First Live Thoroughbred Race Begins at 1:45 pm (Central)


Bossier City, LA – Louisiana Downs has the distinction of being the only Thoroughbred racetrack in the Pelican State to run live racing on each of the three Triple Crown Stakes. Opening day was Saturday, May 7, with an enthusiastic crowd on hand to enjoy the first day of the season and the Kentucky Derby. Three weeks ago, a nice crowd enjoyed an afternoon of festivities and the running of the second jewel in the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes.

This Saturday horseplayers will be able to enjoy live racing and the running of the 154th Belmont Stakes. Louisiana Downs will simulcast each of the races from Belmont Park. Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will take on a field to include  Mo Donegal , We the People and Barber Road  Family fun events including Bounce Houses, Face Painting. Jockey t-shirt toss and more! Fans can enjoy live music from Jimmy Wooten and  delicacies from  several of the top Food Trucks in the Metroplex. Additionally, there will be a  $5 Free Bet promotion at the Racing Promotional kiosks beginning at 11am.

Mitch Dennison, Louisiana Downs General Manager of Racing, looks forward to making Saturday, June 11 a very enjoyable day for racing fans of all ages.

“We are committed to building attendance and making sure that everyone enjoys our live racing, dining and activities,” said Dennison. “Our Clubhouse buffet will be open with a “Cajun style spread” for those fans who prefer air-conditioned comfort with great views of the racetrack. We are delighted to see the number of families who enjoy the festivities on the trackside apron and believe that that a good time can be had by all at Louisiana Downs!”

Multiple- Stakes Winner Net a Bear Continues to Thrill Her Connections

Each of the Louisiana racetracks host  a stakes day saluting Louisiana Thoroughbreds. Last Saturday, was Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline Downs. One very familiar Louisiana-bred mare, Net a Bear did not disappoint as the favorite in the $75,000 Turf Distaff.  With Tim Thornton aboard, the 6-year-old daughter of Awesome Bet made her usual late run and drew off tin the one-mile turf stakes, winning by 1 ¼ lengths.

Bred by Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll, Net a Bear is owned by Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro and trained by Allen Landry. Since she began her career in 2018, the bay mare, versatile on turf or dirt, has won 12 of her 33 lifetime starts and following the victory at Evangeline Downs, upped her earnings to $615,970.  Her first stakes win came at Louisiana Downs when she captured the 2019 Elge Rasberry and she was a convincing winning last year in the Louisiana Cup Distaff.  Remarkably, Net a Bear has been a stakes winner at each of the four Louisiana racetracks and continues to delight her connections.

“She’s unbelievable,” stated Landry. “She can win on dirt, but really runs well on the turf. In the Turf Distaff (on June 4 at EVD), she was next to last, got into a little trouble, but got clear and just took off! She just has an incredible turn of foot.”

Landry was asked if she would make a return to Louisiana Downs on August 6 for this year’s Louisiana Cup Day.

“Absolutely!” he said.  “That’s our plan.”

Nominations for  Louisiana Cup Day will close on July 23. The stakes are as follows:

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        5 ½ furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             5 ½ furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff                      3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

Trainer and  Jockey Standings Through June 6

Shane Wilson, who was honored as 2021 Louisiana Down leading trainer, continues to top his fellow conditioners with 20 wins. Joey Foster has saddled 13 winners to move into second place.   Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussenfollows with 10 victories and Greg Tracy is now fourth with nine wins.

Jose Guerrero continues to be the leader in the rider standings with 25 wins since the meet began on May 7. Last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada is second with 19 trips to the winner’s circle, followed by Emanuel Nieves, who has won 15 races, including four winners on the June 6 card. Nieves was the track’s leading rider in 2018, but missed the majority of the 2019 season recovering from an injury. Alexander Castillo rounds out the top four with 12 wins.

Registration Open for the Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Louisiana Downs will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Wednesday August 31.The event will benefit The Winner’s Circle Church and Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk for his many programs to assist the Louisiana Downs racing community and backstretch workers.

Sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m.  The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team.  The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap. Trophies will be presented to the first, second and third-place teams.

The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 24. Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to:  Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111.  For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512 or (318) 573-5830.

Louisiana Downs Racing Dates and Post Time

The 2022 Thoroughbred meet at Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, May 7. The 84-day live racing season will run Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday through September 27. Post time on Saturday and Sunday is 1:45 pm (Central) and 3:05 pm on Monday and Tuesday. For details on simulcasting and special events, visit

About Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and is now owned by Rubico Acquisition Corporation. 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.


