HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES PURSE INCREASE OF $1,500 PER RACE BEGINNING AUGUST 8

The Annual Louisiana Cup Day Will Take Place on Saturday, September19 with the Support of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA)

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that overnight purses will be increased by $1,500 for the remainder of the 2020 Thoroughbred meet. The adjustment will go into effect on Saturday, August 8 and will continue through the conclusion of the racing season on Wednesday, September 23.

“We thank our local horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19, so we are pleased to reward these hard working men and women with a purse increase of $1,500 across the board.”

Further good news is that Louisiana Cup Day will be held at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, September 19.  The annual day of racing, which traditionally takes place in August, showcases accredited Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the event was put on hold, but Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA); Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, have worked diligently to put the annual stakes day back on the calendar.  On June 16, the LTBA Board of Directors voted to earmark $100,000 for Louisiana Cup Day.

“We are grateful to LTBA for allocating the funds so we can run Louisiana Cup Day once again this year,” added Heitzmann. “This is a very important day for our breeders, horsemen, and of course, the fans at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.”

Louisiana Cup Day Featured Stakes                                   

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$40,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

 

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.

 

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES RESTRICTIONS FOR JOCKEYS DUE TO COVID-19

Policy Set for Riders Leaving to Take Mounts at Other Racetracks as well as Mandated Quarantine and Testing Upon their Return

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs announced an updated policy, effective Wednesday, July 15, regarding riders leaving and entering the racetrack.

The following restrictions have been implemented.  If a rider accepts a mount at another racetrack, he or she must quarantine for a 14-day period and submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. Jockeys who have ridden at other racetracks must self-quarantine for 14-days and present a negative COVID-19 test before gaining access to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. This policy will be in effect until further notice.

“After careful consideration, we felt it was necessary to implement these restrictions at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “The health and safety of everyone involved must be protected; we join other racetracks in North America by enacting these measures.”

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs has continued to follow the policy set by Governor John Bel Edwards and protocols regarding COVID-19 on the OpenSafely.la.gov website. Prior to the opening of the meet, the jocks room was expanded to ensure proper social distancing. Additionally, patrons are required to enter via a specially marked designated entrance and temperature checks are conducted. Face masks are required and no more than three people are permitted in the saddling paddock.

The 64-day Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred meet began on Saturday June 6. Live racing continues Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23.

 

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.

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SPECTATORS ALLOWED TO ATTEND LIVE RACING AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Opening Day for the 2020 Thoroughbred Meet is Saturday, June 6

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs gets underway on Saturday, June 6 with excellent news for racing fans. While the onsite casino was opened on May 18, restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were still in place prohibiting attendance for live racing and simulcast wagering.

 

Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana is ready to move to Phase 2 of the White House’s reopening strategy. He signed the executive order late on Thursday, June 4 with guidance being issued to individual industries and businesses via the OpenSafely.la.gov website. In Phase 2, churches, places of worship and many more businesses will be able to operate at 50 percent capacity with social distancing, masks for public-facing employees and increased sanitation. In addition, the state strongly recommends that businesses consider offering temperature checks before a person can enter and posting the symptoms of COVID-19 outside with a request that symptomatic individuals not enter.

 

The Governor was advised by public health experts that Louisiana has seen decreasing reports of COVID-like illness, decreasing new case counts especially as a percentage of tests administered, and decreasing hospitalizations in almost every area of the state. A few areas of concern still exist, but through contact tracing and frequent testing, the state is able to quickly track increases and work to prevent large outbreaks.

 

“We have been in daily communication with the Governor’s office and were hopeful that we would be able to welcome racing fans to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “Our opening day card drew very well, and we look forward to a very successful kick off to our 2020 Thoroughbred racing season.”

 

Patrons will be required to enter via a specially marked designated entrance and temperature checks will be conducted. Face masks are not required, but recommended. Only trainers, grooms and jockeys will be permitted in the saddling paddock and no more than six individuals will be allowed in the winner’s circle following their race, based on social distancing recommendations.  Further information can be found on the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs website.

 

The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time will be 3:05 pm (Central).

 

 

Pick 6 Jackpot Added to the Wagering Options

Racing fans will have plenty of exotic wagering options for the upcoming meet. Rolling daily doubles and Pick 3 wagers will begin on the first race. A Pick 4 wager will be offered on the last four races of the program as well as a Pick 5, covering the final five races. Also, a new Pick 6 Jackpot, with a minimum bet of .10 cents, beginning on the second race of the card, has been added. The final race of the day will have a Super High Five wager providing there is a seven horse field (or higher) entered.

