Ninety Entered in Saturday’s 25th Claiming Crown Championship at Fair Grounds, Representing 25 States and Canada

  • One of six on the card from trainer Joe Sharp, Money Supply granted favoritism in the $200,000 Jewel
  • Maker and Diodoro barns arrive in droves, enter seven each looking to continue Claiming Crown success
2/18/2023 – Two Emmys with James Graham aboard pulls away from the field to win the Grade III Fair Grounds Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.



New Orleans, La (Nov. 28, 2023) Thoroughbred racehorses from all over the country will be arriving at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this week, as 90 horses who have raced in 25 different states and Canada in 2023 have been entered in the Dec. 2 Claiming Crown. The breeding programs of 11 different states will be represented, including Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Washington, New Jersey, Arkansas, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the eight-race championship pits the nation’s top claiming-level horses against each other as they battle for their share of $1 million in purses. The Claiming Crown races are conducted under starter-allowance conditions, meaning they are restricted to horses that have competed at least once for a certain claiming level or cheaper during a designated time frame.

At seven entries apiece, trainers Mike Maker and Robertino Diodoro lead all barns. Maker’s cadre is led by the United Nations (G1) winner Therapist, one of four stablemates entered in the 12-horse $150,000 Claiming Crown Emerald at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The Steve Sexton Mile winner Frosted Grace (G3) is the highlight of Diodoro’s trio in the 1 1/8-miles $200,000 Jewel. Stabled at Fair Grounds, Joe Sharp means business with six entries, including Money Supply, the favorite of nine entered in the Jewel.

First post for Saturday’s 11-race program is scheduled for 12:45 p.m (all times Central). The Claiming Crown races begin in Race 3 with the $75,000 Ready’s Rocket Express (1:45 p.m.) and conclude with the $200,000 Jewel (Race 10, 5:15 p.m.).


In Sharp’s Care, Money Supplies’ Form Earns Jewel Favoritism

The star of Joe Sharp’s six entries on the day, Money Supply has been given top billing in Saturday’s marquee event, the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up.

Saturday’s 25th annual Claiming Crown Day will feature eight races for hard-knocking horses from across the nation. Returning to Fair Grounds for the first time since 2011, it is the second straight year that the series will be hosted by a Churchill Downs Inc. property, as the 2022 races were held at the company’s flagship track in Louisville.  First post is 12:45 p.m. and the featured Jewel will go as Race 10 of 11 at 5:15 p.m.

As the 5-2 favorite, Jordan Wycoff’s 4-year-old colt by Practical Joke was claimed from Chad Brown last August at Saratoga. In Sharp’s care, Money Supply finished second going the Jewel-distance at Saratoga, then won his next two races, both coming at Churchill Downs. Facing first-level allowance competition in his most recent victory, Money Supply finished open lengths ahead of next-out winner Arro Smash and the ever-promising 3-year-old Banishing.

Entering three of the nine entries, trainer Robertino Diodoro looms over the field with the second, third, and fourth choices in the morning line. At 3-1, Flying P Stable’s Saqeel leads the Diodoro trio. Over the 5-year-old’s 2023 campaign, he is six-for-eight in the money with three wins, most recently scoring in a first-level allowance at Churchill Downs.

Of the nine entries, only JD Thoroughbreds and Joey Keith Davis’ All West has won at the Jewel-distance of 1 1/8 miles. Trained by Chris Hartman, the 7-year-old’s last win came going 9 panels in a first-level allowance level on April 30 at Oaklawn Park earlier this year. All West is cross-entered in the 6-furlong Rapid Transit Starter.

Here is the complete field for the Claiming Crown Jewel in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. All West (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 8-1)
  2. Money Supply (Jareth Loveberry, Joe Sharp, 5-2)
  3. Saqeel (Francisco Arrieta, Robertino Diodoro, 3-1)
  4. King’s Ovation (Ricardo Santana Jr., Robertino Diodoro, 4-1)
  5. Frosted Grace (Rey Gutierrez, Robertino Diodoro, 7-2)
  6. Biloxi (Alex Castillo, Ronnie Ward, 20-1)
  7. First Glimpse (David Cohen, Jose Camejo, 20-1)
  8. Bright Spark (James Graham, George Leonard III, 30-1)
  9. Luigi’s Spirit (Corey Lanerie, Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, 15-1)


Multiple Graded Stakes Winner Therapist Leads Maker’s Four Emerald Entries

The Claiming Crown “couch” awaits eleven turf routers as multiple graded stakes winner Therapist enters the $150,000 Emerald.

Run at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Emerald will go as Race 9 of 11 with a post time of 4:45 p.m. First post Saturday is 12.45 p.m.

Before Michael Dubb’s 8-year-old son of Freud won the Pan American (G2) and the United Nations (G1), he was dropped in for a tag on three different occasions between September and December of 2022. Each time he was claimed. Dubb and trainer Mike Maker saw Therapist’s latent abilities to run longer distances and pulled the trigger on Dec. 30 for $50,000.

However traumatic it could be for other connections to see the New York-bred millionaire in a race reserved for “blue collar” Thoroughbreds, solace can be found in the fact that Therapist struggles to get 1 1/16 miles, having only two wins in 15 tries. Florent Geroux will bring the 9-5 morning line favorite out of gate 11.

