Former Assistant to Louisiana Trainer Edward J. Johnston Enjoying Success On His Own
Bossier City, LA – There were plenty of wonderful moments on Louisiana Cup Day, the annual stakes card saluting Louisiana Thoroughbreds.
One special highlight was the victory of Cheapskate Diva who took command in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff. The 4-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom was making her stakes debut for breeder/owner Keith Plaisance. Ridden confidently by Carlos Marquez, the bay filly crossed the wire of the mile and one-sixteenth turf stakes in 1.41.92, defeating a deep field of accomplished turf mares.
It was the first stakes win for the filly and her trainer Joseph “Bobby” Felks, and while he was reticent about taking credit for her victory, Marquez and Plaisance gave him his due.
“I give all the credit to Bobby,” said Marquez. “She used to be more hyper, but Bobby has worked with her, and she did it easy for me today.”
Plaisance also praised Felks in the post-race interview.
“It was his idea to enter her in this,” said Plaisance. “Bobby felt she deserved a shot and to win over tough mares like Net a Bear and Fort Polk was amazing. My hat’s off to Bobby!”
“Bobby is my middle name,” explained Felks. “I never really liked being called Joseph; everyone calls me Bobby.”
Felks was born in Chicago and is the only member of his family who desired a career in the racing industry. He had a summer job hotwalking horses at Arlington Park and made his way to Louisiana when he served as an assistant for the late Edward J. Johnston. The respected horseman succumbed to cancer on August 28, 2021 at the age of 74. Eddie’s career spanned 30 years with stakes winners including Pacific Pink, Zarb’s Luck, Grand Basin and Is Too earning over $12 million.
Felks has eight horses in training and admits that he had his challenges with Cheapskate Diva. She made six starts at Fair Grounds with little impact.
“She was difficult in the beginning,” he explained. “I didn’t know what to do to get her focused. The lightbulb finally turned on at Evangeline Downs, where she began to relax and showed more and more in each work. Winning the maiden $20,000 (on May 14) was a confidence builder, for sure.”
Marquez rode for Johnston and Felks named him on the filly and several other runners.
“It has worked out very well with Carlos,” said Felks. “He has won eight of nine races for me this summer.”
Felks reports that Cheapskate Diva, who reeled off four consecutive wins since May, will have some time off and likely make her next start at Fair Grounds. Her performance on Louisiana Cup Day was very special for the 53-year-old horseman and he remains grateful to Plaisance for his support.
“Training for Keith has been amazing,” stated Felks. “There is no pressure in developing his horses. I couldn’t ask for a better owner!”
Matt Crawford, in his first month as Louisiana Downs racing secretary, also applauds the hard work of Felks.
“Bobby is a very dedicated horseman,” stated Crawford. “Whether you have eight or 80, training racehorses is a very demanding job. It’s great to see Bobby win his first stakes race and we are happy that it took place on Louisiana Cup Day!”
Trainer and Jockey Standings Through August 16
Last year’s leading conditioner Shane Wilson remains the leader in the trainer standings with 39 wins since the meet began on May 7. Joey Foster follows in second place with 27 winners and Greg Tracy is now third with 25 wins. Karl Broberg rounds out the top four with 23 victories.
Carlos Lozada, who was honored as leading jockey here in 2021 continues to have an excellent meet and leads his fellow riders with 70 trips to the winner’s circle. Jose Guerrero is second with 61 wins followed by Joel Dominguez, Alexander Castillo and Vicente Del Cid who each have 32 winners each.
Annual Charity Golf Tournament Moved to Thursday, September 15
Louisiana Downs will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday September 15. The event will benefit The Winner’s Circle Church and Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk for his many programs to assist the Louisiana Downs racing community and backstretch workers.
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. Trophies will be presented to the first, second and third-place teams.
The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 24. 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. For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512 or (318) 573-5830.
Wiener Dog Races Set for Monday, September 5
Louisiana Downs will celebrate Labor Day with live racing, family-friendly activities on the track apron and Wiener Dog competition in between Thoroughbred races. Registration is open for purebred Dachshunds with 32 entrants to be selected. For more information, visit ladowns.com.
Louisiana Downs Racing Dates and Post Time
The 2022 Thoroughbred meet at Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, May 7. The 84-day live racing season runs Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 3:05 pm (Central) through September 27.
About Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and is now owned by Rubico Acquisition Corporation. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.