FORMER TRAINER, BILLY MCKEEVER, JR., KEEPS TRACK SURFACES IN TOP SHAPE AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Bossier City, LA – Billy McKeever, Jr. brings a unique skill set to his role as the highly-respected track superintendent at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

The 56-year-old was born in Shreveport and grew up in nearby Benton, Louisiana. His late father, Billy McKeever, Sr., was a very successful Louisiana-base trainer. McKeever followed that same path and trained  for six years, beginning in 2001, winning 59 races. His most prolific runner was Crowned King, who ran third in the 2003 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

In 2006, McKeever was evaluating the future of the Kentucky-bred Crowned King, who had won eight races and bankrolled over $580,000.

“He was six, and I was thinking it might be time to retire him,” recalled McKeever. “I started considering that maybe it was time for me to retire too.”

McKeever applied for the barn area supervisor job at Louisiana Downs and began in January, 2007. He worked closely with Brian Jabelmann, who was a consultant involved in the management of the track surfaces.

Jabelmann recommended McKeever for the job of track superintendent and he has held that position for the past 11 years.

McKeever is supported by a staff of 20 and each team member is fully committed to their assigned duties. Just one example is that two men have the first shift, beginning at 3:00 am to water the track before training begins at 6:00 am.

“Everybody in the department knows their job, but if we get five inches of rain, I don’t have to ask; the entire crew will be out there, opening additional weep holes and doing whatever has to be done to have the track ready for racing,” he explained.

To keep the Franks Turf Course green throughout one of the hottest summers in recent history was no easy feat. McKeever shared that he consulted with Scott Tolar of Evergreen Turf Solutions.

“This year we worked with Scott on a new fertilizer program, which really paid off,” said McKeever. “Of course, 28-30 loads of water each day was required, but the fertilizing program got us the best root I have seen.”

Another very important component of a safe track surface is creating the optimum composite for the main track. McKeever sends samples to Michael Depew, a respected “lab man” in Michigan.

Getting the correct mix of sand and clay is essential and the combination is different for the winter Quarter Horse meet versus the Thoroughbred meet, which runs from May through September.

McKeever is accessible to trainers, jockeys and track veterinarians and takes their feedback into account.

“Probably from training horses, I know that if I getting news about horses having joint or soft tissue injuries, changes might need to be made,” he added.

McKeever gives special thanks to the operations team at Louisiana Downs for approving the necessary funds to ensure safe track surfaces.

“Both Trent McIntosh, and now, Eric Halstrom have been incredibly supportive of spending money when needed,” stated McKeever. “I have gone to them explaining that we need to buy $75,000 worth of material and I get the necessary approval. To know they have the confidence in my judgement means a lot.”

Joey Foster, who is the current leading conditioner at Louisiana Downs, is one of many horsemen to give high marks to McKeever.

“Billy does an awesome job on both our dirt and turf tracks,” said Foster. “We have hardly had any rain, just a sprinkle during our hot summer, but the surfaces continue to be kind to our horses. Plus, we can go to Billy if we have concerns; he does a great job and is a very nice guy!”

And not that anyone would need further proof that horses are pretty important to McKeever, he shared that Crowned King, who is 19, is enjoying retirement on his farm in Benton!

 

 

Announcer John McGary Off to Zia Park This Week

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary will wrap up his duties in the booth on Wednesday, September 18. He will head to Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico to call the races for their 2019 live racing season which begins on Saturday, September 21. This will be the third season that McGary has traveled west to call their Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races.

Stepping in for the final four days of the meet will be Brian Arrigoni, who serves as the racing analyst at Canterbury Park. Five years ago, Arrigoni was a fan, attending the races at the popular Minnesota racetrack, and introduced himself to Eric Halstrom, who was their General Manager and now serves as Vice President of Operations at Louisiana Downs. Halstrom was impressed with Arrigoni’s love of racing and hired him. He serves as one of the track’s handicappers and hosts their paddock preview show with a variety of co-hosts, including track announcer Paul Allen. The popular Allen calls play-by-play for the Minnesota Vikings on KFAN and is the voice of the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network. When Allen’s NFL duties took him away from the booth, Arrigoni called the Canterbury Park races on August 18.

“This is a very exciting for me,” said Arrigoni, who will make his first visit to Louisiana.  “I am very grateful to Eric for hiring me at Canterbury and offering me the opportunity to call the final four days of the Louisiana Downs meet.”

The two Minnesota Vikings fans will reunite with Arrigoni stepping in beginning Saturday.