Déjà vu awaits anyone who peruses the field, as Mike Maker has three other entries besides Therapist. The four-headed monster includes Tiberius Mercurius, who has fired blanks at the Emerald distance but has established form which rivals the field; the 5-year-old synthetic specialist Race Craft who has one win on grass; and the front-runner Tatanka, who will make his first start from Maker’s barn after September’s claim.

Here is the complete field for the Claiming Crown Emerald in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Firewater Jake (Marcelino Pedroza Jr. George Leonard III, 20-1)
  2. Race Craft (Ricardo Santana Jr., Mike Maker, 5-1)
  3. More Ice (Emanuel Nieves, Joey Foster, 20-1)
  4. Bizzee Channel (Jareth Loveberry, Joe Sharp, 10-1)
  5. Sonny Smack (Leandro Goncalves, Valorie Lund, 20-1)
  6. Tatanka (James Graham, Mike Maker, 10-1)
  7. Runway Magic (Jaime Torres, Joe Sharp, 20-1)
  8. Tiberius Mercurius (Rey Gutierrez, Mike Maker, 6-1)
  9. Ocelot (Corey Lanerie, Karl Broberg, 9-2)
  10. Leave It to Kitten (Luan Machado, Kathy Jarvis, 12-1)
  11. Therapist (Florent Geroux, Mike Maker, 9-5)
  12. Duke of Carthania (Mitchell Murrill, Yovani Munoz, 30-1)


Emboldened Like a Saltshaker Streaks into $100,000 Rapid Transit

After battling every step of the way when victorious going 3/4 mile at Churchill Downs in his most recent start, Like a Saltshaker looks to continue his dominance in the $100,000 Rapid Transit Starter.

The 6-furlong Rapid Transit will go as Race 8 of 11 with a post time of 4:15 p.m. First post on Saturday is 12:45 p.m.

Claimed in May by trainer Brittany Vanden Berg, the 5-year-old owned by Marisco Brothers Racing has taken a new step forward in each of his last three races. Tabbed at 9-5 in the morning line, the 9-time winner at the Rapid Transit distance will reunite with Chris Emigh and make his initial move from post 9.

With eight of the eleven entered projected to be prompting the pace, the 7-year-old Solidify could be picking up the pieces late. Owned and trained by Juan Cano, the late-kicking sprinter tried stakes company to no avail in July at Ellis Park. More recently he defeated starter-allowance ranks going 6 furlongs in October at Keeneland and followed that up with two in the money finishes at Churchill, solidifying his position as the 9-2 morning line second choice.

Here is the complete field for the Rapid Transit Starter in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Peso in My Pocket (Olaf Hernandez, Yovani Munoz, 20-1)
  2. Pure Panic (Luan Machado, Eric Foster, 6-1)
  3. All West (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 6-1)
  4. Faithful Ruler (Jareth Loveberry, James Watkins, 10-1)
  5. Startdfromdabottom (Edgar Morales, John Ennis, 8-1)
  6. Big Rowdy Dan (Ricardo Santana Jr., Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, 15-1)
  7. Desert Ruler (Rey Gutierrez, Enrique Amado, 15-1)
  8. Solidify (Yoel Navas, Juan Cano, 9-2)
  9. Like a Saltshaker (Chris Emigh, Brittany Vanden Berg, 9-5)
  10. Twirling Roses (James Graham, Eduardo Rodriguez, 20-1)
  11. Richiesonaroll (Emmanuel Giles, Jose G. Rodriguez, 10-1)


Overdrawn Field Ensures Metzen Memorial to Be a Mad Dash for Cash

Overdrawn with 14, the $150,000 Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial will see 12 sprinters make a mad dash for cash over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

Carded as Race 7 of 11, the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial is scheduled to run at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. First post for Saturday’s Claiming Crown Day is 12:45 p.m. and the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial will go to post at 3:45 p.m.

Several of the 3-year-old and up entrants made a sizable move forward when recently switching to grass, maybe none more so than the 3-1 morning line favorite Mischievous Rogue. Southern Comfort Stables’ 5-year-old ended 2022 facing claiming ranks on dirt and synthetic, but around that time he was gelded and with that equipment change, came new form. In 2023 trainer William Cowans began running Mischievous Rogue through his allowance conditions, and in all seven races he has finished in the money, including winning two turf sprints in Kentucky running the fastest speed figures of his career. Aboard for four of his five lifetime wins, Luan Machado comes to New Orleans with Mischievous Rogue.

Last June, Michael Sorrels’ Atta Party made his first start on the sod a winning one. Since then he has not lost, most recently scoring the upset at Remington Park in September to seal the deal on 2-for-2 turf sprint perfection. Up for his unveiling on the lawn, Angel Suarez will take the reins of the Arkansas-bred, aiming for his fourth score piloting the 4-year-old Martin Villafranco trainee.