Bossier City, LA – There is no doubt that we have a very talented jockey colony at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs! Several former leading riders will be gunning for a repeat title, including Emanuel Nieves.


The 27-year-old Nieves was born in Puerto Rico and learned his craft at Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school near San Juan. It is a two-year program that has produced some of the top riders in North America, including Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz and his brother, Jose.


Nieves made his riding debut in 2012 at Finger Lakes in New York, but Louisiana has been his circuit for the past three years. He credits his agent, Ronald Ardoin for his success as the former jockey works very hard and has solid relationships with pretty much every trainer in the region.


He was the leading rider at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in 2018, winning 85 races, but last year was much tougher. He was injured in a spill in the second week of the meet and underwent surgery.  His recovery took over four months before he was cleared to ride.  The remainder of the year was very challenging as he had to rebuild his business.


“It was very hard to get back,” admitted Nieves. “Many of my trainers had secured other riders at Evangeline Downs. It was almost like starting over.”


However, the support from many horsemen returned and Nieves is healthy and was ready when the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season began on Saturday, June 6.  He showed his prowess in the saddle winning the final race of the card with Leadem Farm Inc’s Friendlyproduction. The 3-year-old colt by Run Production was making his debut for trainer Joseph Smith. Smith had no expectations as the $10,000 purchase had not been showing much in his morning works.


“I just told Emanuel that I wasn’t sure what we had, but to just figure it out,” said Smith.


In the early stages the Louisiana-bred was well behind the early pacesetters, but Nieves patiently guided his colt to the outside and drew off to a resounding eight-length victory. His morning line was 12-1, but he was completely overlooked in the wagering and returned $86 to those savvy handicappers that saw his potential!


Smith, who was an assistant in Texas to trainer Danny Pish until he went on his own in 2013, credits Nieves for a very patient ride on Friendlyproduction.

“Truthfully, I don’t know how many other riders would have done as well,” added Smith. “They might just have given up, but not Emanuel! I have a small stable, so a win like that means a great deal to me and my owners.”


Friendlyproduction is entered back on Monday, June 22 and Nieves will have the return call at odds of 9-2.


Nieves is grateful to all the horsemen who continue to give him opportunities and does not dwell on the misfortune of 2019. Healthy and a proud new daddy to his 8-month-old son, Ian, he is more focused this year than ever.  He strives to work hard in the mornings, win races in the afternoon and spend quality time with his wife and son.


“It’s not how you start, but how you finish,” said Nieves.


Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through June 15, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with five wins since the meet began on June 6.  The nation’s top conditioner by wins for the past six years finished second to Joey Foster here last season. Steve Asmussen is second with four victories and Foster and Joe O. Duhon are tied for third-place with three winners each.


Joel Dominguez is off to a solid start as he leads his fellow riders with eight wins so far. Last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada follows closely with six trips to the winner’s circle. Jack Gilligan also has won six races. Kevin Smith is next with five wins and Emanuel Nieves and   Jose Guerrero are tied with four victories.


Asmussen is the current leading owner with three wins to date.  End Zone Athletics Inc; Ismael Thoroughbreds LLC; Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. andTri-Star Racing, LLC have each won two starts this season.


Belmont Stakes Set for Saturday, June 20

In one of the more unusual racing seasons, the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown, will lead off the series this Saturday. Racing fans will be able to watch and wager on the 152nd Belmont Stakes as well as several other quality graded stakes from the New York racetrack. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will offer a $5.00 Free Bet Promotion for Belmont.  Fans can stop by the Promotional Kiosk in the Racing Pavilion between 11am and 5pm to pick up their voucher, which can be redeemed on Saturday, June 27.


Post Times and Racing Dates

The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, June 6. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time is 3:05 pm (Central).


About Harrah’s 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.

Extreme Cold Forces Cancellations at Several Tracks

The bitter chill blowing across much of the country this week has forced a number of tracks to cancel racing cards, headlined by The New York Racing Association’s announcement that Aqueduct will not run its scheduled Thursday card. In addition, training at both Belmont and Aqueduct and the Belmont Café simulcasting center will be closed Thursday. Charles Town, which had already canceled Wednesday’s races, is also postponing Thursday’s card, as is Laurel Park. Penn National previously announced the cancellation of its live racing from Wednesday through Saturday.