 

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.

 

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THE 2020 THOROUGHBRED RACING SEASON AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS GETS UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, JUNE 6

Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Racing with 3:05 pm (CT) Post Time

 

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

 

The meet will be run spectator-free, until further notice, in accordance with sanctions by Governor John Bel EdwardsHarrah’s Louisiana Downs remains in constant communication with the Louisiana Department of Health on procedures and protocols to ensure the safety of horses, horsemen and essential employees.

 

Joey Foster Hopes to Defend His Trainer Title

Benton, Louisiana horseman Joey Foster set up shop in Louisiana back in 1992 and continues to be one of the top trainers at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. The very popular conditioner won his first title here in 2016, repeating the feat in 2017 and finishing second to Karl Broberg in 2018. He won 54 races last year here, adding another title.

He and his brigade of exercise riders have been prominent in morning works and Foster is hoping to get off to a good start when the Thoroughbred meet begins on Saturday.

“I might need some practice,” said Foster, who saddled his last racehorse in March at Fair Grounds. “We are all in the same boat; just need to take it one day at a time.”

Last year’s winners at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs included a mix of claiming and allowance horses, but his stakes stock is on the rise, topped by Our Lost Love, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Half Ours. Bred and owned by Tri-Star Racing LLC, she broke her maiden impressively here on September 14 before stepping up in class. She earned her first black-type victory on December 29 at Fair Grounds in the $100,000 Louisiana Futurity and won the $70,000 Take Charge Brandi at Delta Downs two months later.

“She’s doing well; we’re just looking for a race for her,” said Foster. “We’ve got some new stock for this meet, and great support from our owners.”

Heading into Saturday’s opening day card, Foster has five horses entered and looks poised to clinch his 800thcareer win.

Karl Broberg, finished second to Foster last year with 45 wins. Former jockey Beverly Burress finished the meet with 28 victories and Steve Asmussen and Jorge Lara tied for fourth with 20 winners each. Each will be back in action, joined by H. B. Johnson, James “Sweet” Hodges, Patti Turner, Ronnie Ward, Kathleen Mordenti and Steven Duke.

The backside is bustling with several new horsemen who have been granted stalls for the 2020 live racing season.Scott Gelner Brett Brinkman, Eduardo Rodriguez, Angel Cordero, Sarah Delany, F. Dewaine Loy, Becky LeBlanc, Eric Heitzmann and Shane Wilson are among the conditioners who will be stabled here.

“We were pleased with the interest of new outfits requesting stalls this meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “It has been a very challenging time in our industry, and we cannot say enough about the resilience of our Louisiana horsemen. We appreciate their loyalty and look forward to presenting a very competitive racing program.”

 

Competitive Jockey Colony Ready for Action

There will be a battle from start to finish for leading rider honors as several solid veterans will return to the jockey colony this season.

Carlos Lozada was dominant throughout the 2019 meet as he earned his first leading rider title. The 35-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished the meet with a record of 428 starts, 95 wins, 70 seconds and 52 thirds and purses of $1,076,410. He 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, Jose Ortiz as well as 2018 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves.

The soft-spoken rider gave credit to his agent, Ronald Ardoin, Louisiana Downs Hall of Fame jockey, who won 5,226 races in his illustrious career.

“There is no doubt that Ronald made a big difference for me,” said Lozada. “He works hard in the mornings and got me a lot of mounts. He was very helpful when I asked for advice.”

Previous title holders Emanuel Nieves and Gerardo Mora will ride as well as up and coming jockey Joel Dominguez, who finished second last year with 91 trips to the winner’s circle.

Jockey Aubrie Green finished third in the standings last year with 54 victories. Born in Idaho, the mother of three is improving in just her fifth year riding professionally. Green capped off 2019 campaign with a victory aboard Pound For Pound in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds. It was her biggest win to date, and she received plenty of well-deserved recognition for her skills in the saddle.

“Winning that race was surreal and a huge accomplishment for me,” she admitted.

