To See the Whole Game: Father, Son and Friend’s Success Speaks to So Much More

Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez, and John Duvieilh–LA-bred owners and advocates


Father and son, Earl and Keith Hernandez



New Orleans, LA (February 3, 2022) – Across Lake Pontchartrain, north of Covington, tucked away by winding sideroads, shaded by elder pine trees and oaks, Earl Hernandez, his son Keith Hernandez, and good friend John Duvieilh have created a sanctuary for broodmares, foals, and turned out horses, alike. A setting where the Thoroughbred can be energized by Louisiana land and sky.

At the Hernandez Farm, the efforts of the entire state can be found. The energy, ideas and friendships that yield the crops of our sport. Owners of racehorses since the 1980s, breeders since the 1990s, and advocates for Louisiana horsemen and backside workers alike, these three men are as hands-on as they get in every facet of the sport so many of us love.

Currently tied for third in the Fair Grounds’ owner standings with five wins, success came early in the meet for Earl, Keith, and John. It’s easy to see the ownership side of all this. Their names are there in the programs, their pictures taken in the winner’s circle with the likes of Hyper Piper. Silver King. Rail to Seattle. Special Connection. Half Fast Rose. Alphadoodole and Jax Man. The list is long.

They’ve teamed up with others – Rose Hernandez, Stephen Landry and Bill Langford. They’ve owned separate interests, but together Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez, and John Duvieilh have sent their horses to the starting gate 1,462 times, winning 229 of those and amassing $5,174,838 in career earnings. (Together Earl and Keith have had 102 winners out of 599 starters for $2,292,501.) This level of success would impress anyone, but to stop there is to discredit the herculean effort that goes into breeding the horses they run. The struggle and the heartache, the investment and the time, the horses who refused to be haltered and the scars to prove it.

Ask them and they’ll tell you. Keith begins to explain, but John hops in at the third word: “You can’t let the highs get too high or the lows get too low. That’s just this game.”

A cold weekend in January does not stop these three men. With 35-45 horses usually at the farm, there’s always something that needs to be done, and they take the time to do it themselves. Wooden fences section off the 42.5 acres into pastures for the fillies or the colts, for the athlete simply given time to be a horse outside of the confinement of a stall, for the weanlings, for the yearlings, and a vast stretch for the 16 mares. Huts and hay stations at the ready. Longtime veterinarian at the farm Roger Lowell is there to check the mares. Curiosity brings the duos of colts and the pairs of fillies to the closest fence. The winter wind blows through the insulated workshirts and across the trimmed pastures of rye grass, rustling the horses’ warm coat of soft hair rarely seen at the racetrack. Rosy cheeked, sniffling and serious, the four are hard at work. Keith pulls up in the ATV as John Duvieilh and Lowell walk out of the stall where the last of the broodmares has been checked.

“She’s empty,” John calls out.

There is loss in this sport, you don’t need to look far or long to find it. This was a racehorse that will never enter the starting gate. This was approximately a $10,000 investment gone. The betting public and the weekend fan want to watch a horse run their best race. Jockeys want to ride winners. Investors want a profit. Backside workers, writers, and public handicappers want jobs. All of those hopes and expectations rely upon the foal.

Earlier in the morning, nine 2-year-olds just left, heading to trainer Sam David Jr.’s care. Nearing $20,000,000 in earnings with 1,285 wins, including the Kentucky Oaks with Blushing KD, David needs no introduction. Serving as their trainer since Frank Leggio retired, David has won at a steady clip for the team since 2017. Together they aim for winning the many state-bred races across Louisiana. Delta, Evangeline, Louisiana – between the three downs and Fair Grounds, a robust menu of state-bred races are slated every racing day, and in the Pelican State, more often than not two tracks are running concurrently.

In the house to warm up, stories of how it all began are cued from favorite winners’ photos on the wall, Sunday’s races at Fair Grounds on the television, their promising filly Macee making her first route effort in race three, their insights and laughs energized by a decades-long friendship between Keith and John.

