JOCKEY KENNY BOURQUE DIES AT 67

Funeral services have been established for longtime jockey Kenny “Chopper” Bourque, who died Dec. 29 in Taylorsville, Ky., at age 67 from liver cancer.

According to his daughter, Tiffany Bourque, a funeral and mass will be held at St. Michael Catholic Church in Louisville Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. ET. A memorial will be in the spring.

The oldest of six siblings, Bourque was born in Abbeville, La., not far from Lafayette, where many Cajun-born riders learned to ride at unsanctioned racetracks called “bush tracks.” He and his youngest brother, Curt, became successful riders.

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Jimmy Two Times Leaves Louisiana Futurity Favorite Behind in the Slop

Louisiana Futurity
Colt and Gelding Division
Fair Grounds, 12-31-20, 6 furlongs
2yo Accredited Louisiana Breds, $110,400

Jimmy Two Times with Colby Hernandez aboard win the 58th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Colts and Gelding Division over a sloppy Fair Grounds tack. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

JIMMY TWO TIMES
Half Ours–Sammy Van Ammy
Breeder: Larry Romero & Cradle Song Farm
Owner: Andrus J. Pellerin
Trainer: Keith G. Bourgeois
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

2nd
Swot Analysis
Anchor Down–Solo Buena
Breeder: Clear Creek Stud LLC
Owner: D. J. Stable LLC, Cash is King LLC and West Point Thoroughbreds
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Jockey: Declan Carroll

3rd
Creole Charlie
My Pal Charlie–Cajun Yankee
Breeder: Horseplayers Racing LLC
Owner: Horseplayers Racing LLC
Trainer: Justin Jeansonne
Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Big Time Perfect 3 for 3 After Louisiana Futurity Win

Louisiana Futurity
Filly Division
Fair Grounds, 12-31-20, 6 furlongs
2yo Accredited Louisiana Bred Fillies, $113,100

Big Time (left) holds off Spirited Beauty (right) and Winning Romance (center) to capture the 54th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Filly Division at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Jan Brubaker

BIG TIME
Astrology–Kitty’s Got Class
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Valene Farms, LLC
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.

2nd
Spirited Beauty
Star Guitar–Sunday’s Child
Breeder: Brittlyn, Inc.
Owner: Brittany Stable, Inc.
Trainer: Jose M. Camejo
Jockey: Marcelino Pedroza

3rd
Winning Romance
First Samurai–Lipstick Junky
Breeder: Allied Racing Stable, LLC
Owner: Allied Racing Stable, LLC
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: James Graham

Big Time, Indeed

Fair Grounds Press Release

 

Big Time (left) holds off Spirited Beauty (right) and Winning Romance (center) to capture the 54th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Filly Division at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Jan Brubaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undefeated Star Arrives in Time in Gals Division of LA Futurity

New Orleans (December 31, 2020) – As they say, in the end, it’s a line drive in the box score. Valene Farms LLC’s Big Time may have given her legion of backers some anxious moments off the far turn and in deep stretch, but under a relentless stretch drive, she reeled in Spirited Beauty and Winning Romance to win the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity for state-bred 2-year-old fillies by a half-length at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Sent off at .60-1, Big Time broke towards the back of the field-of-seven under Brian Hernandez, Jr. and immediately found herself over 4 lengths behind loose leader Halfglamorous over a sloppy and sealed main track that catered to speed all day. Halfglamorous set solid fractions of 22.12 and 46.66 and led the field by 2 lengths off the far turn. That’s when the complexion began to change. Hernandez was able to sift Big Time outside midstretch and take dead aim on the trio of leaders. That group now included not only a tiring Halfglamorous, but 20.80-1 Spirited Beauty, who had surged to a short lead, and a rallying 3-1 Winning Romance. The quartet raced in tandem for a few strides but late in the game it was clear Big Time’s class was going to prevail under a measured and confident ride.

Hernandez Jr. got to know Big Time in the locally run Louisiana Lassie on December 12, when she eased home a 3 ½-length winner in the mud. While matters weren’t as easy this time around, he knew what he had beneath him.

“She had to work for it today,” Hernandez said. “That’s the thing, she wants to win. She guts it out. She didn’t have the perfect conditions. She kind of got buried a little bit early on, took quite a bit of kickback and she wasn’t sure about it, but when I tipped her out turning for home, she did the rest. She just enjoys her job.”

