VINTON, LA. –  The 2021-22 Thoroughbred season at Delta Downs wrapped up on Saturday with familiar names topping the horsemen standings. Tim Thornton won his fourth straight leading rider title while Karl Broberg notched his 11th consecutive crown in the training ranks. Broberg and Matt Johansen’s End Zone Athletics, Inc. earned their seventh leading owner title and their 10th in the last 11 years.


Thornton’s season included 129 wins and mount earnings of $2,782,260. The title was Thornton’s fourth consecutive since moving his tack to Vinton in late 2017. During his first full season in 2018-19, Thornton set a new track record for mount earnings in a single season with $2,894,080.


Delta Downs’ 2021-22 leading jockey Tim Thornton and family

Thornton, a husband and father of three, won six of the track’s 26 stakes races during the meet. His biggest score came with the Allen Landy-trained Net a Bear, who took the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Day Distaff on the track’s richest race day of the year, February 5.


Following Thornton in the jockey standings were Joel Dominguez (65 wins), Joe Stokes (61), Jose Guerrero (50), Alex Birzer (46), Thomas Pompell (45), Vicente Del-Cid (42), C. J. McMahon (33), Kevin Roman (29), and Gerard Melancon (28).


Broberg continued his dominance at Delta Downs in 2021-22 by sending out 105 winners and totaling $1,928,820 in barn earnings. Broberg nearly bettered his own records for Thoroughbred conditioners this meet as well. During the 2018-19 season his horses set the current standard with 107 wins and earnings of $2,017,120.


Rounding out the list of leading trainers for the Delta Downs meeting were Allen Landry (31), Eduardo Ramirez (31), Brett Brinkman (26), Dale White, Sr. (21), Sam Breaux (20), Scott Gelner (19), Benjamin Zeno (19), Greg Tracy (19), and Lee M. Thomas (19).


End Zone Athletics, Inc. saw 78 of their runners win and earn a total of $1,322,480. The accomplishment broke their own records set just last year when End Zone won 64 races and took home $1,186,210.


Rounding out the top owners for the season were Dale White, Sr. (18), Elite Thoroughbred Racing, LLC (Michele Rodriguez) (12), Israel Flores Horses LLC (10), Keith Charles (9), Adriel Gonzalez (8), Gerald L. Averett, Jr. (7), Norman Stables, LLC (7), Rylee Grudzien (7), and Sandy Badeaux (6).


Delta Downs now looks forward to its upcoming American Quarter Horse season which gets underway on April 29 and runs through July 16. The 46-day meeting will feature live racing each Wednesday through Saturday night with first post time set for 6:15 pm Central Time.


For more information about the Delta Downs Quarter Horse season, including specific race days, go to the track’s website at Fans can also follow the track on Facebook and Twitter.


Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.


Wagering On U.S. Racing Highest Since 2009

By Bill Finley

According to figures released Wednesday by Equibase, $12,218,407,637 was wagered on horse racing in the U.S. in 2021. The figure marks the first time betting has topped $12 billion since 2009 when $12.315 billion was bet.

“Against an extraordinarily difficult backdrop, the resiliency of Thoroughbred racing was on full display in 2021, as we concluded the year with significant growth in purses and total handle of more than $12 billion, the highest since 2009,” NTRA President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Rooney said in a statement. “We thank our customers for their ongoing support, as their wagering dollars continue to fuel our industry. As we turn the page to 2022, we look forward to the beginning of a new era for U.S. Thoroughbred racing with the launch of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) and an even greater focus on equine safety and welfare and the integrity of America’s oldest sport.”

Wagering peaked in 2003 when $15.18 billion was bet.

Wagering was up 11.86% over 2020, when $10,922,936,290 was bet during a year in which the pandemic kept several tracks closed for parts of the year. A better comparison may be 2019, when $11,033,824,363 was wagered. The 2021-versus-2019 numbers show a 10.74% increase.

Bron and Brow, Free Like a Girl Win Respective Divisions of 2021 Louisiana Futurity

How High Can He Fly? Bron and Brow Shows Offensive Power Breaking His Maiden Against Stakes Company

Bron And Brow with Adam Beschizza aboard wins the 58th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Colts and Gelding Division at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.