Similar to many who have owned horses, all it takes is one good horse. A horse that makes it all look easy and provides the thrills of a lifetime. Bits A’ Jingle was that horse for Earl and wife Rose Hernandez. In 1983 Rose liked a filly running in a maiden claiming race at Jefferson Downs, the old race track in Kenner just outside New Orleans. She had just shipped in after finishing 9th at Monmouth Park. Rose and Earl made a claim on Bits A’ Jingle, who won that race and her next three. She put another three-win streak together, all in a year’s time, until Earl and Rose decided they had a broodmare, resulting in A Cause to Jingle, My Precious Moment, Bitsyboomamaluvsu, Bitsy’s Diamond Z, and many others down the line.

Earl was hooked. Keith was the next fish looking to take the bait. What started as a claim became the father and son team’s first stallion.

“My dad was getting a little sour at work and I asked ‘you want to claim a horse?’” said Keith Hernandez.

Earl said yes and they agreed $5,000 was the max. When Earl reported back he said that the one they had in mind didn’t go their way, however, they got another. For $12,500.

“‘Have you lost your mind! I don’t want to do it that much,’” Keith remembers telling his dad. “Well that was Rail, he won $90,000 in a blink and broke track records.”

John Duvieihl met Keith through their daughters being in the same class at school. As fate would have it Duvieihl’s horse Ruby Begonia was running at Fair Grounds on the same day as Rail. Both their horses won that day. Nothing like a good omen to quicken a friendship and plant the seed for a partnership.

Friendships deepened and so did their involvement in the sport. They take the next logical step and transition Rail into a stallion at Clear Creek Stud, have success, and get an idea.
“How about we start growing ‘em,” Keith said. “Next thing you know we’re working eight hours every Sunday.”

It takes a deep level of commitment, one might say an obsession, to go to these ends to participate in horse racing. But as many around the race track know and will willingly attest, it also takes luck. Enter the trio’s first broodmare: Wise and Happy.

“This is how bizarre it is,” Keith recounts. “I used to get Bloodhorse magazine, back in those days you’d actually get the magazines—that’s all there was. I looked in the back of the magazine and there was a horse for sale in New York, her name was Wise and Happy. Her sister was a horse named Cagey Exuberance who was a multiple stakes winner and who produced multiple graded stakes winners, so I paid $5,000 and they shipped me the horse down from New York. She went on to produce Unfriendly Koo, another horse named Kookalu. At one point there were $1.9 million worth of horses that came out of her. That is this sport. You never know where the good horses are coming from. You never know.”

Social Misfit, one of the soundest Louisiana-breds you find, was out of Unfriendly Koo: Claimed away at age eight and recently retired as a 13-year-old, Social Misfit was a four-time winner at age 12 who banked nearly $675,000, winning 28 times in his 102-race career. If sound horses don’t thrill you then how about the sounds of the B-52s? One of the farm workers asked if she could name all of Bedazzle Seattle’s babies, and “Love Shack” by The B-52s has been her inspiration. Perhaps you’ve heard of Tin Roof Rusted, Wholeshackshimmies, Funkylittleshack, Knockalittlelouder, names that certainly play well. All these and hundreds of others that have entered the starting gates can be traced back to these three horsemen.

John, Keith, and Earl are as active as stewards of the sport as they are as breeders and owners. Whether it be their involvement in the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association (HBPA) or the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA), their perspectives and actions are shaped by a shared philosophy – to do what is in the best interest of Louisiana racing.

“I’m on the HBPA board for the eighth year,” Keith said. “Now I’m on the LTBA board. I make decisions all the time I know aren’t in my best interest. I make decisions that are in the best interest of racing. We have all kinds of classes of people in Louisiana. You may see one or two allowance races a day and the rest are $5,000 claimers. Those are the people that actually fill the races and make the tracks roll. Everybody has to have a seat at the table and you have to look at the big picture.”

The 2022 crop of foals is on its way. The 2020 2-year-olds are in the process of learning their jobs and will soon be in the hands of their trainers. The older horses are at the track working to prove they belong. In a game that can appear like everything hinges on the efforts of the trainer to prepare each horse between races, the mighty efforts of other horsemen to get foals to the racetrack often goes unnoticed. Earl, Keith and John do what they do to bring Thoroughbreds to the starting gates.

