VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs hosted its richest program of the season on Saturday evening as the 20th edition of Louisiana Premier Night took center stage. The 12-race program featured 10 stakes races and $980,000 in total purse money for Louisiana-bred horses.

The featured race on the program was the $150,000 Louisiana Premier Night Championship. The favorite, Touchuponastar did not disappoint in the race, winning easily under jockey Tim Thorton, who notched a pair of wins on the rich program.

Touchuponastar, who is owned by retired NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme’s Set Hut Stables and trained by Jeff Delhomme, was expected to set the pace in the 1 1-16-mile test for 4-year-olds and up, but an early lead was not in the cards as Brian’s Iron Mike shot to the front in the initial strides after Touchuponastar stumbled when the gates opened.

Thornton appeared to struggle with his mount early after a rough start, but he settled down and angled off the rail entering the first turn of the two-turn race. The opening quarter mile was clicked off in 23.65 seconds by Brian’s Iron Mike while Thornton guided his mount into a stalking position onto the backstretch. When the half-mile was reached in 47.47, Brian’s Iron Mike was feeling the pressure from Touchuponastar and eventually gave way to the eventual winner, who clicked off a rapid time of 1:12.89 for three quarters.

Turning for home the outcome was never in doubt, as Touchuponastar increased his lead and cruised to a final winning margin of 2-1/2 lengths over late runner Behemah Star, while recording a final time of 1:45.53. Ballinonabudjet wound up third, another three lengths behind the runner-up.

After the race, Thornton raved about Touchuponastar, whom he has ridden in all but one of his seven career starts.

“He’s a class act; does everything you ask of him,” stated the winning rider. “He stumbled out of the gate, but I was never worried.”

Touchuponastar has now won four consecutive races and five-of-seven starts overall. He banked another $90,000 for the win on Saturday and his earnings now stand at $253,100.

Bred in Louisiana by Coteau Grove Farms, Touchuponastar is a 4-year-old gelding by Star Guitar, out of the Lion Heart mare Touch Magic. He was purchased for $15,000 as yearling.

Sent off at odds of 6-5 by the fans, Touchuponastar returned $4.40 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.10 to show. Behemah Star was worth $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Ballinonabudjet paid $2.80 to show.

In other action on Louisiana Premier Night, Free Like a Girl won the $125,000 Distaff under jockey Pedro Cotto, Jr. for trainer Chasey Deville Pomier. The multiple graded stakes placed 4-year-old filly notched her 11thwin from 23 career starts in the race for owners Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl J. Deville, Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom. The $75,000 winner’s paycheck raised Free Like a Girl’s lifetime bankroll up to $829,878.

Race favorite Bron and Brow used a rail-skimming trip up jockey Rey Gutierrez to claim victory in the $100,000 Sprint. The Mark Casse trainee was well behind the leaders early in the five-furlong affair but found a seam on the inside of leader Takes Two to Tango in the stretch before drawing clear to win easily. Bron and Brow, a 4-year-old by Gormley, is owned by Gary Barber and has now won five-of-11 starts while earning $284,670.

Alpine Mist made her stakes debut a winning one in the $100,000 Starlet on Louisiana Premier Night. Under jockey Vicente Del Cid, Alpine Mist pulled the upset at odds of 11-1 for owner/breeder Melissa Cantacuzene and trainer J. Luis Garcia. Alpine Mist, a 3-year-old filly, is now a perfect three-for-three in her career and has earned $108,600.

The $100,000 Prince wasn’t without controversy this year as Allied Racing Stables’ gelding Jack Hammer made it to the wire first in the one-mile test for 3-year-olds but had to survive a jockey’s objection from C. J. McMahon, who rode runner-up Marks Promise. The objection was eventually disallowed, and the W. Bret Calhoun trainee was declared the official winner. Jack Hammer is now undefeated in his three-race career and banked $60,000 for his victory on Saturday night. His fledgling bankroll now stands at $157,755.

This year’s $100,000 Matron featured a dramatic photo finish between Snowball and Ova Charged, who hit the finished line together. After the image was examined by the placing judges, the tote board displayed a dead heat for the win.