Big Time has proven plenty precocious in her first year of racing for trainer Dallas Stewart. The daughter of Astrology beat open MSW foes by a head on debut at Churchill Downs at 38-1 in June but was a much more known commodity in the Lassie, when she settled early, came through on the inside entering the far turn, and powered clear late. Big Time is now 3-for-3, with $160,564 in earnings, with a flair for the dramatic.

“None of it’s easy,” Stewart said. “She showed up, she ran hard in the mud, she’s 3-for-3 and she knows how to win. We will see where we go from here. Hopefully bigger and better things. Brian (jockey Hernandez Jr.) did a great job and I’m very thankful to train for a man like (owner) Murray Valene.”

Jimmy Two Times, Times Two in the Slop

Fair Grounds Press Release

 

Jimmy Two Times with Colby Hernandez aboard win the 58th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Colts and Gelding Division over a sloppy Fair Grounds tack. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

 

 

 

Off-Track Lover Romps in Boys Division of the LA Futurity

New Orleans (December 31, 2020) – Reconfirming a now obvious love for a sloppy race track, Andrus J. Pellerin’s Jimmy Two Times made it 2-for-2 locally with a dominant 7 ½-length win over heavily favored Swot Analysis in Thursday’s $100,000 Louisiana Futurity for state-bred 2-year-olds at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

After heavy rains rendered the main track sloppy in the matter of minutes just prior to first pot, it produced speedy times throughout the card. Sent off as 6.50-1 third choice in the Futurity for the boys, Jimmy Two Times broke running under Colby Hernandez. He dueled with Perfect Perigee through fractions of 21.83 and 45.84, while Swot Analysis, the .70-1 favorite, chased 4-wide from the outside. The top-2 continued to click along early, taking their battle to the far turn. Jimmy Two Times finally shook his pace rival in early stretch and then braced for a challenge from Swot Analysis that never came. Jimmy Two Times kicked clear mid-stretch and widened with ease nearing the line, completing the 6 furlongs in 1:12.35. Swot Analysis held second, some 2 ½ lengths over a rallying 8.90-1 Creole Charlie in third.

Jimmy Two Times, a gelded son of Half Ours, won on debut at Evangeline Downs in June but subsequently struggled in a pair of state-bred stakes, running fifth in the D.S. Shine Young in August and seventh in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs in September. Trainer Keith Bourgeois regrouped and dropped Jimmy Two Times in class, running him in a state-bred N2L allowance here November 29. The track came up sloppy and the result was an easy 4 ½-length win. Jimmy Two Times used that victory as a springboard to his first stakes win and is now 3-for-5, with earnings of $111,240. And, needless to say, Bourgeois wasn’t complaining when the skies opened up about 45 minutes before the Futurity.

“I was hoping we’d get rain and when I looked at the forecast, I saw rain, and I was for sure very, very happy,” Bourgeois said. “He’s (Jimmy Tow Times) is getting better. In the Futurity (at Evangeline) he had a bad cold and it didn’t work out in the next two races and when we came back here, he sure ran a big race with Colby (jockey Hernandez).”

Swot Analysis was a hot favorite off a 9 ¾-length MSW win here November 27 for trainer Mark Casse but seemed to spin his wheels a bit over a track that catered to front runners. The son of Anchor Down, who was sixth on debut at Churchill Downs against open MSW foes in November, pressed and drew off in his local score, but he was further back than last time on Thursday and was put in chase mode early under Declan Carroll.

“We had a wide trip around there and he didn’t break as sharp as I’d like,” Carroll said. “He’s a lot better than that. The track is playing pretty quick and they are holding today.”

Swot Analysis Has a Read on Futurity Field

Dazzling Local Winner Tops Strong Field of State Breds

New Orleans (December 28, 2020) – A talented septet has assembled for the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity, though there’s little doubt as to the horse to beat in the 6-furlong state-bred dash for 2 year olds, as D.J. Stable LLC, Cash is King LLC, and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Swot Analysis, off an overpowering 9 ¾-length local debut win, will be tough to deny if he can deliver an encore.

Swot Analysis (post 6 at 5-2 on Mike Diliberto’s morning line, with Declan Carroll to ride), a son of Anchor Down, didn’t fire when a distant sixth in an open-company MSW debut November 1 at Churchill Downs, as he tired badly after dueling for the lead early. Trainer Mark Casse regrouped and sent him to Fair Grounds where he met fellow state breds November 27, and the result was in stark contrast to the run in Louisville, as Swot Analysis pressed the pace from the outside, took charge off the far turn, and blew clear for a dominant win. Swot Analysis, purchased for $62,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company July Teo-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale 2020, clearly took to his new surroundings at Fair Ground, which was no surprise to Casse’s local assistant Dave Carroll.