Justify 13th Triple Crown Winner After Belmont Victory

Undefeated chestnut set the pace and held off multiple challengers.


The trio of tests is designed to expose chinks in otherwise strong armor, missteps in well-thought-out game plans, holes that even those closest to the horse going through the gauntlet didn’t even know were there.

It is the whole reason the five-week exercise that is the American Triple Crown remains the most heralded achievement in a sport that counts its age in centuries—because unlike any other challenge, it separates those who almost can from the select few who refuse to be denied.

Since the start of his career 112 days ago, Justify has been jumping through hoops that horses with his experience, or lack thereof, should never be able to handle. He went from maiden winner to grade 1 victor to classic hero in just over 70 days. He went into a quagmire two weeks after shoving history aside on the first Saturday in May and emerged more tested and hardened than ever. He arrived in New York to try his hand in a race that has flattened horses whose plaques hang in the Hall of Fame, while only serving as a coronation on 12 exceptional occasions.

And so it was in the 150th edition of the final leg of the Triple Crown that the son of Scat Daddy, already deemed a prodigy, became racing’s newest living legend. At the end of a five-week odyssey logic says should have taxed his chestnut frame to detrimental levels and highlighted the foundation that was poured in at an accelerated rate, he managed to redefine what those of his ilk can achieve.

Three years after a Bob Baffert-trained freak ran right on through the most heavily guarded club in racing, the velvet rope dropped once more for another prodigy from the barn of the man who himself keeps raising his own ceiling on greatness. Justify, the horse who didn’t make his first start until Feb. 18 and, thus, should have cracked under the strain that has undone many of an all-timer before him, captured the June 9 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) by 1 3/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion over the Chad Brown-trained Gronkowski to become just the 13th horse in history to sweep the Triple Crown.

The list of barriers that have gone down since Justify first announced himself at Santa Anita Park are as notable as the colt’s unprecedented ascension into racing’s annals. When he captured the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), he became the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to take the 10-furlong test without having raced as a 2-year-old. When he turned back Eclipse Award winner Good Magic in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and then held off late-running Bravazo to prevail by half a length, he gave his Hall of Fame conditioner what was then a record-tying 14th victory in a Triple Crown race and put himself in position to join Seattle Slew (1977) as the only undefeated horses to take all three classics.

In equaling Slew’s feat with a sublime triumph Saturday that never saw him get seriously tested, Justify not only gave Baffert his record-breaking 15th Triple Crown race win, he put the white-haired savant alongside the great “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons as the only trainers to condition two Triple Crown heroes, with Baffert also having guided American Pharoah , who famously ended the 37-year drought between feats in 2015.

Justify also provided his 52-year-old legendary jockey Mike Smith—pilot of such Hall of Famers as Zenyatta, Holy Bull, and Inside Information—the one accomplishment that was missing from his résumé.

“I’ve been through it and … if he was great, he was going to do it. And that’s what it’s about,” an emotional Baffert said of Justify. “To me, I wanted to see that horse, his name up there with the greats. If they’re great, they’re going to win the Triple Crown. It takes a great horse to win the Triple Crown.

“I don’t have to really compare (Justify and American Pharoah) because if they make it on that wall (of Triple Crown winners), that’s all you need to say.”

That Baffert has been dropping Justify’s name in the same breath as American Pharoah’s since his 2 1/2-length victory over juvenile champion Good Magic in the Kentucky Derby was a shot across the bow of what would be coming down the pike heading into Belmont Park‘ssignature 1 1/2-mile test.

Where American Pharoah proved the game hadn’t passed the current-day Thoroughbred by in terms of being able to thrive during the Triple Crown grind, Justify illustrated that superior talent can get a late start and still run every obstacle into the ground. In his first career outing, Justify set testing fractions of :21.80 and :44.37 and still drew off to win by 9 1/2 lengths going seven furlongs. That display of speed and stamina proved to be just the tip of the iceberg of what he was about to become.

Following an equally handy 6 1/2-length, optional-claiming allowance win March 11, Justify was in a progress-or-bust situation where his Kentucky Derby prospects were concerned. He needed a top-two finish in the April 7 Santa Anita Derby (G1) to ensure himself a shot to make history beneath the Twin Spires. As has become his trademark, he took it to the more seasoned members of his class—besting multiple grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro by three lengths—in an effort Baffert didn’t even think was emblematic of the colt’s upside.