However, her 2020 did not begin on a high note. She suffered an ankle injury that required extensive tendon surgery and just began working horses the second week of May at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“I’m really excited to be back,” stated Green. “I have some great trainers who continue to support me and look forward to riding for Shane Wilson and Eric Heitzmann, who will run here this meet. It looks like I will also pick up a few for Joey Foster; he is a great trainer; hilarious too!”

Green is hoping that restrictions will be lifted in the near future so that fans can enjoy live racing.

“It’s important that we continue to grow our industry,” she added. “I grew up in a small town and never got a chance to go to the races. So, when I see a kid watching a race, I always try to talk to them and give them a set of goggles.”

 

 

Wagering Format

Racing fans will have plenty of exotic wagering options for the upcoming meet. Rolling daily doubles and Pick 3 wagers will begin on the first race. A Pick 4 wager will be offered on the last four races of the program as well as a Pick 5, covering the final five races. Also, a new Pick 6 Jackpot, with a minimum bet of .10 cents, beginning on the second race of the card, has been added. The final race of the day will have a Super High Five wager providing there is a seven horse field (or higher) entered.

 

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.

 

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Commission Approves Louisiana Downs to Open June 6

Money from the canceled Super Derby (G3) will be directed toward overnight purses.

 

Louisiana Downs received authorization by the Louisiana State Racing Commission during a May 5 teleconference to begin its Thoroughbred meet June 6 and continue until Sept. 23. The commission also approved the cancellation of the track’s lone graded race, the Super Derby (G3), which carried a $300,000 purse last year.

“We decided to take care of the local horsemen and put all that money toward overnight purses,” David Heitzmann, director of racing at Louisiana Downs, said in an interview after the commission meeting.

Purses in Louisiana are heavily subsidized by revenue from racetrack casinos, which have been suspended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Determinations are still being made regarding the track’s purse structure, according to Heitzmann.

Read BloodHorse Article

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS FORCED TO CANCEL THE REMAINING TWO DAYS OF THE 2020 QUARTER HORSE MEET

Announcement Forthcoming on the Status of the $283,210 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3)

Bossier City, LA – In response to growing concerns and state mandates regarding COVID-19, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs announced that the remaining two days of the 2020 Quarter Horse meet have been canceled. The live racing season was supposed to conclude on Wednesday, March 18 with the running of the $283,210 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3).  An announcement on the status of the championship will be forthcoming.

 

The 44-day season closed following Monday’s card and included the presentation of the End of the Meet awards to the leading owner, trainer and jockey.

 

J & J Stables LLC was honored as leading owner of the meet.  It’s been a very good season for co-owners Juan J. Bazaldua and Jesus E. Del Bosque, who banded together in 2017 with a mutual interest in breeding and racing. Both are successful businessmen; Bazaldua founded Pollo Regio, which began as a food truck concept in Mexico and now has multiple locations throughout Texas. Del Bosque’s field is roofing; he owns Axl Metal Roofing, LLC. In 2017, they incorporated J & J Stables LLC. Their farm is located in Keithville, Louisiana, in Caddo Parish, south of Shreveport. They won nine races this meet, including three stakes victories by Fantasicazoom Jr, and a victory in the Swift Stakes by Ss Classyjess.  Four owners: Geral Dewitt, Jose Ortiz, Juan Antonio Carillo, Sr and Barbara Hieden Seber tied for second in the standings with seven wins each.

 

The partners have entrusted the training of their horses to Jose Carrizales. He is just 23-years-old but had a solid meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, earning the first leading trainer title of his career. He concluded the meet with 23 wins from 102 starts and purses of $172,862. Carrizales was the conditioner of J & J Stables LLC’s One Sweet Filly, who qualified for the $315,166 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2), finishing fifth in the final on March 14.

 

“These owners are good men and have been very supportive,” said Carrizales. “They have a farm and breed most of their horses. I get to work with them from the start, which I enjoy. Ricardo has done an excellent job for our barn; he is very experienced, and we work well together.”

 

Vann Haywood saddled 14 winners to finish second in the trainer standings and Lanny Keith, who won the title in 2019, was third with 13 wins.

 

Ricardo Hernandez, Jr. won the leading rider title with 33 wins, 29 seconds and 20 third-place finishes. His mounts earned $301,234 and he finished in the money at a 44% clip this season. He rode first call for Carrizales throughout the meet and guided Fantasticazoom Jr. for J & J Stables LLC to five victories this meet, included three stakes wins The veteran jockey finished fourth in the jockey standings here last year. Finishing second behind Hernandez was David Alvarez with 29 wins, following by John Hamilton, who made 26 trips to the winner’s circle.

