the Grace I Pennsylvania Derby over Midnight Bourbon, who was also the runner-up in the Grade I Preakness and the Grade I Travers.
Run at 1 1/16 miles, the 54th running of the Grade II $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies offers 100-40-20-10 en route to the Grade I $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks to be run at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 6. Last year’s winner Travel Column finished fifth in the Kentucky Oaks. Runner-up Clairiere, who recently won the Grade I Cotillion, was fourth in the Kentucky Oaks prior to consecutive placings in the Grade II Mother Goose (3rd), Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks (3rd) and Grade I Alabama (2nd). Third place finisher Souper Sensational has since won the Grade III Victory Ride and finished second in the Grade I Test and the Grade II Prioress. Obligatory followed up her fourth place run in the Fair Grounds Oaks with a win in the Grade II Eight Belles and a second in the Grade I Acorn and sixth place finisher Zaajel would later upset the Grade II Mother Goose.
“Fair Grounds has proven to be one of the premier winter racing destinations,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “Once again last year, the quality of horses who stabled or came through New Orleans have made a huge impact in premier stakes races all over the country. Adding the Gun Runner and the Untapable to our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen even more opportunity to develop their horses and compete for excellent purses.”
A pair of nine furlong, high-impact stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program — the Grade II $500,000 New Orleans Classic (purse raised by $100,000) and the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes, to be run over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. In addition, four undercard stakes are slated for the lucrative card, including the $100,000 Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes, a 5½-furlong turf sprint, the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards.
A pair of brand new 2-year-old stakes with Kentucky Derby and Oaks point implications (10-4-2-1) have been added to the Fair Grounds stakes schedule for the December 26 “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day” card. The $100,000 Gun Runner will be contested at 1 1/16ths miles and the $100,000 Untapable for fillies will be run over 1 mile 70 yards. Four supporting stakes, all for older horses, will also be offered – the $100,000 Tenacious Stakes ($25,000 purse increase) at 1 1/16ths miles, the $75,000 Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the $75,000 Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf and the $75,000 Richie Scherer Memorial at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.
On January 22, the “Road to the Derby Day presented by Hotel Monteleone” features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, which was extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles last season, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 22 program, including the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes, which was elevated to Grade III status last year and received another $25,000 purse increase for this year’s renewal, at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.
On February 19, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln” features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles two years ago, and the Grade II $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton, for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 50-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively. The Rachel Alexandra has produced the last two of the last four Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl and Serengeti Empress and 2014 victress Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 19 program — the Grade III $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes at 1 1/16 miles ($50,000 purse increase), the Grade III $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5½ furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 11. With the races run over various divisions and distances on both dirt and turf, the program features ten stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stakes is worth $100,000 with the exception of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic, which carries a $150,000 purse.
In addition to the Gun Runner and the Untapable, Fair Grounds has added four other new stakes to the schedule: the Joseph R. Peluso Memorial Stakes, named for the longtime racing official who passed away in January, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf on November 25; the Bob Wright Memorial Stakes, named for the longtime chairman of the Louisiana Racing Commission, who passed away in March, for older horses at 1 1/16ths miles on turf on November 27; the Fred P. Aime Memorial Stakes, named for the New Orleans native and longtime jockey agent who passed away in December, for older fillies and mares at 5 ½ furlongs on turf on January 29; and the Page Cortez Stakes, named for the Louisiana senator, for older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares at 5 ½ furlongs on turf.
For the second consecutive year, the purse for the opening day Thanksgiving Classic for older male sprinters has been increased $25,000 to $150,000.
The 80-day, 2021-2022 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 27. Regular post time will be 1:05 p.m. CT, but there will be an earlier noon CT first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25), Louisiana Champions Day (Dec. 11), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec. 26), Road to the Derby Day (Jan. 22) Louisiana Derby Preview Day (Feb. 19) and Louisiana Derby Day (March 26).
Richard Ray “Dickie” Barber
1946 – 2021
Dickie was born August 4, 1946, in Tylertown, MS, to the late J.C. and Audie Walker Barber, and passed away peacefully at his home in Loranger, LA September 22, 2021, at age 75. He was a member of First Pentecostal Church of Hammond.
Dickie was a thoroughbred farm manager for 40 years having managed Camelot Farm for Dr. Jerry Adkins where he managed the stallion careers of Frazier River and Finest Hour. He also managed Time Bandit and Joe’s Son Joey at Heritage Stud for Sonny Oechsner.
He later worked as a foreman for the Tangipahoa Parish Government.
Dickie is survived by his wife of 56 years, Dianne Price Barber; children, Renee Barber, and Krystal Barber; grandchildren, Tyler Ray Barber, Ragan Renee Szalajeski, and Lucas James Szalajeski; brothers, J.M. Barber (Melvia), and Dossie Barber (Linda); uncle, Ray Walker (Joyce); and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. Special thanks to friends and family for their outpouring of support.
Always popular at thoroughbred sales across North America, Louisiana breds have garnered attention at the recent Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale, held August 30th at Lone Star Park and at the current Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
At the Texas sale, Louisiana breds accounted for three of the top ten horses sold, including Hip #77 which sold for $120,000 and Hip #27 which sold for $100,000. A total of 86 Louisiana breds sold through the ring for $1,384,700 for an average of $16,101. With desirable pedigrees, 14 head sold in the $26,000 to $50,000 range, with another 26 going for between $10,000 and $25,000.
At the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, 23 Louisiana breds sold for a total of $1,743,000, for a $75,782 average.
Breeders Sales Company 2021 Yearling Sale, which is coming up Saturday, October 2, is offering a terrific opportunity to purchase Louisiana breds. With the recent action of the Louisiana legislature allowing Historical Racing Games, purses are expected to rise significantly. This is an opportunity to get some terrific young Louisiana breds to be able take advantage of the predicted upswing in purse monies.
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 www.rmibridge.org 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.
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.
THE 84-NIGHT STAND CONCLUDED ON SATURDAY NIGHT
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 www.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs information can also be found on Twitter @EVDracing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.
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.