Charco leads The Louisiana Futurity early, but proves 2nd best

New Orleans (December 31, 2021) – On the last day of his 2-year old campaign, Bron and Brow proves he has the makings of a horse on the rise. Twenty days after assistant trainer David Carroll said “He won’t be a maiden for long,” Gary Barber’s colt’s maiden win comes against stakes company in the $107,000 Louisiana Futurity over 6 furlongs on the dirt.

Second favorite 2.30-1 Charco was sent to the lead by jockey James Graham and he blitzed the opening fractions in 22.09 and 45.59 before tightly-pressing .90-1 favorite Bron and Brow drove by hitting the top of the paint in 57.77 and kept on for the score while drifting out to beat the buzzer in 1:10.85. Third favorite 2.50-1 Big Scully ran third throughout but never threatened, finishing 9 ¼ lengths back.

“He broke out a little right to be fair,” winning jockey Adam Beschizza said. “This horse is super talented and I know David [Carroll] and Mark [Casse] have believed in him since day one. We just had to overcome a little adversity there with the inquiry. He’s got a lot to learn, but he seemed to come out of that race very unexhausted so that just tells me he has a lot left in the locker there.”

Bred in Louisiana by J. Addock & Hume Wornall, after taking three shots Bron and Brow is 3-1-1-1 earning $91,820. After a third in November at Del Mar, this colt by Gormley was transferred from Peter Miller’s barn to the care of Mark Casse. Bron and Brow finished a troubled trip ½ length 2nd in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Sprint. Like his namesakes, LA Lakers power-duo Lebron James and Anthony Davis, Bron and Brow has loads of talent–unlike them, he is still proving green in his races. After breaking out from the gate and bumping his neighbor, the stewards called for an inquiry, which was not acted on. Passing Charco and finishing in the stretch, he ran erratically in the stretch.

“We got the win in the end, ” assistant trainer David Carroll said. “A little worrisome there but he’s a very talented colt. I’m very happy for Mr. Barber, a great way to end the year. This horse has got a lot of talent–very unlucky in his last race when he got the bad trip but he went very fast as well. Today was a much different race. Adam rode a great race, very aware of the horse he rode last time for Mr. Asmussen [Charco] and he kept him on his target.”

Again, similar to his namesakes: he’s won his first, but can he hang another stakes banner?

“We feel there is more to come from this horse,” Carroll said. “Mark [Casse] and Mr. Barber will talk about two turns, but there is a race early next month if they wish to take advantage of it, going a mile, so maybe that will be his next race, but that’s something they will talk about–we’ll enjoy this race for now.”

The connections believe Bron and Brow can fly higher as he turns the page to his 3-year-old campaign. – Kilroy



Girls Futurity Winner Home “Free” Down the Stretch

Free Like A Girl with Chasey Deville Ponier aboard wins the 55th running of the Louisiana Futurity – Filly Division at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Jan Brubaker


Free Like a Girl wins her fourth stake of the season in runaway fashion


Making amends for her narrow defeat as the favorite in the Louisiana Lassie on Champions Day, Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl Deville and Chasey Pomier’s (trainer) Free Like a Girl left no doubt as to who was best in the $109,600 Louisiana Futurity for the 2-year-old fillies.

Away alertly as the 1.30-1 favorite, the daughter of El Deal stalked the early pace of Serape (11.70-1) though fractions of 22.33 and 46.29. Cut loose by regular rider Pedro Cotto, Jr. at the top of the stretch, she quickly took command, extending her margin of victory to 6 ¼ lengths under the wire in a final time of 1:11.11 for six furlongs. Wholelottamo (14.20-1) outkicked Serape for the place spot. Half Page was scratched at the gate.

“We stuck with the plan to get her close to the pace,” Cotto, Jr. said. “When I got a chance, I put her in the clear, and she just did her thing today. I don’t think she’s even as good as she can get right now. That’s one thing that has impressed me about her. I think she’s just going to get better when she gets older.”