“When we came with this horse, when he won his second out, I was thinking, ‘I think this is a Derby horse. He could be a Triple Crown horse, man,'” Baffert said. “He just showed us that raw talent was there. He’s like a walk-on. He just came on there and he broke every curse there was. It was just meant to be.”

After chasing a hot pace in the Kentucky Derby and after Good Magic tried to put the heat on him in the Preakness, the only vulnerability anyone could come up with when forecasting a dismal Belmont scenario for Justify was if the strain of packing five races into just over 90 days hit him between the ears when he had to stretch himself for 12 furlongs over a track whose surface can sap form from even the fittest of runners.

Even before the field of 10 was drawn, that notion took a hit when the colt campaigned by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing, and Head of Plains Partners threw down a pair of impressive works at Churchill Downs—most notably a four-furlong sizzler in :46 4/5 May 29 that had a look of a horse going through a routine gallop.

When he leaped out of post 1 Saturday and began his devastating rhythm before he even reached the first turn, the gauntlet was effectively thrown down.

“I knew if I jumped out well, he’s just faster than they are,” Smith said. “He was about a neck to a head in front the first couple of jumps, so I was really happy with the way he got away from there.

“Some horses just stay on, or some just completely stay off. But he just listens to everything I say. Every time I want him to just take a breather, I just put my hands back down and he’d settle right back down. And if I wanted to squeeze him a little, he’ll jump right back again.”

Smith is savvy enough to know not to get in the way of a great horse doing his thing. Making his life even easier was the fact none of Justify’s nine rivals bothered to press his tactical speed.

With his stablemate Restoring Hope going wide around the first turn and moving into second position, and Bravazo settling in third, Justify ran the opening quarter in an honest :23.37 but was allowed to back things off a bit through a half-mile in :48.11. As Smith and his partner reached the final turn after clocking a mile in 1:38.09, the Todd Pletcher-trained Vino Rosso loomed to his outside just a half-length behind.

Where that challenger and the rest of his brethren were coming under a ride, however, Smith was still sitting in statue mode, yet to call upon all the gas in the tank.

“I just wanted to wait as long as I could before I really put the pedal to the metal,” Smith said. “He dug back in, and I felt at that point he would hold off anybody that was coming.”

“Down the backside, I figured it would be nearly impossible for (Justify) to get beat by anyone when I saw 1:13 and change (for three quarters),” Brown added. “I changed my mind a little at the quarter pole when I saw Gronkowski saved every bit of ground because … (jockey) Jose Ortiz gave me a million-dollar ride today.”

As Justify hit the top of the lane with history within his grasp, Gronkowksi—who was last in the early going, several lengths behind the field after breaking slowly from post 6—indeed tried to do what his stablemate Good Magic had done before him and inject some drama into the outcome. The son of Lonhro whipped up the inside rail in his first Stateside start and first try on dirt and came with a rally that in most years would have been good enough to make him a stunner of a classic hero.

This was no ordinary season, however. And Justify reaffirmed in the stretch he was no ordinary athlete. As the crowd provided an emphatic soundtrack befitting the achievement before them, the big red specimen dug in gamely to hit the wire in 2:28.18 over a fast track, with Gronkowski besting the Bill Mott-trained Hofburg by 1 3/4 lengths for place honors.

“It was no fault of Jose that the horse didn’t break well,” Brown said of Gronkowski. “From there, he got everything out of this horse. He did a great job for me. (Baffert) did a training job that is one of the greatest of all time. The pace might have been a little slow, but this horse (Justify) ran in three Triple Crown races, and he showed up and earned it.”

“You can’t doubt Justify now,” Mott added. “There’s no way. You’ve got to give him credit.”

Vino Rosso faded to fourth, with Tenfold rounding out the top five. Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen, and Noble Indy completed the order of finish.

With his record a spotless 6-for-6 and his place among the best of the best secure, it is a wonder what the colt bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther could do next to add to his level of acclaim. A summer campaign was mentioned in the aftermath of his trek into the history books.

The most pressing thing all involved wanted to focus on, however, was giving themselves the proper time to soak in the achievements of the horse who took on a most improbable task in the most improbable of fashions and made it all look normal.

“To have the opportunity to be here and to make history like this is an incredible feeling,” said Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm. “These horses just … you buy them or whatever, but a horse like this just kind of happens. You can’t find these horses. They find you.”

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