Sent off at 44-1 at Keeneland when debuting on grass in his last start, Zoombie shot to the lead and never looked back. The second win of Shagbark Farm’s 4-year-old campaign, Zoombie’s turf heroics produced his fastest speed figure by double-digits. Trainer Ryan Walsh looks to keep the good thing going in the Metzen. Drawn on the rail and made 12-1 in the morning line, Zoombie will receive the services of Corey Lanerie.

Here is the complete field for the Canterbury Tom Metzen Memorial in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Zoombie (Corey Lanerie, Ryan Walsh, 12-1)
  2. Mischievous Rogue (Luan Machado, William Cowans, 3-1)
  3. Shimmer Me Timbers (Francisco Arrieta, Robertino Diodoro, 5-1)
  4. Tilted Towers (Chris Emigh, Brittany Vanden Berg, 8-1)
  5. Rebel Posse (Rey Gutierrez, Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, 15-1)
  6. Smithwick’s Spice (Florent Geroux, Douglas Nunn, 20-1)
  7. Bring Me a Check (Jareth Loveberry, Patrick Reynolds, 9-2)
  8. Atta Party (Angel Suarez, Martin Villafranco, 8-1)
  9. Mister Chairman (Ben Curtis, Gilbert Ecoffey, 30-1)
  10. Counterstrike (Edgar Morales, John Ennis, 10-1)
  11. Cotton (Ricardo Santana Jr., Joseph Saffie Jr., 8-1)
  12. Bodenheimer (Leandro Goncalves, Valorie Lund, 12-1)
  13. AE: Tough Charlie (Aubrie Green, Lee Thomas, 12-1)
  14. AE: Ship It Red (Leandro Goncalves, Valorie Lund, 20-1)


Time for Trouble Aims for Iron Horse Repeat

Sporting his Claiming Crown champion’s belt, Time for Trouble travels to New Orleans as 7-2 logical choice of thirteen entered in the $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Sterling Memorial.

The 1 1/16-mile Iron Horse will go as Race 6 of 11 with a post time of 3:15 p.m. First post is 12:45 p.m.

After Time for Trouble won the 2022 Iron Horse, trainer Jeff Hiles entered him in four marathon-distance stakes, including three graded turf contests. But it was the lone dirt stakes which produced the 6-year-old gelded son of English Channel’s best performance, finishing second to Next. Three for five at the 1 1/16 miles Iron Horse distance, Thorndale Stable and Jeff Hiles’ reigning champion will be piloted by James Graham.

Drawing to the far outside, Clay Sides’ Proverb enters fresh for trainer Joseph Saffie Jr. Ricardo Santana Jr. is named to ride and after winning four of five races since being claimed by Saffie, including three 7-furlong sprints, the break will be crucial for a horse who has done his best running on or near the lead.

Here is the complete field for the Iron Horse Kent Sterling Memorial in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Casey’s Memory (Alex Birzer, Lane Johnston, 15-1)
  2. Moment (Mitchell Murrill, Elias Lopez, 15-1)
  3. Nordic Light (Corey Lanerie, Brad Cox, 12-1)
  4. Time for Trouble (James Graham, Jeff Hiles, 7-2)
  5. Scooter’s Boy (Tyler Bacon, Gilbert Ecoffey, 30-1)
  6. Knight’s Cross (Florent Geroux, Thomas Van Berg, 8-1)
  7. Toma Toda (Brian Hernandez Jr., Steve Asmussen, 12-1)
  8. On a Spree (Rey Gutierrez, Robertino Diodoro, 9-2)
  9. Missed the Boat (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Niccolo Troiani, 20-1)
  10. Mau Mau (Jose Guerrero, Shane Wilson, 20-1)
  11. Coach Adams (Nik Juarez, Dan Ward, 6-1)
  12. Willy the Cobbler (Francisco Arrieta, Robertino Diodoro, 15-1)
  13. Proverb (Ricardo Santana Jr., Joseph Saffie Jr., 4-1)


Wrapping Up Sensational 2023 Perhaps Tonight Tabbed atop Tiara Nine

The 2023 campaign for TEC Racing’s Perhaps Tonight (Ire) is bookended by 6th-place finishes, but it’s what happened in between that earned her 3-1 morning line favoritism against eight older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Claiming Crown Tiara.

Carded for 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Tiara will go as Race 5 of 11 with a post time of 2:45 p.m. First post Saturday is 12:45 p.m.

With five wins and one second-place finish in eight races, the Sir Prancelot mare will seek to carry that form into the 1 1/16 miles Tiara when making her first start walking over from Tom Amoss’ barn. With two local works and one previous second-place try across the Stall-Wilson turf course, perhaps the 5-year-old will feel at home enough to tackle what appears to be a very evenly-matched group of turf females.

With recent wins at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs, Freddy Lewis Jr.’s Strong Odor has come into her own as a 6-year-old for trainer Mike Maker. Last out she finished sixth against allowance ranks at Keeneland. She entered the 2021 Claiming Crown Distaff Dash with similar form and finished ninth. Tabbed at 4-1 and drawing just outside the favorite in post 8, Strong Odor will be joined in the gates by her stablemate Anatolian, a surface-versatile 4-year-old by Not This Time.

Douglas Self’s 4-year-old Swoonatra returns to her home state after being claimed for $20,0000 at Gulfstream Park in October. Trainer Joey Foster will saddle the front-running Louisiana-bred for the first time and give a leg up to Emanuel “The Sensation” Nieves.