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite on Champions Day, Free Like a Girl was stuck in tight between horses while stalking from mid-pack. She fought on gamely to the wire, only to get swooped by a deep closing 93-1 longshot in Buckley Bunny late. On Friday, she left no doubt who was best in front of her many supporters.

“We are very grateful to have her,” trainer Chasey Deville Pomier said. “She’s been amazing for us. The breeders, all of the connections. We’ve had a great year with her for sure. My dad owns a part, my daughter is in on it, me, the other owner used to be dad’s assistant when I was young, we’ve known the breeders for a while, so yeah, it’s just a whole big ‘ole thing.”

The winner of the D. S. Shine Young Futurity at Evangeline and the Louisiana Jewel and the open company My Trusty Cat at Delta Downs in advance of the Lassie, Free Like a Girl has now won five times from 10 starts since debuting on May 8 at Lone Star. Bred by Kim Renee Stover & Lisa Osborne and purchased for just $5,500 as a yearling, she has now banked $281,473. She’s run a lot and accomplished quite a bit in less than eight months, but shows no signs of slowing down.

“Every day she trains great, we go day-to-day with her, as long as she’s training good, we keep going,” Pomier said. – Kristufek





Strummer wins the Lookout Stakes at Delta Downs. Coady Photography


VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs hosted the $70,000 Lookout Stakes on Friday afternoon as part of a nine-race New Year’s Eve program. The 7 1/2-furlong test for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares who had yet to win a stakes race was won by Oak Tree Stables, LLC’s Strummer under jockey Gerard Melancon.


The win by Strummer did not come easily as the 3-year-old filly had to survive a jockey’s objection after the race when rider Ashley Broussard, who was aboard Schiff’s Corner, claimed foul on the winner for interference around the first turn. After several minutes of looking at the video, the stewards determined that Strummer was clear of her rival when crossing over to the rail and the claim of foul was disallowed.


Strummer, who is conditioned by Scott Gelner, led nearly all the way in the Lookout after Schiff’s Corner opened the race with a quarter-mile time of 24.32 seconds.  Strummer then took over, covering the half-mile in 50.21 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:16.05 before finishing up with a final time of 1:35.97. Each race on Friday was contested over a fast track.


Jet Sweep, who was reserved at the back of the field early in the Lookout, rallied late to grab the place spot behind Strummer, beaten three lengths. Suzie’s Dream, a 15-1 longshot, would up third, another length behind the runner-up.

The win by Strummer was the fourth of her nine-race career. She earned $42,000 for the effort and now owns a career bankroll of $146,620.


Bred in Louisiana by Brittlyn, Inc, Strummer is by Star Guitar, out of the Langfuhr mare Good Human Bean.


Sent to the gate at odds of 3-1, Strummer paid $8 to place, $3.40 to place and $3.40 to show. Jet Sweet returned $4 to place and $3.40 to show. Suzies Dream was worth $6.60 to show.


For more information about the current season visit the track’s website at Fans can also get information about the track through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.


Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.


Reylu Gutierrez Scores Monday Stakes Hat Trick

Wins five of the 11 stakes run the past two days at Fair Grounds


New Orleans (December 27, 2021) – We could Chattalot about the Lovely Ride jockey Reylu Gutierrez has been on in 2021, but during the post-Christmas stakes extravaganza at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the 24-year-old native of Rochester, New York, conjured up a little Excess Magic in the Big Easy.

Gutierrez won with seven of his 17 mounts the past two days at Fair Grounds, five of them stakes. His winning mounts returned a total of $209.20 for a $12.30 return on investment. On Sunday he guided Gentle Soul ($35.00), Chess Chief ($22.20) and Halo Again ($30.80) to the Fair Grounds’ winner’s circle, and on Monday he followed up with victories aboard Hooperdrivesthboat ($83.80), Excess Magic ($6.60), Lovely Ride ($20.80) and Chattalot ($10.00).

