Opening Day Features the Simulcast of the 148th Kentucky Derby
Bossier City, LA – Louisiana Downs will kick off its 2022 Thoroughbred racing season on Saturday, May 7. Opening day will feature seven live races beginning at 3:05 pm (Central) and the simulcast of the 148th Kentucky Derby.
In addition to enjoying live racing and the entire card from Churchill Downs, fans can enjoy the day from the suite level or on trackside apron with culinary delights from the most popular food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier City. Families are welcome with Face Painting, a Bounce House and other children’s games and activities, beginning at 11:00 am.
Shane Wilson Ready to Defend His Trainer Title
Shane Wilson topped his fellow conditioners in the 2021 live Thoroughbred season with 55 victories. He will return for his third year of running a string at Louisiana Downs, and is optimistic that his success will continue.
Wilson has a long history at Louisiana Downs, which began when he was 14-years-old hot walker for the legendary Jack Van Berg. He saddled his first winner in 1998 and had the best year of career last year.The Haughton, Louisiana resident won 79 races, with a 50% in the money statistic and purses in excess of $1.4 million.
“Each horse is so different,” stated Wilson. “What I love about claiming horses is figuring out what someone else hasn’t!”
A perfect example was in February, 2021 with Emerald Forest who Wilson claimed from Joe Sharp for $15,000 at Fair Grounds. It was one of Wilson’s toughest conversations as owner Wayne T. Davis was not on board. However, Wilson was strongly convinced that the gelding by Gemologist was not suited for the turf and would fare better on the main track.
His intuition of the Louisiana-bred was rewarded with a maiden special weight victory on April 6 andwins in three of his four starts at Louisiana Downs. On July 13, he set a new seven-furlong track record of 1:21.07, drawing off by ten-lengths under jockey Jose Guerrero.
Knowing each horse well is the foundation of the Wilson blueprint. His top earner, Grade 3 winner,Mocito Rojo ($901,063), will run this year with his first official work coming soon.
Wilson gives credit to his owners for their tremendous support. In addition to Wayne T. Davis, who was the 2021 leading owner at Louisiana Downs, he has long term associations with Jim Reeves as well as David and Kevin Fontenot.
“They have all trusted me with their horses, and each care deeply for me and my family,” added Wilson, whose wife Becky is and integral part of his operation. Their two sons, Peyton and, Connor, who attend LSU, help out when they can.
Wilson also shows his loyalty to jockey Jose Guerrero, who will ride first call for the barn this meet, as well as Jack Gilligan who is named on five mounts this weekend.
“Jose has the talent, works hard and is a very strong finisher,” he explained. “Jack is returning to Louisiana Downs, and I feel he will be a good fit for our stable.”
The competition for the training title will be fierce with Joey Foster, the runner-up last year returning with a full barn. Joe Duhon, Karl Broberg, Steve Asmussen, H. B. Johnson, Ronnie Ward, Philip Dison, Jose Camejo, Patti Turner, H. B. Johnson, Patrick Mouton, Judy Beavin, Lee Thomas, Alfonso Balderas and Rylee Grudizien will also run this season.
Mitch Dennison is the newly appointed General Manager of Racing and is pleased with the support of returning horsemen as well as several new conditioners who have applied for stalls this season. Dennison and his team will host a Horsemen’s Lunch on Wednesday, May 4 at 11:00 am in the Sky Box, located on the fourth floor of the facility.
“Louisiana Downs owner Kevin Preston and I are committed to listening to the needs of our horsemen and working closely with them to ensure a successful live racing season,” said Dennison. “Our meetings have been very productive, and we look forward to an excellent opening weekend!”
Carlos Lozada Leads a Strong Jockey Colony
Carlos Lozada who won his first title here in 2019, clinched top honors once again last year. The 37-year-old native of Puerto Rico began riding in the United States in 2007 after attending Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of riders, including Irad Ortiz Jr and his brother, Jose Ortiz.
Lozada will be joined by 2020 leading rider Joel Dominguez and 2020 Louisiana Downs top-ranked jockey, Emanuel Nieves. On opening weekend, fans will also see Jack Gilligan, Pedro Cotto, Jr., Juan Vargas, Alexander Castillo, and female riders Erica Murray, Maria Baca and Brianne Cup.
New This Season at Louisiana Downs
In addition to live and simulcast racing, Louisiana Downs has on onsite casino as well as a Sports Wagering hub. The Club 74 rewards program is free to join and offers racing and casino players an array of perks and incentives. Family-friendly promotions, including the popular Exotic Animal Races, featuring Camels, Ostriches and Zebras will take place on May 30.
Louisiana Downs Racing Dates and Post Time
The 2022 Thoroughbred meet at Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, May 7. The 84-day live racing season will run Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday through September 27. Post time will be 3:05 pm (Central). For details on simulcasting and special events, visit ladowns.com.
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.