HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES ADDITION OF EXTRA RACE ON EACH PROGRAM BEGINNING MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Draw for Louisiana Cup Day to Take Place Saturday, September 12

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will add one additional race each day, beginning Monday, September 14 through the conclusion of the 2020 Thoroughbred racing season on Wednesday, September 23.  This is in addition to the purse increase of $1,500 per race which was announced on August 8.

 

“Supporting our local horsemen continues to be a high priority for Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “We were forced to delay the start of our meet due to COVID-19, which was not expected. Then, Hurricane Laura had a devastating impact on many members of our racing community. We are hopeful that the purse increase and extra day will benefit these horsemen who have been very loyal to our racetrack.”

 

Tight Trainer Battle Developing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs 

The next two weeks at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will offer an exciting battle for leading trainer honors with three horsemen solidly in contention.  Steve Asmussen is the current leader with 36 wins; Karl Broberg follows closely with 34 and Shane Wilson is also in the hunt with 31 winners to date.

Asmussen, who has traveled from Texas to New York to Kentucky this summer has a solid team in place at Louisiana Downs. Assistants Mitch Dennison and Misty Drinkwater handle the day to day care of the Hall of Fame conditioner’s runners at Louisiana Downs. Dennison explained that when the Evangeline Training Center closed two years ago, it was Louisiana Downs that stepped up with an opportunity to stable and train in Shreveport.

“Louisiana Downs has been our hub for this region for two years,” said Dennison. “Steve believes in having each horse being productive at their class level. So, in addition to our success here this meet, we are able to train and ship horses where they fit.”

Dennison credits David Heitzmann and his team for their continued commitment this season.

“I can’t thank them enough for working with us and being so accommodating,” added Dennison. “The track surfaces are excellent; (track superintendent) Billy McKeever does an amazing job. We have a couple of horses pointed to Cup Day and hope we will be able to win the training title”

 

 

Karl Broberg, who has been the #1 trainer by wins in North America for the past seven years, won 45 races here last year, finishing second to Joey Foster. He and his crew will be gearing up over the next nine live racing days.

“I’m thankful that Louisiana Downs has been so accommodating to horsemen through this incredibly tough year,” said Broberg. “They were the first track in this region to turn the lights on and work to get racing back on track. All credit goes to the management team.”

It is the first time in eight years that Wilson, a native of Haughton, Louisiana, has stabled here.

“We were all in limbo several months ago,” said Wilson describing the impact of COVID-19 on the resumption of racing in Louisiana. “However (Director of Racing) David Heitzmann was the first to step up with a plan. We knew the early May date was not possible, but David set June 6 as the opening date at Louisiana Downs and quickly got the condition book posted.”

There were some anxious moments for Wilson, but he credits his owners for their support.

“So many of my owners were loyal and I knew we had a good barn coming into the meet,” he said. “I came in thinking we had a good chance to win 30 races, and we have done that already.”

Wilson reflects on the impact of COVID-19 on racing over the last six months.

“It’s been a challenge for everyone,” Wilson stated. “But one positive is that my two sons stayed with us and home schooled. They were looking to make some extra money, so got up every morning at 4:00 am to help out at the barn. My wife, Becky, was with us as well. So, despite all the challenges, it has been a good summer for our family.”

However, there is little doubt that Joel Dominguez will be caught in the race for leading jockey of the meet. He has been racking up the wins throughout the season and currently tops his fellow riders with 59 wins since the meet began on June 6. Jack Gilligan is second with 37 trips to the winner’s circle. Jose Guerrero has ridden 36 winners to date and Gerardo Mora rounds out the top four with 32 victories.

 

This is the fourth year that Dominguez has been based at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. He began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug on May 22, but transitioning smoothly to the journeyman ranks. The 30-year-old Dominguez was born in Durango, Mexico, and experience in the saddle began in Kentucky, galloping for both Asmussen and veteran Kentucky-based conditioner, Neil Howard.

 

Louisiana Cup Day Draw Set for Saturday, September 12

Nominations for the annual Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs have closed with tremendous interest from horsemen. Six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds will be contested on Saturday, September 19. The draw for the following Louisiana Cup stakes will take place on Saturday, September 12.

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)

 

 

Update on Jockey Rico Flores

Jockey Rico Flores was injured in a spill on Tuesday, September 1 and was transported to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a cervical spine injury and underwent surgery earlier this week.

 

His companion, Sally Warne, stopped by the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racing office on Tuesday and gave an update that Flores was able to move his legs and feet fine; lift his head, shoulders, and elbows, but still not able to move his fingers. He will begin physical therapy today. She added that it will be a “long road” to recovery.