“I’m very familiar with Brian’s abilities and his enthusiasm and love of racing,” said Halstrom. “He will be a great replacement for John during the last week of our meet. It will be an excellent way for him to get some experience and exposure as well.”

 

Memorable Week for Jockey Emanuel Nieves

Last year’s leading rider Emanuel Nieves was injured in a spill on May 7 and just returned to action at the end of August.  On Wednesday, September 17, he won the sixth race aboard Mizztic Tale for trainer Joey Foster and finished second on Swift Shock in the final race of the afternoon. The 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico had little time to celebrate his comeback victory as he quickly departed for the for the hospital where his wife, Milyorie went into labor with the couple’s first child. Ian Emanuel was born early this morning and all three are doing well!

 

Trainer, Jock Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of September 18, Joey Foster leads his fellow conditioners with 53 wins this season topping.  Karl Broberg who has won 45 races. Beverly Burress has saddled 28 winners and  Jorge Lara andSteve Asmussen are tied for fourth with 19 wins each.

Carlos Lozada continues to lead the jockey standings with 91 wins holding off Joel Dominguez by three win Aubrie Green has won 50 races to move up to third in the standings and Richard Eramiarounds out the top four in the standings with 47 winning mounts.

 End Zone Athletics, Inc. has built an insurmountable lead in the quest for owner honors with 25 wins. Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. is second with 13 winners and Ronnie P. Ward follows with 11 victories and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC rounds out the top four owners with ten winners since the meet began on May 4.

 

Final Week of the 2019 Thoroughbred Meet

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time through Wednesday, September 25.  The closing day of the season will include the presentation of the End of the Meet honors for the leading owner, trainer and jockey.

 

 

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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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS INDUCTS ITS INAUGURAL RACING HALL OF FAME CLASS ON SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019

Fans Voted Alysheba, Bobby Barnett, Calvin Borel and Tom Sweeney as Additional Honorees

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs held its first Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 13. The event, which was open to the public, honored the achievements of horse owners, trainers, jockeys, horses and property contributors who have played pivotal roles in the rich history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

A committee was formed earlier this year and selected individuals and racing champions for its first class. In addition, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs offered racing fan an opportunity to vote for  additional inductees in the category of trainer, jockey, horse and contributor.

 

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame honored the following recipients:

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Owner

  • John Franks – John Franks was the leading owner at Louisiana Downs for 18 years and much of the track’s success can be attributed to him.  Franks was an Eclipse Award winning owner and his homebred Answer Lively was honored as 1998 Two-Year Colt of the Year.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Frank L. Brothers Winner of nearly 800 races at Louisiana Downs and nine consecutive training titles from 1980 – 1988.  Brothers is the all-time  leader in Stakes victories with 127.  Louisiana Downs named a stakes race in his honor in 2019.

IMG_8181

  • C.W. Walker – The track’s second all-time leading trainer with 820 wins.  A mainstay at Louisiana Downs he was best known for his prowess with claiming horses but also had 16 stakes winners. He was the leading trainer in 1977.

 

 

FAN VOTE HONOREE:

Barnett_Bobby

  • Bobby Barnett – A three-time Louisiana Downs training title champion (1991, 1994, 1997) and trainer of 2004 Super Derby winner, Fantasticat. He was the primary trainer for John Franks. Winner of nearly 500 races locally.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. – Instrumental in the early development of Louisiana Downs as one of the first owners. The track was a success from the start, setting numerous national records for handle and attendance throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s under his oversight.

FAN VOTE HONOREE:

  • Tom Sweeney – Longtime General Manager at Louisiana Downs including the early days of the racetrack. Sweeney was at the forefront of the inclusion of video poker and improved gaming at Louisiana Downs.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

 

IMG_8187

  • Ronald Ardoin – A resident of Haughton, Louisiana, Ardoin is the all-time winningest jockey at Louisiana Downs. He made history as the 16th jockey nationally to have 5,000 wins when he rode Heart of an Angel to victory at Louisiana Downs.

 

IMG_8192.jpg

  • Larry Snyder – Legendary Jockey with a 35-year riding career. Loved by fans at Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn Park, Larry worked as a steward at the track after retiring from the saddle in 1994.

 

 

FAN VOTE HONOREE:

Calvin Borel

  • Calvin Borel – A three-time leading jockey at Louisiana Downs  (1991, 1992, 1994) and winner of over 1200 races locally.  Borel is a nationally prominent rider with multiple Kentucky Derby wins

 

 

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Sunday Silence – The Super Derby Winner in 1989 in the same year that he was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. He was winner of The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeder’s Cup Classic.  Sunday Silence was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.