To win, to point to Louisiana Championships, to find the next filly worthy of being one of their select broodmares. From Delta Downs to Fair Grounds, the heritage of Louisiana horse racing depends on the efforts and dedication of people who live the life from sun up to cool down and see the entire game in front of them.




OPELOUSAS, LA – Evangeline Downs hosted its richest night of the Thoroughbred season on Saturday with Louisiana Legends Night. There were eight stakes races held with total purses of $600,000 and the evening was a showcase of the finest Louisiana-bred horses currently in training.


SOCIAL MISFIT - Louisiana Legends Classic
Social Misfit (#2) holds off Lucky Andy (#6) to score a victory in the 2018 Louisiana Legends Classic at Evangeline Downs. Coady Photography.


Louisiana Legends Classic
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 1/16 Miles, $100,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards

Porto Foricos-Unfriendly Koo
Breeder: Earl Hernandez and Keith Hernandez
Owner: End Zone Athletics, Inc.
Trainer: Karl Broberg
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

Lucky Andy
Lookin At Lucky-Sweet Britches
Breeder: George Gary Guidry MD & Walter Dwayne Brown MD
Owner: G. Gary Guidry and W. Dwayne Brown
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Roberto Morales

Musket Man-Spaseeba
Breeder: James A. McGehee Jr.
Owner: Double Dam Farm
Trainer: Delmar Caldwell
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan


It isn’t very often that a horse trained by Karl Broberg and ridden by Tim Thornton will go off at 8-1 at Evangeline Downs, but that is exactly what happened with Social Misfit in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Classic, much to the delight of his backers as he was a winner, covering the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.94 over a fast track.


The 1-2 betting favorite in the Classic, Mobile Bay, got off to a slow start and was last after the break. He had won five races in a row entering Saturday night, but was unable to mount a rally and settled for fifth. Social Misfit had been up close to the pace being set by longshot No One Greater, who led through a quarter-mile of 24.99 seconds and a half-mile of 50.01. Social Misfit assumed the lead at the top of the stretch and held off the valiant challenge of Lucky Andy through the lane to win by a head.


Social Misfit paid $18.20 to win, $7.80 to place and $12.40 to show. Lucky Andy returned $16.20 to place and $26.80 to show. Mageez finished third and paid $10.20 to show. The win was the 17th in 63 lifetime starts for Social Misfit and the $60,000 first-place purse increases his lifetime earnings to $486,966.


Social Misfit is a 9-year-old gelding by Porto Foricos and out of the Friendly Lover mare, Unfriendly Koo. He is owned by End Zone Athletics, Inc and was bred in Louisiana by Earl and Keith Hernandez.

MR AL'S GAL - Louisiana Legends Distaff
Mr. Al’s Gal, Diego Saenz up, takes the Louisiana Legends Distaff with a Wire to Wire Win. Coady Photography.

Louisiana Legends Distaff
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 1/16 Miles, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards, Fillies and Mares

Salute The Sarge-Spanish Ice
Breeder: J. Adcock & Neal McFadden
Owner: Brittlyn Stable Inc.
Trainer: Justin Jeansonne
Jockey: Diego Saenz

Hyper Piper
Old Fashioned-Filaree
Breeder: Earl Hernandez, Keith Hernandez & John Duvieilh
Owner: John Duvieilh, Keith J. & Earl J. Hernandez
Trainer: Sam B. David Jr
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

Pacific Pink
Private Vow-Truly Romantic
Breeder: Brandon Adcock
Owner: Keith Plaisance
Trainer: Edward J. Johnston
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez


Mr. Al’s Gal went right to the lead in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Distaff and never relinquished it, going all the way in front to win by 1-1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:45.40 for the 1 1/16 miles. Mr. Al’s Gal turned the tables on the heavy favorite, Pacific Pink, who had defeated her in their last meeting this season at Evangeline Downs on May 2. The win was the first of 2018 for the filly owned by Brittlyn Stable, Inc. She is trained by Justin Jeansonne and was ridden to victory by Diego Saenz. Mr. Al’s Gal was bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock and Neal McFadden. She is by Salute The Sarge and out of the Spanish Steps mare, Spanish Ice.