 

According to statistics on Equibase. Flores has won 366 races and purses of $5.9 million since he began riding in 1994.

 

A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist Flores in his recovery. If you are able to make a donation, please visit: GoFundMe.com.RicoFlores.

 

 

LTBA To Award Scholarships on Louisiana Cup Day

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) will draw for two $1,000 scholarships on September 19 via Facebook Live during Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. The drawings will be between the fifth and sixth races in the winner’s circle.  *Due to the COVID-19 students do not have to be present to win a scholarship.

The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:

Must be a college student enrolled full-time in a Louisiana College, University or Community College for Fall 2020.

Must be in good standing with the college or university.

Must have University ID number or Social Security number.

The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.
REGISTER NOW.

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association manages the best incentive program for breeding thoroughbreds in the United States. Since the organization formed, this has led to increased purses, better quality horses, and increased interest in racing and breeding horses. The thoroughbred racing and breeding industry generates over $1 billion and employs over 60,000 people in the state of Louisiana.

For more information about Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association visit louisianabred.com or call 1-800-772-1195.

 

Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Fundraiser To Take Place on Louisiana Cup Day

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will conduct a fundraiser on Saturday, September 19 in support of the Shantel Lanerie Cancer Breast Foundation.  The beloved Louisiana native and wife of jockey Corey Lanerie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in January, 2018 and passed away just six months later.  She is survived by her parents, husband and daughter, Brittlyn.

 

Rick Mocklin, who was Lanerie’s agent for ten years and his wife, Janette, were close friends of Shantel.  Mocklin serves as founder and president of the Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Foundation (SLBCF). The 501(c)(3organization was founded in September, 2018 with a mission of educating, empowering and encouraging women to become pro-active in early detection, and if diagnosed, surviving breast cancer.  Acknowledging that breast cancer impacts the entire family, the Foundation designates funds raised through donations and fundraisers to assist with basic needs of breast cancer patients through every stage of diagnosis and treatment.

 

Beginning at 2:00 pm on Louisiana Cup Day, a table will be set up in the grandstand with monogrammed apparel and memorabilia. Jockeys will be on hand to autograph the items, with all proceeds to benefit the foundation. Fans will be able to stop by the table, purchase items or make donations until 6:00 pm.

 

Mocklin has reached out to each of the Louisiana racetracks on their premier racing days to support fundraising efforts for the foundation. Sadly, due to COVID-19, many of the scheduled events this year have been canceled.

 

“The pandemic has affected so many people this year and events at many tracks were not able to take place,” said Mocklin.  “We are grateful to Louisiana Downs for welcoming us back on Cup Day again this year.

 

Handicapping Preview Show Set for Saturday, September 19

Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary and regional racing publicist Martha Claussen will team up for a pre-race handicapping preview at 2:00 pm in the Inside Rail, located on the first floor of the grandstand. They will offer analysis and their selections for each of the races on the Louisiana Cup Day card. The seminar is free and open to all racing fans.

 

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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NOTABLE LOUISIANA-BREDS POINTED TO LOUISIANA CUP DAY AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

“Pink Day” Fundraiser for the Shantel Lanerie Cancer Breast Foundation Set for Saturday, September 19

 

Bossier City, LA – Quality Louisiana-bred horses and a great cause will make Saturday, September 19 a very special day at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

There was uncertainty early in the meet regarding the status of Louisiana Cup Day, which is usually held in the first week of August. However, Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the LTBA; Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, worked together and the stakes-filled day saluting Louisiana-bred was placed on the calendar.

“Roger presented us with a plan which we believe will work,” said Warren Harang III, President of the LTBA. “We will be creative and work outside the box to accomplish this. We will be utilizing funds that we don’t normally use for purse supplements. Helping the horsemen of Louisiana is always our mission. Adding back six black-type races helps the breeders, the horsemen participating in the races, as well as the track itself.”

Trainers have responded enthusiastically to the news, and even though nominations are not due until next month, several multiple stakes winners are pointing to Louisiana Cup Day. Joey Foster confirmed that Our Lost Love will seek her third stakes win. Bred and owned by Tri-Star Racing LLC, the 3-year-old daughter of Half Ours has already eclipsed the $200,000 earnings mark with five wins from nine starts. The talented filly broke her maiden at Louisiana Downs last September and won her first stakes, the $93,700 Louisiana Futurity on December 29 at Fair Grounds. Two months later, she added a victory in the $70,000 Take Charge Brandi at Delta Downs. On August 8, she made easy work of her rivals, winning a five-furlong sprint in :57.35 seconds.