 

“We thank our horsemen and fans for their support this season and wish that we had been able to fully complete our 2020 Quarter Horse meet,” said David Heitzmann, director of racing. “This was an unprecedented event in our world and very difficult time for the entire racing industry. We wish the best to all of our horsemen as the year progresses.”

 

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.

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Sokol Named Louisiana Downs Racing Operations Manager

Jennifer Sokol most recently served as racing office manager.

 

David Heitzmann, director of racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, announced that Jennifer Sokol has accepted the position of racing operations manager at the Shreveport racetrack. Sokol has been employed at Louisiana Downs since 2007, joining the racing office in 2012. She most recently served as racing office manager.

Her new duties will include supervision of the racing staff as well as overseeing handicapping seminars, racing promotions and other duties associated with the live Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred race meets.

“Jen Sokol has been a hard-working team member at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and has served the racing office in many capacities,” said Heitzmann. “She has done a tremendous job for us and is very deserving of this promotion.”

Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk adds his appreciation for the time and energy that Sokol has devoted to assisting horsemen and the backside employees.

“Jen is always eager to get involved and has been so helpful in assisting our chaplaincy in fundraising efforts,” he said. “She goes above and beyond as has done so much, especially in our annual Golf Tournament and Backstretch Benevolence Fund Banquet.”

Sokol’s duties are effective February 14 and the native of Greenwood, Louisiana looks forward to her new role.

“Working with the horsemen and entire team at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs has been a very rewarding experience,” said Sokol. “Most people have no idea how much coordination is involved each day in organizing race cards and the charitable work we do, but I love it and am thrilled to continue my career with this great organization.”

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HARRAH’S LOUISANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES ITS 2020 QUARTER HORSE STAKES SCHEDULE

The Mardi Gras Futurity, the First Official Futurity of the Year, Set for March 14

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Quarter Horse racing season will get underway at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, January 4. The 46-day meet will include 12 stakes highlighted by the first official futurity of the year, the $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2)on Saturday, March 14.

 

Last year’s $310,466 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) champion Egoizzta Partnership’s Hh Gailforce will compete in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile (RG2) on Saturday, December 14 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.  Mardi Gras runner-up Tf Shez Jess Dashin, owned by Down South Racing LLC,  went on to win the $339,931 Lassie Futurity at Delta Downs.

 

In addition to the Mardi Gras Futurity for Louisiana-breds, the $75,000-added Harrah’s Futurity (G3) will be contested on March 18 and is an open 2-year-old championship. Cruz Nava’s Trump My Record was victorious this year and continued his exceptional campaign with wins in both the Sam Houston Futurity (G2) and Texas Classic Futurity (G1).  He will be one of the top contenders for AQHA Champion 2-year-old honors when their winners are announced in January.

 

Live racing will be conducted Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with a 1:00 p.m. (Central) post time through March 18.

 

The barn area will open on Saturday, December 19 with training hours set from 6:30 am – 10:30 am. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will also offer schooling races for 2-year-olds paid into the Mardi Gras Futurity as well as the Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity.

 

“We have received strong interest from returning horsemen including Lanny Keith, Vann Haywood, Orlando Orozco, Kenneth Roberts, Sr. and Martin Trejo,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “Several new conditioners, including Heath Taylor, Robert Touchet, and Shane Mason have been assigned stalls this year.”

 

 

 

Louisiana Downs 2020 Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule

 

January 4         $15,000 Harrah’s Dash                       4 YO & Up                 350 yards

January 11       $15,000 Marathon Stakes                   4 YO & Up                   870 yards

January 18       $25,000 Billy Montgomery                3 YO LA-Bred             350 yards

January 25       $15,000 Swift Stakes                         4 YO & Up                    350 yards

$25,000 Party Girl Stakes         4 YO & Up F&M  LA-bred   330 yards

 

February 1       $25,000 Magnolia Stakes                   3 YO & Up LA-Bred   870 yards

February 8       $15,000-added LAD Maiden Stake       3,4 & 5 YO LA-Bred   350 yards

February 15     $25,000 Mr Jess Perry (RG3)             4 YO & Up LA-Bred   330 yards

 

March 14         $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity    2 YO LA-Bred             300 yards

$50,000-added Mardi Gras Derby         3 YO   LA-Bred           400 yards

$15,000 Leverne Perry Memorial       3 YO & Up                  400 yards

 

March 18         $75,000-added Harrah’s Futurity          2 YO                       300 yards 

2020 Quarter Horse Trial Dates

 

January 18                               Louisiana Downs Maiden Stake

February 22                             Mardi Gras Futurity

February 23                             Mardi Gras Derby

March 1                                   Harrah’s Futurity

 

 

2020 Schooling Race Dates

 

January 31                               Mardi Gras Futurity

February 7                               Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity

 

 

 

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.