Here is the complete field for the Claiming Crown Tiara in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Dana’s Beauty (Jaime Torres, Joe Sharp, 8-1)
  2. Yankee Dollar (Jareth Loveberry, Marcus Vitali, 9-2)
  3. Anatolian (James Graham, Mike Maker, 8-1)
  4. Enchanted Nile (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 12-1)
  5. Annie’s Song (Francisco Arrieta, Shawn Davis, 8-1)
  6. Indicia (Reynier Arrieta, Heather Irion, 12-1)
  7. Perhaps Tonight (Ire) (Edgar Morales, Tom Amoss, 3-1)
  8. Strong Odor (Rey Gutierrez, Mike Maker, 4-1)
  9. Swoonatra (Emanuel Nieves, Joey Foster, 6-1)


Samarita Stands in the Way of a Second Glass Slipper for Invaluable

Having won the 2022 Glass Slipper at Churchill Downs, Invaluable will need to turn the tables on the scorching hot Samarita to defend her crown.

Run at one-mile, the Glass Slipper will go as Race 4 of 11 with a post time of 2:15 p.m. First post is 12:45 p.m.

Forgotten Man Racing and Dominic Damiano’s Invaluable will be making only her second start for trainer Joe Sharp, who claimed her for $25,000 from Mike Maker in September. Jareth Loveberry gets the call and will look to maneuver the 4-1 morning line 6-year-old from the two hole against a field of ten females going Fair Grounds’ two-turn, short-stretch dirt mile.

Finishing a dozen lengths behind Samarita last out going 7 furlongs at Keeneland, the equalizer for Invaluable could be the distance. Made the 9-5 top choice by Mike Diliberto, Samarita enters the Glass Slipper on a 6-race winning streak but the sprint-specialist is unproven going one mile.  The 4-year-old filly is owned and trained by Jose G. Rodriguez. Emmanuel Giles comes to town to ride.

Here is the complete field for the Glass Slipper in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Xylophone (Mitchell Murrill, Chris Hartman, 10-1)
  2. Invaluable (Jareth Loveberry, Joe Sharp, 4-1)
  3. Hot Dame (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Irene Alba-Hernandez, 12-1)
  4. Samarita (Emmanuel Giles, Jose G. Rodriguez, 9-5)
  5. Girl Thirsty (Alex Castillo, Ronnie Ward, 30-1)
  6. Choctaw Bingo (Florent Geroux, Mike Maker, 10-1)
  7. Hashtag Lucky (Rey Gutierrez, Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, 10-1)
  8. Northern Diamond (Edgar Morales, Thomas Van Berg, 10-1)
  9. My Good Fortune (Corey Lanerie, Chris Hartman, 8-1)
  10. Pens Street (Francisco Arrieta, Robertino Diodoro, 5-1)


Concrete Glory Looks for Revenge on Caramel Chip in Rapid Transit

Many of the twelve older males entered in the $75,000 Ready’s Rocket Express have faced each other before and have a score to settle in Saturday’s 6-furlong dirt sprint.

The Ready’s Rocket Express was carded as Race 3, the first Claiming Crown event on the 11-race program. Post time for the six-furlong dash is 1:45 p.m. with the first race scheduled at 12:45 p.m.

Big Frank Stable’s Concrete Glory has been a revelation as a 4-year-old. Including the $6,250 affair where he was claimed by trainer Joseph Saffie Jr., the gelded son of Bodemeister has five wins in six races by over 20 lengths in total. The one blemish came at the hands of his Express foe, Caramel Chip.

As a 5-year-old, Bianco Stable’s Caramel Chip has made the most of his $10,000 starter allowance, winning six of thirteen races after being blanked the year prior. Morning line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto saw this rematch coming, making these two rivals the top choices in the morning line with Concrete Glory getting the nod at 5-2 over the Jose D’Angelo trainee.

Built Wright Stables’ Elle’sbigseacret and Beverly Park, the third and fourth-place finishers from the 2022 Claiming Crown Express are entered looking for another paycheck. Last year’s poster child of the claiming ranks, Beverly Park’s history-making 15th win of 2022 came on Dec. 31, 2022 at Fair Grounds. Both are trained by Raymond Glinter Jr.

It wouldn’t be a true Louisiana Claiming Crown without an entry from trainer Shane Wilson. In 226 starts over the past five years, Wilson has won with 22% of horses making their first and second start with the barn after a claim. Dawn and Scotty Robin transferred High Cruise into Wilson’s barn over the summer, and if Wilson can return the 11-time winner to top form, then the 8-1 morning line would be a gift. Wilson will leg-up Jose Guerrero who will look to get the jump on the field from post 6.