“Feels great,” Gutierrez said after winning the final stakes of the day aboard Chattalot. “It’s a credit to (jockey agent) Jose Santos, Jr. No matter where he’s put me, we’ve been successful. We are calling Fair Grounds home, and we are doing very well. He does his due diligence. He does an excellent job with all of his riders. He puts me on these horses, and it’s for everybody, so I’m just thankful for Jose.”

For the year, Gutierrez has won 132 races while banking $4.8 million, both career highs, while taking on new racetracks and challenges seemingly every month. Entering Thursday’s card, he’s sits second in the Fair Grounds jockey standings with 17 wins from just 73 mounts (23%), three behind meet leader Colby Hernandez.

Two of Gutierrez’s Monday stakes scores came for trainer Bret Calhoun, whom he also credits for helping to jump start his career.

“When I ride for the Calhoun train it is really special,” Gutierrez said. “He’s one of the reasons I am here today.” – Kristufek


Excess Magic Gets the Bacon in Woodchopper

Scores first of two stakes wins on the day for trainer Bret Calhoun


In the $75,000 Woodchopper, Gutierrez placed the William T. Reed homebred Excess Magic (2.30-1 favorite) in the perfect pressing position on the outside of the pacesetting 18.10-1 longshot Rightandjust through early fractions of 24.43 and 49.76. He put that rival away off the turn for home and then held safe of close second choice Point Me By (2.50-1) to win by 1 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:38.08 for the mile on turf.

“His other horse (Who Took the Money) was the one I was most afraid of, so I guess he did me a favor by scratching him from the race,” Gutierrez said. “Both tracks (turf and dirt) are playing the way I like to ride. He (Excess Magic) was coming from a sprint to a route so I let him be a horse, get out there, and get in good position. On the backside I could feel everyone on top of us, so I could tell we were going pretty slow. He was ready to go and when I turned for home, I said ‘let’s go get some bacon’. He was hungry. I was hungry. Calhoun does a great job with his horses.”

The Woodchopper was the fourth win overall and first in a stake for Excess Magic (8-4-2-1), and it boosted his career bankroll to $164,171.

“He’s been a pretty consistent horse for us,” Calhoun said. He had a little injury last year and we had to back off. Being able to run in a sprint prepping for this (win on Nov. 26), it worked out great. The mile is ideal for him. He’s got tremendous turn of foot. Early on I was thinking we were a little (too) close (to the front), but that why I pay Reylu to ride him. He was right. The fractions were pretty slow and he had him right where he needed to be.” — Kristufek


Lovely Ride Works Out a Trip in Pago Hop

First career turf start is a stakes winning one for daughter of Candy Ride

Already a stakes winner on dirt, Allied Racing Stables Lovely Ride proved her versatility by winning her first ever start on turf, taking the $75,000 Pago Hop in what was a hard-fought battle down to the wire. It was the second stakes victory on the card for the team of trainer Bret Calhoun and jockey Reylu Gutierrez.

Away alertly from an outside post, Lovely Ride sat fourth while in the clear, two-wide down the backstretch while chasing moderate early fractions of 24.17 and 49.30 set by the longshot (25.60-1) Touch of Class. With the front-runner wandering about, she ducked inside of her mid-stretch, took the lead, and held safe of the resurgent 3.10-1 favorite Amiche and the late closing Princess Theorem (6.90-1) to score by a game ¾ of a length in a final time of 1:38.56 for one mile on turf. Only 3 ¼ lengths separated the top seven finishers.

“I had a delightful trip,” Gutierrez said. “She has enough tactical speed. I was able to break and come over (from the outside post). That was the whole game plan, we wanted to save ground. She took to it well. I have to credit Mr. (Bret) Calhoun and his brain because he has been brainstorming around with a couple of his horses and switching things up and he took the risk (of running on turf) given her pedigree. A lot of trainers don’t have the opportunity to do that, but he took his chance. His chess playing is paying off and he is making me look good and his horses look good, so credit to Mr. Calhoun.”

The winner of the Catherine Sophia on August 24 at Parx, Lovely Ride has looked dominant at times on dirt, but she’s been somewhat plagued by inconsistency.