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES POLICY ON HORSES SHIPPING FROM OKLAHOMA

Bossier City, LA – Due to the outbreak of EHV-1 in Oklahoma City, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will not allow horses from Remington Park or Will Rogers Downs to access its grounds. This decision was made on Friday, November 21 and will be in effect until further notice.

As widely reported,  cases of  Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1)  were confirmed at Remington Park beginning on November 12.  Currently, there is no live racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, but the Bossier City racetrack serves as a training center for horsemen in between race meets. This was introduced in November, 2018 following the closure of the Evangeline Training Center.

“In order to protect our current horse population, we felt it was necessary to issue this policy,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “ Should horsemen have any question regarding this change in policy those inquiries should be directed to Louisiana Downs’ Director of Racing, David Heitzmann, or Stall Superintendent, Natalie Ardoin.”

The 2020 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Quarter Horse meet will commence on Saturday, January 4.

Currently, the racetrack is open for training six days a week with full amenities including a clocker, outrider and ambulance service.  Security in the stable area is provided 24 hours a day, seven days each week. Located in the Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is located in convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans and the upcoming live season at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

 

Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and is allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.

 

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.

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TRAINER FRANKIE BROTHERS REFLECTS ON THE IMPACT OF HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ON HIS STORIED CAREER

Will be Honored with the Frank L. Brothers Stake on the September 7th Super Derby Card

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will present Super Derby 40 on Saturday, September 7. The marquee event of the 2019 Thoroughbred meet will feature seven stakes, highlighted by the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby.

Frankie Brothers
Frank L. Brothers. Photo courtesy of Donna Barton Brothers.

However, one other noteworthy feature will be the inaugural running of the $60,000
Frank L. Brothers
stakes.  The mile and one-sixteenth turf contest was renamed this year to play tribute to the esteemed Louisiana native and conditioner who won a record nine training titles at Louisiana Downs.

“Frankie” as he is known in the industry, grew up in New Orleans.

“My father was an electrician and we had a family tradition of attending the races at Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving Day and then going home for dinner,” he explained.

His father’s profession was not in the stars for Brothers; it was racing that inspired him. Brothers worked for the late Jack Van Berg, starting at the bottom cooling horses, gradually working his way up to one of the barn’s assistant trainers.  After a ten year affiliation with Van Berg, with much thought, and greater trepidation, he went out on his own.

“It was the scariest thing in the world,” admitted Brothers. “I had support from some very good owners, including Al Stall, Sr. John Franks and Mike Rutherford.”

Brothers shared that when he first began at Louisiana Downs, he had 12-16 horses in his barn. The number swelled considerably with his success in Shreveport where he won over 800 races and nine consecutive training titles from 1980 -1988.

In a career that spanned from 1974 to 2009, Brothers saddled 10,440 Thoroughbreds, winning 2,349 races and over $48.9 million in purses.  He won the 1991 Preakness and Belmont with Hansel and developed the careers of graded stakes winners Pulpit, First Samurai, Dansil, Madcap Escapade, Arch and Secret Hello.

Brothers acknowledges the importance of his Louisiana roots and tenure at Louisiana Downs.

“Louisiana Downs was the place to be,” said Brothers.owner “The purses were good and I won my first training title there. We were very fortunate with the number of races offered.”

Brothers won the 1998 Super Derby with the Kentucky-bred Arch, owned by Claiborne Farms and Adele B. Dilschneider.

“When he was first starting out, he worked well, but didn’t ‘wow’ you,” explained Brothers. “He won his first race and we took him to Florida. We had options, but decided on the Super Derby.  Shane Sellers, who rode quite a few for me, had another commitment, so Corey Nakatani, who had ridden for me before, got the victory.”

Winning the Super Derby meant a great deal to Brothers.