Here is the complete field for the Ready’s Rocket Express in order of post positions (with jockey, trainer, and morning line):

  1. Optimal Courage (Deshawn Parker, Angel Miguel Silva, 8-1)
  2. Classic Bet (Jose Riquelme, Isai Gonzales, 10-1)
  3. Caramel Chip (Florent Geroux, Jose D’Angelo, 4-1)
  4. Motion to Strike (Rey Gutierrez, Robert Falcone Jr. 15-1)
  5. Concrete Glory (Ricardo Santana Jr., Joseph Saffie Jr., 5-2)
  6. High Cruise (Jose Guerrero, Shane Wilson, 8-1)
  7. Elle’sbigseacret (Jaime Torres, Raymond Glinter Jr., 15-1)
  8. Junior Bug (Francisco Arrieta, Thomas Van Berg, 9-2)
  9. Wrath (Serafin Carmona, Gilbert Ecoffey, 50-1)
  10. Breaking News (Mitchell Murrill, Hugo Rodriguez, 15-1)
  11. Beverley Park (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., 12-1)
  12. Magic Castle (Jareth Loveberry, Joe Sharp, 15-1)


Six Scholarships to be Awarded at Louisiana Champions Day

Six Scholarships to be Awarded at Louisiana Champions Day

Registration On Site at the Fair Grounds on December 9

(NEW ORLEANS, La.) – The Fair Grounds Racecourse & Slots will host Louisiana Champions Day Saturday, December 9, with a post time of 12:45 p.m., CT. Plenty of activities are planned for the date that is one of the biggest days of championship racing for Louisiana breds. Nine races will be contested including six stakes.

Louisiana Champions Day will be held on Dec. 9. With the races run in various divisions over a variety of distances on both dirt and turf, the program features nine stakes restricted to Louisiana breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stake is worth $100,000 with the exception of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter, and $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter.


The stakes are as follows:

Champions Day Starter: $50,000 Guaranteed

Champions Day Ladies Starter: $50,000 Guaranteed

Champions Day Distaff: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Juvenile: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Sprint: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Ladies Sprint: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Lassie: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Classic: $150,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

Champions Day Turf: $100,000 Guaranteed – Grade BT

In addition, the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) will award four scholarships and The Fair Grounds will award two scholarships, each valued at $1,000, to college students for a total of $6,000.

“It’s the biggest day of Louisiana bred Championship racing with some of the most exciting thoroughbred racing of the year,” said Roger Heitzmann, secretary/treasurer for the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. “These championship races often help decide our Horse of the Year standings by our members. The entries are top Louisiana bred racehorses and there is sure to be some thrilling finishes.”

Requirements for the scholarship are as follows:

  • Must be a college student enrolled full-time in an Accredited College, University or Community College for Spring 2024
  • Scholarships will be awarded by random draw.
  • Must be in good standing with the college or university.
  • Must be present to win at the Winner’s Circle when the announcement is made.
  • Must have college ID and government-issued ID.
  • Must have University ID number or Social Security number.

For Louisiana Champions Day:

  • Registration: 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at the designated booth
  • Races begin: 12:45 p.m.
  • Drawing Time: The scholarships will be awarded after the fifth race. The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association manages the best incentive program for breeding thoroughbreds in the United States. Since the organization formed, this has led to increased purses, better quality horses, and increased interest in racing and breeding horses. The thoroughbred racing and breeding industry generates over $1 billion and employs over 60,000 people in the state of Louisiana.

For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit or call (504) 947-4676.

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Be Our Guest at the Louisiana Champions Day Gala

Back by popular demand!

The LTBA is bringing back the Gala

the night before Louisiana Champions Day!

Please join us as our guest, Friday, December 8th from 7-10 pm. at the Jefferson Orleans South, as we get the Louisiana Champions Day festivities started with an evening of dining and dancing. Live music will be provided by Rick Mocklin and the Southern Voice Band.

Saturday, December 9th, you won’t want to miss the Louisiana Champions Day races at Fair Grounds. This event has become the highlight of Louisiana Bred racing as the best runners in the state compete for nearly $1 million in purse money.


Friday, December 8th – Louisiana Champions Day Gala

Saturday, December 9th – Louisiana Champions Day Races


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Faversham, Full Brother to California Chrome, Relocating To Louisiana’s Clear Creek Stud For 2024

Faversham. Ron Mesaros Photo


Folsom, Louisiana — Faversham, the only full brother to two-time Horse of the Year and 2023 Racing Hall of Fame inductee California Chrome — sire of 2021 Louisiana Horse of the Year Cilla, is relocating to Clear Creek Stud in Louisiana for the 2024 breeding season.


Faversham’s introductory fee for Louisiana is $3,000 payable when foal stands and nurses or $2,000 payable by September 1, 2024; both options offer a live foal guarantee. The multiple winner and promising young sire, now 8, is nominated to Breeders’ Cup.


By two-time leading California sire Lucky Pulpit out of two-time California Broodmare of the Year Love the Chase, a winning daughter of 12-time leading Maryland sire Not For Love, Faversham was a dual-surface winner in California and Kentucky for owners Perry and Denise Martin. A California-bred who was named after respected Thoroughbred pedigree analyst Rommy Faversham, he stood at Daehling Ranch in his home state from mid-2020 through 2023, and will be represented by his first full crop of 2-year-olds in 2024.