IMG_8199

  • Free Spirits Joy – Louisiana-bred winner of the Super Derby in 1991. He made 29 Louisiana starts and 3 at Remington Park. He died at the age at 27 in 2015.

 

 

FAN VOTE HONOREE:

  • Alysheba – Won the Super Derby in 1987 after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Alysheba was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1993.

 

“We are so pleased to have honored the first class of the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame today,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations “The accomplishments of these prodigious leaders, horsemen and tremendous racing champions are truly significant, both for Louisiana and the national racing industry. We thank our committee for their efforts and of course, our dedicated fans for voting the additional recipients into the inaugural Racing Hall of Fame.”

 

Live racing resumes on Monday, July 15 and the two major stakes days are right around the corner. Louisiana Cup Day will run on Saturday, August 3, featuring seven stakes, including the  $60,000 Prelude, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that serves as the local prep race for the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby. Saturday, September 7 is the date for this year’s Super Derby Day card, which features seven stakes with purses totaling $600,000.

 

For more information on the 2019 Thoroughbred meet, which runs through September 25, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.

 

 

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 TO HOST RACING HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY ON SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019

Super Derby Festival 40 Charity Golf Tournament Set for Thursday, August 29

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will honor the first class of its Racing Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 13. It will serve as an opportunity to honor the achievements of horse owners, trainers, jockeys, horses and property contributors who have played pivotal roles in the rich history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame Committee selected the following recipients for the inaugural class. In addition, fan voting was offered and the public contributed to honor one additional inductee in the category of trainer, jockey, racing contributor and horse.  Those results will be announced in Saturday’s induction ceremony, which will take place in the lobby of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs following the races.  The festivities are open to the public.

 

These are the inductees into the 2019 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Owner

  • John Franks – John Franks was the leading owner at Louisiana Downs for 18 years and much of the track’s success can be attributed to him.  Franks was an Eclipse Award winning owner and his homebred Answer Lively was honored as 1998 Two-Year Colt of the Year.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Frank L. Brothers Winner of nearly 800 races at Louisiana Downs and nine consecutive training titles from 1980 – 1988.  Brothers is the all-time  leader in Stakes victories with 127.  Louisiana Downs named a stakes race in his honor in 2019.
  • C.W. Walker – The track’s second all-time leading trainer with 820 wins.  A mainstay at Louisiana Downs he was best known for his prowess with claiming horses but also had 16 stakes winners. He was the leading trainer in 1977.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. – Instrumental in the early development of Louisiana Downs as one of the first owners. The track was a success from the start, setting numerous national records for handle and attendance throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s under his oversight.

 

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

  • Ronald Ardoin – A resident of Haughton, Louisiana, Ardoin is the all-time winningest jockey at Louisiana Downs. He made history as the 16th jockey nationally to have 5,000 wins when he rode Heart of an Angel to victory at Louisiana Downs.
  • Larry Snyder – Legendary Jockey with a 35-year riding career. Loved by fans at Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn Park, Larry worked as a steward at the track after retiring from the saddle in 1994.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Sunday Silence – The Super Derby Winner in 1989 in the same year that he was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. He was winner of The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeder’s Cup Classic.  Sunday Silence was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.
  • Free Spirits Joy – Louisiana-bred winner of the Super Derby in 1991. He made 29 Louisiana starts and 3 at Remington Park. He died at the age at 27 in 2015.

 

 

Super Tuesday Pick 4 Pays $797 on July 9

A new wager, the Super Tuesday Pick 4, continues to build momentum since making its debut on Tuesday, June 25.  The wager teams two Caesar’s Entertainment racetracks: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, which both offer Tuesday matinee racing programs. Two races from each property are selected for the Super Tuesday, Pick 4 wager, with an industry-low 15% takeout.

 

With just two favorites winning in the Tuesday, July 9 sequence, a record $787.10, for the $.50 wager, was returned to savvy horseplayers.

 

“We are very pleased that horseplayers are catching on to this wager,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations “Offering the 15% takeout was very important to us. Had we run it with the standard takeout of 25%, the winning ticket would have paid $694.50. We want the best for our horseplayers and look forward to offering the Super Tuesday Pick 4 through September 24.”

 

 

Super Derby Festival 40 Charity Golf Tournament Set for August 29

The Super Derby Festival 40 will be held on Thursday, August 29, at Northwood Hills Golf Clubin 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.