“There were two races in Louisiana I really wanted to win: the Super Derby and the Louisiana Derby,” he added.  I was able to win the Louisiana Derby with Mighty. Both will always be special for me.”

One other Louisiana runner who stood out for Brothers was a filly named Monique Rene. The Louisiana-bred daughter of Prince of Ascot, was foaled in 1978 and won 29 of her 45 starts for owner John Franks.

“She had no pedigree, but just loved to run,” stated Brothers. “She laid it on the line every time she went to the racetrack.”

Brothers retired as a trainer ten years ago. His operation had expanded to Kentucky, where he won training title at both Churchill Downs and Keeneland. He loved his horses, but moving three to four times a year and the daily grind required to run a top racing operation, were key factors in his decision. 

Life these days is very good for the 73-year-old Brothers, who remains involved in the industry as a blood stock agent and advisor. He has been married to former jockey and television racing broadcaster Donna Barton Brothers for 21 years.  The couple resides in Louisville and also has a condo in Saratoga Springs.

“She’s great,” he proudly stated. “The best thing that ever happened to me!”

Brothers was inducted into the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2015, was the first Thoroughbred trainer to be inducted into the Louisiana Sport’s Hall of Fame.

“We were very pleased to name a stakes in honor of Frankie Brothers,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.  “He had a tremendous legacy at Louisiana Downs, winning nine consecutive titles, and getting the respect from his owners, fans and fellow horsemen for the way he cared for each of his horses.”

Brothers will not be on hand to present the trophy to the winning connections of the stakes named in his honor due to his bloodstock and yearling sale obligations. However, the acknowledgment from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs meant a great deal to the acclaimed horseman.

“It’s quite an honor and I appreciated the call from David,” said Brothers. “I’m forever grateful for my time at Louisiana Downs, the number of races I was able to win and the wonderful horses and owners that made such an impact on my career.”

 

Nominations for the Super Derby Card Closed on August 24

Nominations have closed for Super Derby Day, which will take place on Saturday, September 7. The card, with a special post time of 12:00 pm (Central, will include seven stakes, highlighted by the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby.

The Super Derby program will feature seven stakes, leading up to the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, for 3-year-olds going a mile and one-sixteenth on the main track. The Super Derby closed with 24 nominations, and included potential entrants from horsemen Brad Cox and Steve Asmussen, who have won the last two editions of the stakes.

Cox, who won the 2017 Super Derby (run on the turf) with Mr Misunderstood, has Night Ops, Crafty Daddy and Marquee Prince under consideration. Night Ops, owned by Steve Landers Racing is a son of Warriors Reward, who ran second in the Oaklawn Park Invitational, and most recently, third in the Ellis Park Derby. Lucky Seven Stables’ Crafty Daddy, sired by Scat Daddy, began his career at Fair Grounds and competed two graded stakes at Arlington Park, finishing fourth in the Grade 1, $500,000 Secretariat on August 10. Marquee Prince won the Black Gold Stakes earlier this year at Fair Grounds for owners Rick, Donna and Jeff Awtrey.

Asmussen, is currently the second-leading money earning trainer in North America.  He won last year’s Super Derby with Limation for owner Michael Langford and has nominated three horses.  Rotation,  a colt by Tapit, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC was the favorite in the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude here on August 3, but stumbled out of the gate, then gamely battled to complete the superfecta.  Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC also bred and owns another Tapit colt, Wicked Indeed, who ran fourth in both the Grade 3 LeComte at Fair Grounds and Sunland Derby at Sunland Park. The Hall of Fame conditioner has also nominated Vangilder, a stakes winner at Albuquerque for owner Chuck Hovitz.

Trainer Al Stall, Jr, who has won three previous editions of the Super Derby, is considering testing stakes company for the first time with Adele B. Dilschneider‘s homebred Rescind. The lightly raced son of Blame broke his maiden and won a $19,000 allowance here on August 12.

Ellis Park Derby champion Gray Magician, trained by Peter Miller, is another interesting nominee. The son of Graydar ran second in the UAE Derby (G2) before competing in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. He was bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks Farm, whose founder, Steve Davison is an attorney and business owner in Ruston, Louisiana. Gray Magician has banked $738,710 in 11 starts for the ownership group of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable. 

Leader of Men, owned by Walpole Racing LLC won the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude and is on track to run in the Super Derby. Trevilion, owned by Tigertail Ranch, who ran second and Paynt Battle for Norman Stables, LLC, are also under consideration.