“We thought pedigree-wise (by Candy Ride out of a Tiznow mare) she had a big chance to perform well on turf,” Calhoun explained. “Obviously this is the last 3-year old (restricted) race of the year. We were kind of out of options and so we thought we’d take a chance. We really thought she would handle the turf. It looks like she handled it well, and I look forward to her being even better on it next time. She looked like she was a little bit lost on it early on. By the time she figured out where she was going and what she was on, she finished up big and galloped out huge. It is great to have multiple options. We’re just going to have to sit back and look at the condition books and see what race suits us best.”

With the win, Lovely Ride bolstered her resume to 9-5-1-1 with earnings of $284,160. — Kristufek


Chattalot Lets His Speed Do the Talking in Sugar Bowl

With three stakes wins the past two days, trainer Steve Asmussen breaks out of his Fair Grounds “slump” in a big way

Entering Sunday’s action, trainer Steve Asmussen had zero wins to show from 21 starters to open the 2021-22 racing season at Fair Grounds. On the other side of Monday, he now has four wins with three of them coming in stakes. So much for that “slump”.

On the heels of a Sunday training triple, including stakes wins with Halo Again in the Buddy Diliberto Memorial and Epicenter in the inaugural running of the Gun Runner, Asmussen added a little icing to his holiday cake by winning Monday’s Sugar Bowl with the front-running Chattalot for Bloom Racing and David Bersen. It was the third stakes win on the card, and fifth in the last two days, for jockey Reylu Gutierrez.

Away alertly from the rail, Chattalot (4.00-1) maintained his inside position while neck in neck with the 1.60-1 favorite Higher Standard through contested fractions of 22.05 and 45.35. He put that rival away on the turn for home, and the fended off a stretch challenge from Underhill’s Tab (5.90-1) to win by a game, half-length in a final time of 1:10.03 for the six furlong on the main track. It was another 1 ¾ lengths back to Blue Kentucky in third. Higher Standards was 5 ½ lengths back in sixth.

“Today I just let him break and get his feet under him,” Gutierrez said. “I saw that no other horses were really getting away from him or going, so I just kind of took it to them. The rail has been good to me this weekend, so why not take it. When I saw (the favorite) Higher Standard just kind of pumping at the half mile pole, I was very confident.”

The winner of the first two starts of his career, the 2-year-old son of Midnight Lute was most recently seen finishing a tired fourth in the Lively Shively Stakes at Churchill Downs on November 27. With the win, he now boasts a record of 5-3-0-1 with earnings of $199,095. — Kristufek



Girl With a Dream was Filly With the Lead for a Brad Cox Letellier Exacta


Slow out of the gate, Com’ On Sweet Luv settles for second


Maybe it was more experience, maybe it was the break, maybe it was simply a matter that the most talented 2-year old filly won, but either way, the Brad Cox barn was front and center at Fair Grounds, sending out the Letellier Memorial Stakes $75,000 exacta with Girl With a Dream wiring the field and Com’On Sweet luv running second.

“She broke sharp,” jockey Florent Geroux said of the winner. “I thought she was the best in the field. We didn’t know what to expect [in terms of running style]. We know she can be forwardly placed, but last time she came from the back at Churchill. I just felt I had the best horse in the race and she broke sharp so I took it from there. If someone wanted to go faster than me I would have let them go but that’s not how the race unfolded, how everything played out.”

In a dirt sprint race where it was unclear how the front end would unfold, jockey Florent Geroux capitalized on a sharp break from his mount. By Practical Joke and owned by Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister, Girl With a Dream was last seen closing inot hot fractions in a first-level allowance on November 13 at Churchill Downs. In the Letellier she set the fractions of 22.49, 46.42 as the .70-1 favorite. 31.90-1 Runnin Happy kept within a length at the first call. The bettor’s choice of the two Steve Margolis horses, 4.50-1 Implosion, stalked and chased but never threatened for the lead. The other Margolis, 17.70-1 Mystique Saboteur, got away slow and passed tiring rivals for third. Despite coming away last from the gate, by the second call Marcelino Pedroz Jr. had guided Com’ On Sweet Luv through traffic, up within one length, then as close as the leader’s throatlatch. As they both got into their fillies, it was Girl With a Dream who proved best, synching the deal late in 1:10.84 for six furlongs.