“I am always so humbled to see all the support that the Golf Tournament brings to our ministry,” said Sistrunk. “The people in our industry are some of the most caring and supportive people that I know.   And plus, it is a great time that we can get away from the everyday duties of the racetrack.  I am truly a blessed person and Chaplain to get to work with such a great group of people!!!

 

It’s also an event that brings a lot of joy to the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs employees, including Jennifer Sokol, who serves as racing office coordinator.

 

“We had an amazing turnout last year,” said Sokol. “Chaplain Jimmy does so much for our racing community and our annual charity golf tournament is such an enjoyable way to raise valuable funds. We thank our horsemen and local businesses for their support and look forward to another successful event this year!”

 

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.

 

The deadline for registration is August 9. Hole sponsorships for $100, including a sign, are available, but must be purchased by August 1.

 

For further information, please contact Sokol at (318) 741-2512.

 

 

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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JOCKEY CARLOS LOZADA SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS THIS SEASON AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

 Super Tuesday Pick 4 Debuts on Tuesday, June 25

 

Bossier City, LA – Things are going very well for jockey Carlos Lozada so far this season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, Lozada learned his craft in Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of riders that have reached the top ranks in North America. Irad Ortiz, Jr, Jose Ortiz as well as 2018 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves, all graduated from the school.

 

Lozada, 34, made his United States debut at Evangeline Downs in 2007. He has won 490 races over the last 12 years, and is off to an excellent 13th year on the Louisiana circuit.

 

He is the current leading jockey at  Harrah’s Louisiana Downs with 40 wins since the meet began on May 4. Lozada has made 14 more trips to the winner’s circle than fellow riders Joel Dominguez and Richard Eramia.  Last year’s champion, Nieves is sidelined with a broken arm.

 

Lozada appreciates the hard work of his agent, Ronald Ardoin, in booking him quality mounts for each live race day. He rides for a multitude of trainers including Joey Foster, Joe Duhon, John Henry Prather, Jr., James Hodges, Raul Rangel and Alfonso Banderas.

 

On May 20, Lozada rode three winners for three different barns, including a game victory in the seventh aboard Come On Get Higher ($14.60) for Rangel. The 5-year-old Louisiana-bred gelding was tenth by five lengths in the early stages before Lozada guided him to a neck victory in the one-mile turf event.

 

The horsemen all concur that Lozada is a skilled rider with an excellent work ethic.

 

“He’s a good jockey and comes to work every day,” said Duhon.

 

When it comes to turf, dirt, sprint or route races, Lozada has no preference. He just loves to ride and enjoys the challenges of each race.  Ardoin, who will be inducted into the Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame on July 13, is well respected in the industry and on the backside. He makes his rounds in his golf cart and Lozada is there with him each morning.

 

“Ronald has won over 5,000 races,” said Lozada. “That’s a lot of races! He watches me ride and sometimes gives me suggestions.  It helps and we get along well. The main difference is that I would rather walk the barns than ride in the golf cart!”

 

Ardoin is enjoying his association with Lozada, citing just one minor flaw.

 

“His English is very good,” stated Ardoin. “I just wish I could get him to talk more!”

 

Lozada is pleased that his family is with him here this summer in Louisiana. He and his wife, Eileen, have three sons: Anthony, Jean Carlos and Jandriel. They will return to Puerto Rico when the school year gets underway.

 

This would be the first leading rider title for Lozada, but that honor is not his top priority.

 

“I’ve never won a title,” he acknowledged. “Things have been going well for me at Louisiana Downs, but I am not thinking too far ahead. I  just want to try hard to win every race and provide for my family.”

Lozada Family
Leading jockey Carlos Lozada, his wife, Eileen and sons Anthony, Jean Carlos and Jandriel. Hodges Photography.

Super Tuesday Pick 4 Debuts on Tuesday, June 25

A new wager, the Super Tuesday Pick 4, will be introduced on Tuesday, June 25.  The wager teams two Caesar’s Entertainment racetracks: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, which both offer Tuesday matinee racing programs. Two races from each property will be selected for the Super Tuesday, Pick 4 wager: races six and seven from Indiana Grand and races two and three from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

Both racetracks will offer their fans a free Pick 4 mini-program with past performances on the four races as well as selections from analysts Rachel McLaughlin and John McGary.

 

The Super Tuesday Pick 4 Wager with a reduced takeout of 15%,  will be offered each Tuesday through September 24.