The Super Derby, which had its first running in 1980 has a rich history. The illustrious list of past champions includes four Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness Stakes winners, five Belmont Stakes winners and seven Travers Stakes winners. Six previous Super Derby entrants have won the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic and three Super Derby winners, Tiznow, Sunday Silence and Alysheba have been voted the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year, the industry’s highest award.

The draw for Super Derby Day will take place on Saturday, August 31. The featured stakes are:

 

$60,000 Frank L. Brothers                              3 YO & Up                             1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 River Cities                                       3 YO & Up F&M                    1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 Happy Ticket                                    2 YO Fillies                             One Mile (T)

$60,000 Sunday Silence                                 2 YO                                       One Mile (T)

$300,000 SUPER DERBY (G3)                   3 YO                                       1 1/16 miles

$60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin                             3 YO LA-Bred                        One Mile (T)

$60,000 Elge Rasberry                                   3 YO Fillies, LA-Bred            One Mile (T)

 

 

Rachel McLaughlin Will be Onsite for Super Derby 40

Rachel McLaughlin, racing production manager and on-air talent at Indiana Grand, also one of the Caesars Entertainment horse racing properties, will make an appearance at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, September 7 for Super Derby 40.  She and racing publicist Martha Claussenwill divide paddock previews and post-race stakes interviews as well as offering selections for the entire card. McLaughlin will also meet and greet fans at the track’s simulcast OTB.

“Now that Louisiana Downs and Indiana Grand are part of Caesars Entertainment, we have utilized Rachel’s handicapping expertise each week with our Super Tuesday Pick 4 wager,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “She has a tremendous following on social media and will be a welcome addition to our Super Derby 40 team.”

 

Super Derby Festival 40 Golf Tournament Set for August 29

On Thursday, August 29, the Super Derby Festival 40 Charity Golf Tournament will be held at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers. It serves as one of the special events saluting the annual Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, the marquee race of the Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season, which takes place on Saturday, September 7.

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 Super Derby t-shirt/cap.

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.

 

Wiener Dog Races Return on Labor Day

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs  will present a fun-filled Labor Day program with live Thoroughbred races and the always popular Wiener Dog Races on Monday, September 2.  The fun starts at 11:00am. The first Wiener Dog race begins at 12pm with the Championship Race at approximately 2:00 pm. There will also be race heats for children. Proceeds to benefit K9 Karma Service Dogs. Families can enjoy a children’s area including a petting zoo (free admission) located on the Racing Apron. Face Painting will be available for an additional charge.  Also, Food Trucks from across the region will be serving up great local bites for purchase.

 

Super Derby Festivities Set for Saturday, September 7

Several promotions and special events are planned for Super Derby 40 so that both racing fans and families will have an enjoyable afternoon at the racetrack.

Watch and wager on the Super Derby Card in the air-conditioned comfort of the Harrah’s Club. An All You Can Eat Buffet offering for $39.99 per person will be available, beginning at 11:00 am. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 318-752-6367. An upscale buffet, thee  Super Derby 40 in the Sky, will also be available for $49.99 per person. Reservations are required: 318-752-6367.

At 10:30 am, a Jockey Meet and Greet and Autograph Signing will take place in the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs main entrance area. A photo of the riders will be available for $5.00 with the proceeds to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary and regional racing publicist Martha Claussen will team up for a pre-race handicapping preview at 11:00 am in the Inside Rail, located on the first floor of the grandstand. They will offer detailed analysis of the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby as well as their selections for each of the races on the Super Derby card.

Also beginning at 11:00 am, a Children’s Area will open on the Racing Apron.  Face Painting is available for an additional charge. Children can join in the fun with the Super Derby Stilt Walkers and Hula Hoop Stars! Food Trucks from across the region will be serving up great local bites for purchase.

Also at 12:00 pm, registration begins for the Super Derby Ladies Hat Contest. Hats will be judged in three categories: Spirit of Louisiana, Classic and Most Original. The winners will receive $100 cash.

The Food Truck Face-Off  will take place after the 3rd race. Competitors will have five minutes to scarf down some of the yummiest foods available for purchase on the Racing Apron. Seven popular local celebrities and three participants from the crowd will compete to win, not only bragging rights, but $250 in cash.

 

 

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.

 

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