TESTING ONE TWO - Louisiana Legends Soiree
Testing One Two wins the Louisiana Legends Soiree. Coady Photography.


Louisiana Legends Soiree
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 Mile, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos Fillies

Star Guitar-Yes Sir
Breeder: Brittlyn, Inc.
Owner: Brittlyn Stable Inc.
Trainer: Vitor Arceneaux
Jockey: Diego Saenz

Special Blessing
Flat Out-Langsyne
Breeder: J. Adcock
Owner: Coteau Grove Farms LLC

Tap Dance Star
Star Guitar-Dance By Em
Breeder: Virginia Lazenby
Owner: Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable, LLC
Trainer: Oscar Modica
Jockey: Alexis X. Batista

Testing One Two is another filly that has certainly made her mark on Louisiana racing during her brief career and she came through with a two-length victory in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Soiree. The victory on Saturdaynight was the fourth stakes win in her seven lifetime races. She covered the one mile distance in a time of 1:39.36. Testing One Two is owned and bred by Brittlyn Stable, Inc. She is trained by Victor Arceneaux and was ridden to victory by Diego Saenz. Testing One Two is by Star Guitar and is out of the Scat Daddy mare, Yes Sir.


OURS TO RUN - Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle
Ours To Run Puts Away the Competition in the Louisiana Legends. Mademoiselle. Coady Photography.


Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 5 1/2 Furlongs, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards, Fillies and Mares

Half Ours-Brown Eyed Baby
Breeder: Clifford Grum
Owner: Colonel Thoroughbreds, LLC
Trainer: J. Larry Jones
Jockey: Roberto Morales

Into Mischief-Get Going Bertie
Breeder: Orange Grove Thoroughbreds
Owner: Horseplayers Racing Club, LLC
Trainer: Albert M. Stall, Jr.
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

Custom For Carlos-Comehomewithasmile
Breeder: Bill Langford
Owner: Bill Langford and Roland Bruno
Trainer: Roland Lee Bruno
Jockey: Alexis X. Batista

Ours To Run claimed a second straight stakes victory over a dirt surface by winning the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle. Previously, she had won the Premier Night Matron at Delta Downs in February before trying the turf in consecutive losses at Fair Grounds and Keeneland. Ours To Run made a four-wide move around the far turn and surged to the lead at the top of the stretch. She went on to record a 4-1/4 length victory in a time of 1:03.41 for the five and one-half furlongs. Ours To Run was bred in Louisiana by Clifford Grum. She is owned by Colonel Thoroughbreds, LLC., trained by Larry Jones and was ridden to victory by Roberto Morales.


MONTE MAN - Louisiana Legends Sprint
Monte Man takes his 5th straight victory in the Louisiana Legends Sprint. Coady Photography.

Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 5 1/2 Furlongs, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards

Custom For Carlos-Sarah’s My Angel
Breeder: Val C. Murrell
Owner: Ivery Sisters Racing
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

Sir Ghengis
Tale of the Cat-Staria
Breeder: Randel Stutes
Owner: Gillian and Kirk L. Harris
Trainer: Kirk L. Harris
Jockey: Thomas L. Pompell

Stand Him Up
Time Bandit-Taffy Davenport
Breeder: Hay Hollow Racing Stable LLC
Owner: Hay Hollow Racing Stables LLC
Trainer: Howard R. Alonzo, Jr.
Jockey: Diego Saenz

Monte Man overcame a squeeze at the start and a five-wide trip to win the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint by 1-3/4 lengths in a time of 1:03.86 for the five and one-half furlongs. The win was the fifth in a row for Monte Man and the third straight stakes score for the gelding. Monte Man was bred in Louisiana by Val C. Murrell. He is owned by Ivery Sisters Racing, trained by Ron Faucheux and was ridden to victory by Gerard Melancon. Monte Man is by Custom For Carlos and is out of the Sutter’s Prospect mare, Sarah’s My Angel.