Snowball’s effort earned her the eighth victory of her career from 47 overall starts. The 7-year-old mare has now won $470,370 for owner Tin Roof Farms, LLC and trainer Sam Breaux. Snowball was ridden to victory by jockey Vicente Del Cid.

Ova Charged, who was sent off was the heavy favorite while on a five-race winning streak, was ridden by jockey Jose Rodriguez. The Jose Camejo trainee is owned by Brittlyn Stables, Inc. Ova Charged has only suffered defeat once in her nine-race career, and that was in a graded stakes race at Belmont Park in July of 2021. Ova Charged has now earned $364,600 during her stellar career.

The biggest upset of the night came in the $60,000 Gentlemen Starter as Kevin Delahoussaye’s Freedomfi wore down pacesetter Doctor Leo in the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile event. Going off at odds of 31-1, the Glenn Delahoussaye trainee was ridden to victory by Tim Thornton. Freedomfi is now six-for-47 during his career, and he has earned $253,847.

The Mark Hibdon owned and trained D’wild Muffin took the $50,000 Bon Temps Starter under jockey Alex Birzer. The 9-year-old mare has now won six-of-16 career starts and has a bankroll of $114,704. Her local record at Delta Downs now stands at five wins and three seconds from 12 trips to the starting gate.

This year’s $60,000 LAPN Ladies Starter went to Zydeco Music under jockey Rey Gutierrez. The Shane Wilson trainee used a front-running trip to lead all the way before holding off a late challenge by A Wish for Madelyn, who made it close at the wire in the one-mile affair. Owned by Richard Anthony Tompkins, Zyedeco Music has now won 10-of-28 career starts and banked $204,440.

The final race on the card was the $50,000 Ragin Cajun Starter and it was won by Vanessa Motta’s Dixie Street under jockey Tracy Hebert for trainer Sean Alfortish. Dixie street went from last to first in the five-furlong sprint and has now won nine-of-33 career starts. He earned $30,000 for his win and now has a bankroll of $219,520.

Delta Downs has three weeks left in its 2022-23 season. The track will move to a 5:20 pm post time each Wednesday through Saturday until closing night on February 25.

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

Bron and Brow Edges Stablemate Swot Analysis in Thrilling, Meaningful Palmisano Memorial

Bron And Brow gets a head in front of Swot Analysis to win the inaugural running of the Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.


After showing flashes of talent early in his career, the newly turned 4-year-old gelding Bron and Brow appears to be ready to take his game to a new level.

Settled just off the pace from a cozy, pocket position, the son of Gormley switched to the outside in the stretch under Brian Hernandez, Jr., and then ran down his game stablemate Swot Analysis to take the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial for trainer Mark Casse.

21-1 longshot Mike J carved out an opening quarter mile in :22.15 with Swot Analysis breathing down his neck before sticking a head in front on the backstretch through a half in ::45.56. He shook free at the top of the stretch and dug in, but his stablemate Bron and Brow would not be denied, prevailing by a neck and stopping the timer in 1:10.24 for six furlongs on a fast main track.

“Great race, hate to see either horse lose,” Carroll said. “Very proud of both horses. We felt going into the race that Swot Analysis would show more speed than Bron and Brow, who ran a huge race off the layoff (allowance win on Dec. 15). We felt he would be laying just off (the pace) a little bit. Since we gelded this horse he’s really changed. Mark (trainer Casse) made a great decision to do that. We are very happy for Gary (owner Barber). He was very gutsy today. He wanted to win.”

The race is named for Gary Palmisano, Sr., the beloved, longtime Louisiana trainer and racing official who passed away on Dec. 1, 2021. With his wife Karen, son Gary, Jr. and his wife Megan, and granddaughter Addison and many other family members and friends in attendance, it was a fitting result to a special race.

“Winning this race means a lot to me,” said a teary-eyed Hernandez, Jr., who also won the inaugural running. “Ever since I came here to the Fair Grounds, Gary (Palmisano, Sr.) was always a big influence for me. Me and little Gary (Palmisano, Jr.) and our wives are all really good friends. A good family, and they’ve always been there for us. When I got to the sixteenth pole, I was definitely thinking about it. ‘Come on, we got to get there for Gary.’ It’s special to have these people in your life so it puts a little extra meaning to it.”