“Knowing that we can run on Cup Day means everything for me and my owners,” said Foster. “Our Lost Love showed us she is ready, getting the win (on August 8) so easily with the rail out. We’ve got big plans for Cup Day!”

Allen Landry is another Louisiana-based conditioner who is pleased that Cup Day will return to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs for the 2020 Thoroughbred meet.

“David (Heitzmann) has done a good job for us this year,” acknowledged Landry. “The communication to the horsemen is important. We were hoping to have stakes races this meet; I have several horses that I plan to run.”

The top earner in his barn is Rodney Verret’s Laughingsaintssong, a 6-year-old gelding bred by J.E. Jumonville and his wife, Bunny, who own one of the top Quarter Horse farms in Louisiana. They own a Vindication mare Laughing Saint and bred her to Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer.  He boasts a record of ten wins and earnings of $363,010 and won the 2019 Louisiana Cup Sprint as well as the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds. Landry will look to the turf for

Net A Bear, a 4-year-old filly by Awesome Bet owned by Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro. She is also a multiple-stakes winner for breeder Lora Pitre with victories in the 2019 Elge Rasberry at Louisiana Downs and Louisiana Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds.

Further information on the following Louisiana Cup Day features is posted on Equibase.

                                   

$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)

 

Nominations will close on Saturday, September 5. Contact David Heitzmann at dheitzmann@caesars.com or by calling (318) 741-2511.

 

 

Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Fundraiser To Take Place on Louisiana Cup Day

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will conduct a fundraiser on Saturday, September 19 in support of the Shantel Lanerie Cancer Breast Foundation.  The beloved Louisiana native and wife of jockey Corey Lanerie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in January, 2018 and passed away just six months later.  She is survived by her parents, husband and daughter, Brittlyn.

 

Rick Mocklin, who was Lanerie’s agent for ten years and his wife, Janette, were close friends of Shantel.  Mocklin serves as founder and president of the Shantel Lanerie Breast Cancer Foundation (SLBCF). The 501(c)(3organization was founded in September, 2018 with a mission of educating, empowering and encouraging women to become pro-active in early detection, and if diagnosed, surviving breast cancer.  Acknowledging that breast cancer impacts the entire family, the Foundation designates funds raised through donations and fundraisers to assist with basic needs of breast cancer patients through every stage of diagnosis and treatment.

 

Beginning at 2:00 pm on Louisiana Cup Day, a table will be set up in the grandstand with monogrammed apparel and memorabilia. Jockeys will be on hand to autograph the items, with all proceeds to benefit the foundation. Fans will be able to stop by the table, purchase items or make donations until 6:00 pm.

 

Mocklin has reached out to each of the Louisiana racetracks on their premier racing days to support fundraising efforts for the foundation. Sadly, due to COVID-19, many of the scheduled events this year have been canceled.

 

“The pandemic has affected so many people this year and events at many tracks were not able to take place,” said Mocklin.  “We are grateful to Louisiana Downs for welcoming us back on Cup Day again this year.

 

“Breast cancer can be devastating for so many people,” added Mocklin. “To lose Shantel when she was just 42 years-old was heartbreaking for her family and many friends. The foundation has already helped 40 women diagnosed with breast cancer and we want to keep raising funds to support those in need.”

 

Handicapping Preview Show Set for Saturday, September 19

Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary and regional racing publicist Martha Claussen will team up for a pre-race handicapping preview at 2:00 pm in the Inside Rail, located on the first floor of the grandstand. They will offer analysis and their selections for each of the races on the Louisiana Cup Day card. The seminar is free and open to all racing fans.

 

 

Spots Still Available for Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, August 20

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will host a Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday, August 20.

 

The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides valuable assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers. The 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.  Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by contacting Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512.

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through August 16, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 27 wins since the meet began on June 6. Shane Wilson has moved into second place with 22 victories and Steve Asmussen follows closely with 21 wins.  Last year’s leading conditioner Joey Foster rounds out the top four conditioners; his runners have made 16 trips to the winner’s circle.

 

 

Joel Dominguez continues to rack up the wins in a very competitive jockey colony and leads his fellow riders with 38 wins. Jack Gilligan, who rides first-call for Broberg, is second with 33 trips to the winner’s circle and Jose Andres Guerrero has moved into third place in the standings with 27 victories. In fourth place is last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada who has ridden 24 winners to date.

 

Competition is also very tight in the battle for leader owner with Steve Asmussen and Wayne T. Davis tied with 13 wins each. End Zone Athletics Inc. follows closely with 11 victories and M and M Racing (Mike Sisk) has moved into fourth place with 8 wins.

 

 

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 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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