“We were expecting him to win, to be honest, based on the tough maiden he came out of, though we weren’t expecting him to win like that,” Carroll said. “We got a race into him at Churchill and it was a tough race, but he was able to build off it.”

The Futurity is a definite step up in class, with a trio of impressive local winners, as well as a stakes-placed runner, so Carroll knows Swot Analysis will need to answer the bell one more time, regardless of how impressive he looked last time.

“We’re taking everything with a grain of salt, sometimes you draw off and win like that against Louisiana breds,” Carroll said. “It’s a good spot for him and we’re hoping he runs a big race.”

Trainer Ron Faucheux will saddle a pair of local debut winners, with Flurry Racing Stables LLC’s Guice (post 5 at 4-1 with Brian Hernandez Jr.) the more highly regarded off a sharp 2-length MSW score December 12. The son of Half Ours went a long way in making back his $52,000 purchase price as a yearling when he pressed the pace in the mud and drew off late, and is perfectly drawn for his style. Picard Thoroughbreds Racing Stable LLC’s Perfect Perigee (post 2 at 6-1 with Florent Geroux) dueled and pulled clear in a December 11 $25,000 maiden-claimer and could be the controlling speed. The son of Court Vision takes a significant rise in class, though he figures to make the front after setting a :45 4/5 half-mile split last time.

Andrus J Pellerin’s Jimmy Two Times pressed the pace and drew off to an easy 4 ¼-length win here in a November 29 N2L allowance in the slop. The Half Ours gelding won on debut at Evangeline Downs in June for trainer Kith Bourgeois then was off-the-board to Chu Chu’s Legacy in a pair of state-bred stakes, but clearly rebounded in his local bow. Jimmy Two Times figures to be closest to Perfect Perigee early, though he’s a bit of a question mark on a fast main track.

Completing the Louisiana Futurity field from the rail out: Patrick Lee Racing LLC’s Adieu Le Chat (6-1 with Santo Sanjur), winless in four starts for trainer Tucker Alonzo; John F Earles’ Bunkie’s Song (post 3 at 15-1 with James Graham), no better than fifth in a trio of starts for trainer Allen Landry; and Horseplayers Racing Club LLC’s Creole Charlie (post 7 at 9-2 with Adam Beschizza), a distant third in both the Louisiana Cup Juvenile at Louisiana Downs in September and Jimmy Two Times’ allowance win for trainer Justin Jeansonne.

 

Big Time May be Ready for it After Lassie

Undefeated Filly Can Double Up Off Local Stakes Win

Ten state-bred 2-year-old fillies are scheduled to meet the starter in the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity, though if Valene Farms LLC’s Big Time has anything to do with it, the other nine will be running for second-money in the 6-furlong dash, as she looks for her second stakes win of the meet.

Big Time (post 6 at 5-2 on Mike Diliberto’s morning line with Brian Hernandez Jr. to ride) may have stunned bettors when she paid $79.60 on debut in an open MSW at Churchill Downs in June for trainer Dallas Stewart, but she was a much more known commodity when she met state breds in the December 12 Louisiana Lassie. The daughter of Astrology settled early over a muddy main track, snuck through up the inside off the far turn, then powered clear for an easy 3 ½-length win over seven rivals, a trio of which will try her against in the Futurity. Big Time led every step in her Churchill win but showed a newfound rating gear in the Lassie, which only adds to her appeal.

Allied Racing Stable LLC’s Winning Romance (post 2 at 3-1 with James Graham) looks the main danger off a gate-to-wire allowance win here November 27 for trainer Bret Calhoun. The First Samurai won on debut at Evangeline Downs in June then was left in the wake of state-bred star Mirabeau in her next two, though got untracked again in her local bow and could be the inside speed.

Spendthrift Farm LLC and William and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Rue Lala (post 5 at 6-1 with Adam Beschizza) was actually favored in the Lassie for trainer Steve Asmussen but drew the rail, struggled over the off going, and checked in a distant fourth. The daughter of Star Guitar aired on debut at Louisiana Downs in September then was a distant second to Mirabeau in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies there two weeks later, but could be a rebound candidate on a fast track, with a better post as well.

Horseplayers Racing Club LLC’s Halfglamorous (post 9 at 6-1 with Miguel Mena) was a good second on debut her in November and then built on that and wired locally December 13 for trainer Danny Pish. The daughter of Half Ours has shown speed in both starts and figures to be pressing from an advantageous outside attack post.