Faversham shares an identical pedigree with racing icon California Chrome, his older sibling who earned four Eclipse Awards and $14,752,650 from 2013 through 2017. California Chrome won the 2014 Kentucky Derby (G1), the 2016 Dubai World Cup (G1) and five additional Grade 1 races on dirt and turf before he retired to stud in Kentucky with extraordinary credentials as North America’s highest-earning runner in history and as Horse of the Year for 2014 and 2016. California Chrome stood three seasons domestically and shuttled twice to Chile before he was sold and exported to Japan in 2019.


The top performer to date from California Chrome’s three U.S.-sired foal crops is the Grade 1-placed Louisiana-bred Cilla, a Grade 2 winner out of 2020 Louisiana Broodmare of the Year Sittin At the Bar. Cilla won three stakes races and two championship titles in her home state and earned $509,000 overall.


“Faversham is a tailor-made fit for Louisiana,” said Perry Martin, who also bred and campaigned California Chrome in partnership. “I believe breeders in this state will appreciate his championship pedigree, his very reasonable stud fee and his ability to win on two different racing surfaces, a skill that should equip his Louisiana-bred foals to compete throughout the state’s racing circuit in the future.”


Faversham will be available for inspection during Clear Creek Stud’s 2024 Stallion Roster Presentation on December 16, 2023. He joins a quality line-up that is led by Star Guitar, a four-time leading sire of Louisiana-bred runners.


Free nicking reports for Faversham are available at

LTBA Office to Close Wednesday, Nov. 22 at Noon for Thanksgiving. Will Reopen Friday, Nov. 24

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) office will be closing at noon Wednesday, November 22, and will be closed all day Thursday, November 23, for Thanksgiving. The office will resume regular hours, Friday, November 24.

The LTBA wishes all members and readers a blessed Thanksgiving.

Clearly A Test Scores on Opening Day at the Fair Grounds

Clearly A Test became Clearly Now’s first listed stakes winner when she captured the Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes race on the opening day card at Fair Grounds on Friday. Clearly A Test hit the starting gate when they opened but quickly secured a mid pack position. Coming around the turn she swung to the outside and began to pick up horses down the long Fair Grounds stretch to win the five and one half furlong race by and length and a half. The Ferguson Memorial is a prep race for Louisiana Champions Day on December 9th. Clearly A Test is a true homebred for the Brittlyn Stable of Evelyn Benoit, being by the multiple Graded Stakes winner Clearly Now, who was raced in the latter part of his career for Brittlyn. Clearly A Test is out of the Brittlyn daughter of Louisiana’s all time leading racer in Star Guitar, Testing One Two. Testing One Two was a multiple stakes winner for Brittlyn, winning six stakes races. Trained by Shane Wilson, Clearly A Test had earned $63,900 in her career which began at Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. The Ferguson was Clearly A Test’s maiden win also.

Clearly Now and all of the Clear Creek Stallions will be on display at our Annual Stallion Show on December 16th. Come join us for some food, fun and see some great stallions. Clear Creek Stud can be contacted at 985-796-5563 or visit our web site at

Three Thrilling Louisiana Bred Stakes at Fair Grounds Saturday; Mangum Takes Jacob V. Morreale Mem. Stakes; El Dinero Snags Joseph R. Peluso Mem.; and Autumn’s Strong Man Holds on for Larry D. Robideaux Mem. Victory

Magnum with Corey Lanerie aboard wins the 2nd running of the Jacob V. Morreale Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Set-Hut’s Mangum Battles Back Who Took the Money in the Morreale

New Orleans, La (Nov. 18, 2023) – Three thrilling Louisiana-bred stakes rounded out opening weekend at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, but the most heroic performance came from Set-Hut’s Mangum. Winner of the $75,000 Jacob V. Morreale Memorial, the 3-year-old had his hooves full late as the 6-time stakes-winner Who Took the Money came flying from behind. The two went eyeball-to-eyeball in the final stages before Mangum put his older foe away, surging through the wire to win by a neck.

Getting the call from trainer Jeff Delhomme, veteran pilot Corey Lanerie guided Mangum the 1 mile 70 yards over the fast main track in 1:43.60. With four-wins in a row, the gelded son of Mo Tom is now 11:6-1-3 with $255,360 in the coffers. The public priced him at 4.50-1.



El Dinero Rallies to Win Joseph R. Peluso Memorial. Hodges photo

Overcoming Early Trouble, El Dinero Snags Peluso Purse with Late Rally

It would take a rail rally for the ages for Tav Enterprises’ El Dinero to win the $75,000 Joseph R. Peluso Memorial on Saturday at Fair Grounds. As the juveniles fought for early position, the son of El Deal took the worst of several bumps and struggled for footing. Soon trailing the field of nine males, in the far turn of the 5 1/2-furlong sprint the colt began to find his stride. By the 1/8th pole, jockey James Graham had El Dinero flying up the rail and with half the field still to pass, the Patrick Devereux trainee kept finding to be the first to cross the finish line. One length was the margin of defeat for Pop’s Peppysteper, who finished full of run himself. The final time of El Dinero’s phenomenal comeback clocked in at 1:05.56 and he rewarded his faithful at 2.70-1.

El Dinero’s two career wins have both been stakes and he has never finished out of the money, tallying a 5:2-1-2 record with $118,990 in earnings. Devereux reported after the race that the end goal is the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile on December 9 at Fair Grounds.