“When [Come On’ Sweet Luv] came close to me at the eighth pole it seemed like she had plenty left,” Geroux said. “But we were able to fight her off in the last eighth of the mile.”

All three rides for Com’ On Sweet Luv have come under Marcelion Pedroza, Jr. The second place filly by Jimmy Creed broke her maiden out front last out at Fair Grounds on November 27, finishing strong after setting slow fractions.

“She got left at the gate a little bit,” Pedroza said. “She’s not the type of filly to break sharp in the first jump. By the third jump she is right up in the race. I don’t think it cost me the race. The other filly was better. We just got beat. On top of the stretch I felt like I had a shot. I grabbed a hold but he did too, so I was like let’s see who is the better filly right here. He had more horse than me, that’s it.”

The two-year old question du jour as we turn the calendar year: what’s next for the winner and will she stretch out?

“Maybe, but if so, probably still around one turn,” Brad Cox said. “I wouldn’t get super super crazy. Comparing her with other horses in our barn I am thinking she might be one to keep around one turn for the time being. She’s had five runs now at 2 so we’ll take a deep breath, regroup with her. It takes a little pressure off you going forward, now being a stakes winner.”

With the win, Girl with a Dream is 5-3-1-0 earning $170,720 in her brief and promising career. — Kilroy


Additional Quote:


“The way she ran last time we didn’t know what to expect,” Brad COx said “I actually thought the other one [Com’ On Sweet Luv] would break a little sharper. She broke the slowest of the group and then Marcelino put her in position. Opening quarter of 22 and 2 and I felt she was doing well and should have some punch down the lane. And she did a great job. Obviously, [Com’ On Sweet Luv] has black type finishing second. We’ll march forward, she still has n1x available left, a very big performance off a maiden win. She could come back in an allowance race or maybe a stakes if it makes sense; we’ll see how it goes.”



Add Dirt to The Top of the List: Versatile Audrey’s Time Keeps Getting Better


Beschizza takes the race to front runner Cheetara and outlasts her for second


Lothenbach Stables’ patient approach with Audrey’s Time paid off on Monday, as the soon to be 5-year-old mare won the $75,000 “Spanky” Broussard Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Making her 16th start over three racing campaigns, the daughter of Uncle Mo has raced 8 times with one win on turf, 1 win in her lone synth try, and in her 7th dirt start, she gets the trophy for trainer Neil Pessin and regular rider Corey Lanerie.

“She was just doing okay on the turf,” Pessin said. “I knew she had always worked well [on dirt], and we’d run her on the dirt before, but she was just maturing with every time out. I think that helped as much as anything, the time off we gave her and bringing her back slow.”

Run at 1 mile 70 yards, there was nothing slow about the front end. Ignacio Correas’ .90-1 favorite Cheetara set fast opening fractions of 23.74 and 47.07–the quickening through the second call was largely due to being aggressively chased by 7.30-1 Powder River, who vied for the lead through the turn. Cheetera has proven not to like company and Powder River’s jockey Adam Beschizza seemed to know it. The early leader faded and as Powder Room passed her on the inside, Audrey’s Time made her winning move on the outside and didn’t stop edging away to the wire.

“My horse got off a little slow,” Corey Lanerie said. “The leader was going easy by herself, but I kept my filly in the clear and she pulled up to her on the turn. From that point on I knew I had something left in the tank. I called on her and she took it from there.”

Make it $268,226 in the bank and a career record of 16-4-1-3 for Audrey’s Time as connections contemplate the next move.

“I don’t know if we belong with the ones we ran against last time [Envoutante and Bonny South in the Falls City (G2)],” Pessin said. “I don’t think we are quite there yet. We might look at Sam Houston. I don’t know what they’re going to have in the older filly division as far as veteran mares being ready to run.” — Kilroy