Completing the Louisiana Futurity field from the rail out: Brittlyn Stable Inc’s homebred Spirited Beauty (20-1 with Marcelino Pedroza), a distant seventh to Big Time in the Lassie for trainer Jose Camejo; Roger G Smith’s homebred Smittys Barracuda (post 3 at 6-1 with Florent Geroux), a distant second on debut here to dominant maiden winner Australasia November 26, and also cross-entered earlier on the card in and MSW Race 3 for trainer Ron Faucheux; Set-Hut LLC’s homebred Mrs. Judy (post 4 at 10-1 with Shaun Bridgmohan), well-beaten in eight in the Lassis for trainer Jeff Delhomme; Gulf Haven Farms’ homebred Inawic (post 7 at 15-1 with Mitchell Murrill), winless in five starts for trainer Ronnie Ward; Keith Bonura and Rodney Virgadamo’s Louleigh (post 8 at 10-1 with Miguel Mena), a distant third to Winning Romance for trainer Justin Jeansonne; and William and Carolyn Kline’s Amoreena Star (post 10 at 20-1 with Colby Hernandez), claimed for $12,500 by trainer Joe Duhon out of a local December 3 debut state-bred MCL win here.

Desormeaux Returns to Action After Rehab

Kent DesormeauxBenoit

By Dan Ross

When racing returns to Santa Anita Dec. 26, it does so in a blitzkrieg of high-octane firepower, with races like the GI Malibu S., GI La Brea S. and GI American Oaks luring headline grabbers from across the country.

As things go, race three on the card–a $16,000 claimer–is a far less exulted companion to its starrier cousins. But the race contains its own prodigal return…that of Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux after a hiatus from the saddle. Still, it’s just the sort of low-key call to arms the jockey is looking for.

“It’s not something you get control of and go tell the world about your accomplishment,” said Desormeaux, of his newly established sobriety after a tumultuous six-month period culminating from decades of struggle.

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Omnibus Legislation Will Allow Current H-2B Visa Provisions To Continue

A series of current H-2B visa program provisions are set to continue as part of omnibus legislation passed Monday by Congress.

  • H-2B visa program policies set to continue include:
  • Authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), to increase the H-2B cap for fiscal year 2021 by up to approximately 69,000 visas if it determines that the needs of seasonal businesses cannot be met with U.S. workers;
  • Continuation of the use of private wage surveys for prevailing wage determinations;
  • A prohibition against DOL enforcing the corresponding employment and three-quarters guarantee provisions of its H-2B regulations relating to total work hours; and
  • Provisions extending the maximum employment season for up to 10 months, as opposed the nine-months in current DOL regulations.

The H-2B visa guest worker program is a nonimmigrant visa program used by many industries that need temporary non-agricultural help when domestic workers are unavailable. For the horse racing industry, racehorse trainers rely heavily on the H-2B program to fill various backside positions. Demand for H-2B visas often exceeds their availability and the cap level is quickly reached, leaving employers without sufficient help.

The NTRA, through its involvement with the H-2B Workforce Coalition, supports efforts for comprehensive reform of the guest worker visa program.

 

Horseracing Integrity And Safety Act Signed Into Law

by

 

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act is now law.

The legislation passed by the Senate on Dec. 21 that will put anti-doping/medication control and safety programs under the umbrella of one independent, non-governmental Authority, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was part of a 5,500-plus page, $2.3 trillion bipartisan government funding bill that included $900 billion in coronavirus relief extending unemployment benefits and providing up to $600 in cash payments to individuals. President Donald Trump, whose Treasury Department officials helped negotiate the package, had threatened to veto the bill, in part demanding that the $600 individual benefits be increased to $2,000.

On Sunday night, Trump signed the bill into law.

 

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Carmouche One of Five Finalists Named For George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award

One of many talented Cajun jockeys, Kendrick Carmouche was born Jan. 18, 1984, in Lake Charles, La., and began riding at recognized tracks at age 16.  The son of jockey Sylvester Carmouche, Kendrick became a dominant force at Parx Racing near Philadelphia in 2008 and led the rider standings there four consecutive years through 2011.  Currently a year-round fixture in New York, Carmouche, the leading rider at the recently concluded Aqueduct Fall Meeting, is regarded as an outstanding “gate rider” and is known for his unfailingly positive attitude and consistent ability to produce with any kind of horse at any price.  In what he described as “the biggest win of my career,” Carmouche took the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct with True Timber on Dec. 5, his first-ever Grade 1 victory.  Married with two children, Carmouche is in the prime of a career that has seen him boot home more than 3,300 winners.