Autumns Strong Man with Angel Suarez aboard wins the 2nd running of the Larry D. Robideaux Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Autumns Strong Man Flexes at a Price to win the Robideaux

As the front runners began to tire, Autumns Strong Man began to flex the best run of his 21-race career to steal the $75,000 Larry D. Robideaux Memorial at odds of 32-1. Owner and trainer Gary Husak called upon jockey Angel Suarez to guide the gelded son of Strong Mandate, and he couldn’t have asked for a better trip. After saving ground, Suarez waited until the 1/8th pole to tip Autumns Strong Man out into the clear, and the 4-year-old responded in kind by kicking home with just enough to hold off the late-flying Langs Day by a diminishing head.

Making his third stakes attempt count, Autumns Strong Man’s bank bulged to $164,275. The new face on the Louisiana-bred stakes sprinting scene sports a 21: 4-3-2 career record.

Racing at Fair Grounds resumes on Thursday, Nov. 23. With ten races slated kicking off at noon central, the centerpiece 99th running of the $200,000 Thanksgiving Classic will go as Race 9.

Follow this link for the full results and payouts of Saturday’s three stakes:


Fair Grounds Opening Day Stakes Win for Newest Louisiana Bred Millionaire, Free Like A Girl; First Stakes Win for Vale Male; and First Clearly Now Stakes Winner, Clearly A Test

Free Like A Girl becomes the latest Louisiana Bred Millionaire with her win in the Doris Hebert Memorial Stakes. Hodges Photo

“Back in the Big Easy to Become a Millionaire,” Free Like a Girl Bags the Hebert

New Orleans, La (Nov. 17, 2023) – Opening day of the 152nd racing season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will forever be remembered as the day Free Like a Girl surpassed $1 million in career earnings. Overcoming a claustrophobic trip, the Louisiana Champion filly as both a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old spurted away from the field of 11 to win the $75,000 Doris Hebert Memorial by 3/4 length over a persistent Olivia G.  

Gerald Bruno, Jr., Chasey Pomier, and Jerry Caroom’s daughter of El Deal covered the 6 furlongs in 1:12.12 across a main track rated “good.” Even money was the reward for her backers in the win pool

Trained by Chasey Pomier, Free Like a Girl was piloted by Vicente Del Cid. Sticking her nose across the milestone threshold, the 4-year-old out the Flashy Bull mare Flashy Prize now boasts $1,006,578 in lifetime earnings and a career record of 31: 14-8-4. Free Like a Girl was bred by Kim Renee Stover & Lisa Osborne.


Vale Male is victorious in the John Valene Memorial Stakes. Hodges photo

Wire to Wire Was the Way for Vale Male in the Valene Memorial

Though never having led the pack at any opening call in her first 13 races, D & S Stables’ Vale Male did just that and more to win the $75,000 John Valene Memorial wire-to-wire on Friday. Breaking sharply outside of seven older fillies and mares, the daughter of Bodemeister out of the Kantharos dam Wildwood Kantharos dropped down to occupy the vacancy and never looked back through the 1 mile 70 yards. Beating A G’s Charlotte by 3/4 lengths,  the 4-year-old stopped the clock at 1:45.20 to pay 9.50 – 1.

Trained by James “Sweets” Hodges, Vale Male received the heads-up services of jockey James Graham, who with this victory sits nine back from career win 3,000.  Bred by J. Adcock & Hume Wornall, Vale Male now tallies a career record of 14: 5-3-2 adding up to $172,440 in lifetime earnings.


Jockey J.A. Guerrero pilots Clearly A Test to victory in the 2nd running of the Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

Home From Saratoga, Louisiana’s Own Clearly a Test Breaks Maiden in the Ferguson Stakes

Louisiana-bred through and through, Brittlyn Stables’ homebred Clearly a Test returned home from her summer racing at Saratoga to break her maiden in the $75,000 Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial. Drawn inside against a field of 14 juvenile fillies, the daughter of Clearly Now hit the gate and had to fight her way from near the back in the 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint under jockey Jose Guerrero. Advancing along the rail, it wasn’t until the far turn that she boldly maneuvered to the outside, but once she did her talented kick moved her to the front of the 2021 class. Sealing the deal in 1:06.95, Clearly a Test beat out Tommie G by 1 1/2 lengths, paying 1.60 as the post-time favorite.

Trained by Shane Wilson, the daughter of Clearly Now out of the Star Guitar dam Testing One Two is now 4:1-0-0 with $63,900 in earnings. 

Follow this link for the full results and payouts of the three opening day stakes:

Eying $1 Million, Free Like a Girl Returns to Fair Grounds for Opening Day

  • Louisiana Champions Preview Weekend features six stakes 
  • The La-bred deck is stacked in favor of a big weekend for Dallas Stewart 
  • Cross-entered Free Like A Girl’s connection must decide sprint or route
  • Brittlyn Stables’ familiar faces enter multiple stakes but will walk over from a new barn

New Orleans, La (Nov. 16, 2023) The table is set for Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ 152nd season, and there’s an extra helping of Louisiana-bred stakes to feast upon one week ahead of the 99th running of Thanksgiving Classic. Three of the nine races carded for opening day on Friday, Nov. 17, are statebred stakes for females: The Doris Hebert, The John Valene, and The Donovan L. Ferguson. With 10 races slated for Saturday, the males will take centerstage in the three feature stakes: The Joseph R. Peluso, The Jacob V. Morreale, and the Larry D. Robideaux. Run in memory of departed members of Fair Grounds racing community, each carries a $75,000 purse and serve as the perfect springboard for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec 9. First post on both Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. (all times Central).