Carroll echoed those sentiments.

“I just want to say what an honor it is to win a race named for Gary Palmisano,” Carroll said. “When I first came to the Fair Grounds to train, Gary became a great friend. A wonderful man. To see his son Gary now, working his way up the corporate ladder for Churchill (executive director of racing), we are all very proud.”

As the top dollar 2-1 favorite, Bron and Brown returned $6.80 for the win. He increased his career standing to 10-4-3-1 with a bankroll of $224,670.

“It looks like he stepped up from last year,” Hernandez, Jr. said. “He’s shown it in the past that he can settle and make that run, but today he really had to gut it out from the eighth pole in because David’s (assistant trainer Carroll’s) other horse (Swot Analysis) was really running.

Bron and Brow Impresses in his Return

Fair Grounds Welcomes “The Real Players Inside the Backstretch”


New Orleans, La (December 17, 2022) – One of the most anticipated Louisiana-bred juveniles to emerge at the beginning of the 2021-2022 meet, Gary Barber’s Bron and Brow impressed his fans as much as he left them scratching their heads. The Mark Casse trainee would win going away one race and then lose by multiple lengths the next. The talent was never in doubt and the public kept going back to the well. He was bet to favoritism in four straight races at Fair Grounds, but getting his mind in the race and finding the right distance took some dialing in.

On Thursday, Dec 15, the sophomore son of Gormley returned from a 6-month layoff and put his talent on full display, earning a career-best 94 Brisnet Speed figurein a second-level allowance for statebreds. With Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard, Bron and Brow beat a stout field to the front and put more distance between them at each call to win by 3 lengths in the end.

“He came back from the farm doing fantastic,” assistant trainer on the grounds David Carroll said. “We gelded him and he filled out nicely coming into this. Brian (jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.) put him into the race early and (Bron and Brow) ran his race.”

After debuting at Del Mar and finishing third, Bron and Brow entered the 2021 $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile. He had a troubled trip, lost by a 1/2 length, and after the race, his connections weren’t shy about their belief that he wouldn’t be a maiden much longer. Three weeks later he won the 2021 $100,000 Louisiana Futurity, pulling off the always impressive maiden win against stakes company.

“After winning the Futurity, we tried two turns with him, but that didn’t suit him,” Carroll said. “Last year he wasn’t finishing his races for whatever reason, but he ran well up at Woodbine over the summer. We’ll look to keep him going short. He came out of Thursday’s race looking super, and we’re looking at the Palmisano Stakes for him.”

The 1st running of the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes is for Louisiana-breds going 6 furlongs and will be run on Jan 7.


Fair Grounds Welcomes The Real Players Inside the Backstretch

With video camera and microphone in hand, Rasi Harper and Maurice Davis, the team behind The Real Players Inside the Backstretch, spent four days traveling virtually every inch of Fair Grounds – backside and front. Their mission is to celebrate the “real players” of horse racing – grooms, hot walkers, trainers, exercise riders, etcetera – and to capture the oral history of the sport from the people who have dedicated their lives to it. Louisiana Champions Day served as the perfect occasion and backdrop, as so many horsemen from across the Pelican state descended upon New Orleans.

With a channel on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, the content they have created has gained widespread popularity across the sport. Hailing from Saratoga Springs, Ny, the duo began their project at their home track, but they have since visited the other NYRA tracks, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, and others.

“I chose to come here instead of the Breeders’ Cup,” Rasi Harper said. “Fair Grounds has got it. The horsemen here, the old-timers, everybody here is speaking to me about what this sport is all about.”

It began with a post on Twitter asking “Who should we visit at Fair Grounds?” Relying on clandestine run-ins and following these leads from social media, they found the legendary horsemen “Dead Eye” and John Bruno, revered trainer Neil Howard, groom Big B, soft-spoken Louisiana legends Pat Mouton andLeslie Balthazar, and many others who have dedicated their lives to racing and to Fair Grounds, whether anyone knows it or not.

“It’s all about turning the camera on others, it’s not about me,” Harper said. “The people I speak to possess a deep knowledge and we’re all about listening to what they have to say.”

The Real Players Inside the Backstretch interviews captured at Fair Grounds and elsewhere can be found on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

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