 

“We are excited about this wager,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs vice president of operations.  “Our horseplayers have been highly receptive to handicapping contests and innovative wagers, so we believe they will embrace the Super Tuesday Pick 4 with enthusiasm. It is a tremendous opportunity for both properties to attract new fans and follow the action in Louisiana and Indiana.”

 

 

Fan Vote for the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame Open Through June 29

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs recently announced the formation of its first Racing Hall of Fame. It will honor the achievements of horse owners, trainers, jockeys, horses and property contributors who have played pivotal roles in the rich history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.  Members of the first class are John Franks, Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr., Frank L. Brothers, C. W. Walker,  Ronald Ardoin, Larry Snyder, Sunday Silence and Free Spirits Joy.

 

Beginning on Saturday, June 15, the public will be able to cast a vote for an additional inductee in the category of trainer, jockey, racing contributor and horse.  Voters can select ONE of the following nominees in each category  by clicking on the following link on the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs website:  http://shout.lt/bQZNV.  

 

Voting will close on Saturday, June 29 with the Racing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony slated for Saturday, July 13.

 

 

No Live Racing Wednesday, June 26 Due to Addition of Thursday, July 4 Card

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs has amended its schedule for the next two weeks to include a live card on Thursday, July 4.  There will be no racing on Wednesday, June 26. Live programs will continue on Saturday, June 29 and take place Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

 

On Thursday, July 4, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will host a family-friendly afternoon of live racing, kid’s activities and Exotic Animal Racing.  Post time is 3:15 pm for all cards.

 

 

Indiana Horseplayer Wins the  Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge  

Caesars Entertainment horse racing properties – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs , Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, and Harrah’s Philadelphia hosted its first-ever Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge on Saturday, June 22.

 

Dean Ehrgott of Camby, Indiana, who participated at Indiana Grand, was the top player, winning the $20,000 first prize by the margin of 40 cents over second place finisher Paul Napoli, who participated at Harrah’s Philadelphia and earned $10,000.

Ehrgott, a former Standardbred owner in the state of Indiana, credited his friends, Greg Gass and Deniz Sidkey, for helping him get to the top of the leaderboard. He was visible in the top 10 standings throughout the contest and was able to select Chief Red Bull in the final race offered to complete the challenge with a bankroll of $129.00 and take home the top prize. Napoli had an accumulated total of $128.60 in second place while Frederick Nielsen, also of Harrah’s Philadelphia, finished third with a balance of $127.00 to earn the $1,500 third place prize. Erghott’s second entry finished fourth with a $107.80 tally. Places four through 10 received $500 each.

 

“I got lucky and hit three races that paid pretty good at Philly (Harrah’s Philadelphia),” said Ehrgott. “I’m a harness guy, so going into the last race, I got help from my Thoroughbred guy and I selected the one (Chief Red Bull). He finished second and paid $3.40, which was just enough to move me into the lead. We play a lot in these types of contests,” added Ehrgott. “We play in the Santa Anita Breeders Cup $10,000 Challenge every year. We have a lot of fun traveling around.”

 

In addition to his $20,000 top prize, Ehrgott will also receive a seat in the 2020 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas. And, if he should win the 2020 NHC, Ehrgott would earn a $1 million bonus provided by the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge.

 

Players in the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge made selections from all four racetracks involved in the contest. A total of 20 races were provided, 12 of which were mandatory for each player. Also, each player had to use one race from each track, making it a unique format as they played both Thoroughbred and Standardbred races during the four-hour challenge. All four racetracks had at least one player in the top ten.

 

“This was a great way to expose more of our Louisiana Downs customers to the Caesars Entertainment family of racetracks and do so in a very rewarding way,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president of operations at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

 

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 INAUGURAL RACING HALL OF FAME WITH INDUCTION CEREMONY PLANNED FOR SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019

The Public is Invited to Vote for Additional Members Beginning June 15

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce the formation of its first Racing Hall of Fame. It will serve as an opportunity to honor the achievements of horse owners, trainers, jockeys, horses and property contributors who have played pivotal roles in the rich history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

A committee was formed earlier this year and selected individuals and racing champions for its first class. The Racing Hall of Fame Induction and Celebration will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2019. In addition, officials will open the voting for additional inductees to loyal racing fans so they will share in the selection of members to the Racing Hall of Fame. Beginning on Saturday, June 15, the general public will have the opportunity to cast a vote for those who have made a lasting impact over the years at the racetrack. Fans can cast their vote online, with the deadline on Saturday, June 29.