Friday’s spotlight will be on Louisiana-bred fillies and mares

Cross-entered in the Doris Hebert Memorial 6-furlong sprint (Race 6) and the 1 mile and 70 yards John Valene Memorial (Race 8), Gerald Bruno Jr., Chasey Pomier, and Jerry Caroom’s Free Like a Girl will look to return to form on Friday. Made the morning line favorite in both, 9-5 in the Hebert and 2-1 in the Valene, the sensational filly trained by Chasey Pomier is winless since taking the Distaff and Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle Sprint in early summer, both at Evangeline Downs. Vicente Del-Cid gets the call to help reverse the three-race slide, which will be his first race aboard the 13-time winner who would surpass $1 million in earnings if she were able to be victorious in whichever stakes her connections settle on.

It would be fitting if Sabra Tuff was able to seize the day in the John Valene. Owned by Valene Farms’ Murray Valene, Sabra Tuff’s first race against fellow statebreds is in a stakes named for Murray’s father, who passed away in 2018 at the age of 100. The daughter of Cross Traffic beat her odds finishing fourth in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), and more recently finished fourth to Randomized in the Alabama (G1). The 3-year-old’s stablemate Accommodate Eva runs in Race 9, the Donovan L. Ferguson, a 5 1/2 furlong sprint for juvenile fillies, and she has followed a similarly ambitious path, entering fresh off a 10th-place finish in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Post time for Hebert is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (all times CT) and the Valene will go at 4:15 p.m. followed by the Ferguson at 4:45 p.m. Follow this link for a list of each stakes field:

On Saturday, Nov 19 the focus shifts to Louisiana-bred colts and geldings

A field of nine La-bred juvenile males will line up in the starting gates for the Joseph R. Peluso Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong sprint across the main track. In a wide-open affair of well-bred but lightly-raced juveniles, the DS Young Futurity winner, Tav Enterprises’ El Dinero, was tabbed as the morning line favorite at 7-2. The son of El Deal traveled wide when finishing third last out in the Louisiana Legacy at Delta Downs in October. Scheduled as Race 5, the Ferguson is the first leg of the 15% takeout $1 Pick 6.  Post time is 2:45 p.m.

The confidence of Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star might be on the rise as soon as he scans the paddock ahead of the Jacob V. Morreale to find Touchuponastar, his brother by another mother,  is not there. That foe has kept him out of the winner’s circle four times in the past year. In the field of nine, there are two others who have proven difficult for the 5-year-old, as Who Took the Money and Mangum both enter to take on Brittlyn Stables’ beloved son of Star Guitar. With two third-place finishes since Brittlyn Stables moved Behemah and the rest of their stars into the care of Shane Wilson, the 4-time winner will reunite with last year’s leading rider Rey Gutierrez, who triumphantly piloted Behemah in the 2022 Star Guitar Stakes.  Written at 1 mile 70 yards across the main track, a distance at which Behemah has never finished out of the money, the Morreale will go as Race 7. Post time is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.

The Larry D. Robideaux Memorial promises to be a thriller as 13 statebred, male 3-years-old and up will rip through 6 dirt furlongs trying to assert their supremacy atop the division ahead of Louisiana Champions Day. In last year’s edition the pace boiled over setting up for a late rail run from Brian’s Iron Mike, and though new faces join the cast of familiar characters, the second running of the Robideaux could unfold in a similar fashion.

Cross-entered in the Morreale, Set-Hut’s Mangum gets the lukewarm 4-1 nod by morning line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto. Having carried low weight of 111 pounds in two of his last three stakes victories, if the Jeff Delhomme trainee were to run in the Robideaux, he would travel with 122 pounds and Treylon Albert on his back.

The penultimate affair of the 10-race card, the Robideaux is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Follow this link for a list of each stakes field:

Bramlage: Racing And Training 2-Year-Olds Reduces Their Risk Of Injury – Here’s Why

by Natalie Voss


Before most horse racing jurisdictions shut down across the country and threw the economic balance of the sport into question, the industry’s biggest problem was its need to reduce racing and training fatalities. Veterinarians and scientists are still learning about the causes of catastrophic injuries and, so far, it seems there may be a number of risk factors at play in any given injury.

One theory that many people have offered over the years is that the practice of allowing horses to race at two years old is either the direct cause of early breakdowns or predisposes horses to serious injury later. Many such hypotheses equate training and racing a 2-year-old with putting an elementary school-aged child into the Olympics. For more than two decades, the sport has heard calls to put an end to 2-year-old racing. Those calls have been renewed recently, as some fans have seen the racing shutdown as a good time to reevaluate and modify its structure and improve equine welfare.


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