DOUBLE STAR - Louisiana Legends Cheval
Double Star Takes The Louisiana Legends Cheval by 8 1/4 Lengths. Coady Photography.

Louisiana Legends Cheval
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 Mile, $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos

Star Guitar-Bond Queen
Breeder: Thomas Edward Vinci & Bill Mayfield
Owner: Four Star Racing
Trainer: Robert D. Schultz
Jockey: Jose Andres Guerrero

Pound For Pound
Redding Colliery-Buttercup’s Song
Breeder: J. Adcock & B&B Bloodstock
Owner: Israel Flores Horses LLC
Trainer: Jose Grimaldo
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

Grand Luwegee
El Corridor-Magical Mia
Breeder: Gerard Perron
Owner: Gerard Perron
Trainer: Gerard Perron
Jockey: Roberto Morales


Double Star managed to record his second stakes victory of the 2018 Evangeline Downs season on Saturday in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Cheval. Double Star made an aggressive move on the far turn to overtake the pace-setters, In Charge Halo and Battle At Sea. From there, he went on to win by 8-1/4 lengths in a time of 1:39.09 for the one mile. Double Star also won the Equine Sales Derby at Evangeline Downs on May 5. He was bred in Louisiana by Thomas Edward Vinci and Bill Mayfield. Double Star is owned by Four Star Racing, trained by Robert Schultz and was ridden to victory by Jose Guerrero. The colt is by Star Guitar and out of the Stormy Atlantic mare, Bond Queen.


TRUST FACTOR - Louisiana Legends Turf
Trust Factor Lead Wire to Wire to Win the Louisiana Legends Turf. Coady Photography

Louisiana Legends Turf
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 1/16 Miles, Turf $75,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards

Paddy O’Prado-Marshall
Breeder: J. Adcock & Hume Wornall
Owner: Scrivener Stables
Trainer: Michael J. Maker
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

In The Navy
Midshipman-Southern Princess
Breeder: Ken Standlee
Owner: Ken Standlee
Trainer: Scott Gelner
Jockey: Luis Negron

Extra Credit
Proud Citizen-Sunny Isles
Breeder: Richard Klein& Bertram Klein
Owner: Klein Racing
Trainer: Brad H. Cox
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan

Trust Factor was a gate-to-wire winner in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Turf. Colby Hernandez was aboard for the one-length victory over the yielding turf course in a final time of 1:45.45 for the 1 1-16 miles. This was his second stakes win of 2018 having previously won a stakes race at Fair Grounds in March. Trust Factor was bred in Louisiana by J. Adcock and Hume Wornall. He is owned by Scrivener Stable and trained by Mike Maker. Trust Factor is by Paddy O’Prado and out of the Mizzen Mast mare, Mainsail.


THEORYINTOPRACTICE - Louisiana Legends Starter
Theoryintopractice Takes the Louisiana Legends Starter on the Turf. Coady Photography.


Louisiana Legends Starter
Evangeline Downs, 5-26-18, 1 Mile, Turf,  $50,000
Accredited Louisiana Bred 3yos and Upwards

Into Mischief-Cayman Colada
Breeder: Cypress Bend Farm
Owner: Courtney Barousse
Trainer: Corale A. Richards
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

Harbor Pilot
Trappe Shot-harbor Princess
Breeder: Curt Leake
Owner: Red Rose Racing
Trainer: Scott Gelner
Jockey: Diego Saenz

Well’s Gold
Gold Tribute-Lucky Buck’s Baby
Breeder: J. Weldon Granger
Owner: Royalty Thoroughbreds, LLC
Trainer: Karl Broberg
Jockey: Timothy Thornton

Theoryintopractice made it a sweep of the turf races on Louisiana Legends Night for jockey Colby Hernandez, winning the $50,000 Starter. Theoryintopractice made the winning move on the far turn while running three-wide and was then able to withstand the late charge of Harbor Pilot to win by a half-length in a final time of 1:38.64 for the one mile. Theoryintopractice was bred in Louisiana by Cypress Bend Farm. The gelding is owned by Courtney Barousse and trained by Corale Richards. Theoryintopractice is by Into Mischief and out of the Yonaguska mare, Cayman Colada.