 

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame Committee has voted the following recipients into the Racing Hall of Fame.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Owner

  • John Franks – John Franks was the leading owner at Louisiana Downs for 18 years and much of the track’s success can be attributed to him.  Franks was an Eclipse Award winning owner and his homebred Answer Lively was honored as 1998 Two-Year Colt of the Year.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Frank L. Brothers Winner of nearly 800 races at Louisiana Downs and nine consecutive training titles from 1980 – 1988.  Brothers is the all-time  leader in Stakes victories with 127.  Louisiana Downs named a stakes race in his honor in 2019.
  • C.W. Walker – The track’s second all-time leading trainer with 820 wins.  A mainstay at Louisiana Downs he was best known for his prowess with claiming horses but also had 16 stakes winners. He was the leading trainer in 1977.

 

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. – Instrumental in the early development of Louisiana Downs as one of the first owners. The track was a success from the start, setting numerous national records for handle and attendance throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s under his oversight.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

  • Ronald Ardoin – A resident of Haughton, Louisiana, Ardoin is the all-time winningest jockey at Louisiana Downs. He made history as the 16th jockey nationally to have 5,000 wins when he rode Heart of an Angel to victory at Louisiana Downs.
  • Larry Snyder – Legendary Jockey with a 35-year riding career. Loved by fans at Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn Park, Larry worked as a steward at the track after retiring from the saddle in 1994.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Sunday Silence – The Super Derby Winner in 1989 in the same year that he was named Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male. He was winner of The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeder’s Cup Classic.  Sunday Silence was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1996.
  • Free Spirits Joy – Louisiana-bred winner of the Super Derby in 1991. He made 29 Louisiana starts and 3 at Remington Park. He died at the age at 27 in 2015.

 

Beginning on Saturday, June 15, racing fans will be able to cast a vote by clicking on the following link:  http://shout.lt/bQZNV. Voters can select ONE of the following nominees in each category.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Trainer

  • Bobby Barnett – A three-time Louisiana Downs training title champion (1991, 1994, 1997) and trainer of 2004 Super Derby winner, Fantasticat. He was the primary trainer for John Franks. Winner of nearly 500 races locally.
  • Cole Norman – Won eight consecutive Louisiana Downs training titles from 1998 – 2005.  He set a record for most training wins in a season in 2002 with 125 victories. All-time leading trainer in terms of wins with 825.
  • Jack Van Berg -Won his lone Louisiana Downs training title in 1976.  He conditioned two Super Derby winners: Gate Dancer in 1984 and Alysheba in 1987.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Jockey

  • Calvin Borel – A three-time leading jockey at Louisiana Downs  (1991, 1992, 1994) and winner of over 1200 races locally.  Borel is a nationally prominent rider with multiple Kentucky Derby wins.
  • Randy Romero – A two-time leading rider at Louisiana Downs (1979 and 1980) with nearly 600 wins at the racetrack. Romero was nationally prominent with numerous Grade I victories.
  • Angelo Trosclair – Louisiana Downs  leading jockey in 1976. He won more than 1300 races during his career that spanned multiple decades at Louisiana Racetracks.

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Contributor

  • Pat Pope – The longest tenured Racing Secretary at Louisiana Downs.  He also served as Racing Secretary at numerous tracks including currently at Oaklawn and Belmont Park.
  • Tom Sweeney – Longtime General Manager at Louisiana Downs including the early days of the racetrack. Sweeney was at the forefront of the inclusion of video poker and improved gaming at Louisiana Downs.
  • David Vance – Served as the Vice President of Operations for Debartolo Companies.  Vance spent a decade at Louisiana Downs before moving to Remington Park in Oklahoma.

 

 

LAD Racing Hall of Fame Horses

  • Alysheba – Won the Super Derby in 1987 after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Alysheba was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • Happy Ticket – Louisiana bred that broke her maiden at Louisiana Downs. She went on to win the Ballerina at Saratoga and was named Louisiana Downs Horse of the Year in 2004.
  • Shishkabob – A Louisiana Downs legend winning numerous races over the course of his long career. Shishkabob has a statue in his honor outside the entrance to the track.
  • Tiznow – Won the Super Derby in 2000 and was named Louisiana Downs Horse of the Year.  Tiznow won two Breeders’ Cup Classics and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2009.

 

 

“The history of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is truly remarkable,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations “We wanted to honor the many exceptional racing champions and people who have contributed both to the history of our racetrack and made an impact on the national racing industry.  Of course, we have a tremendously loyal fan base and felt that they deserved a voice in selecting some of the inductees into the inaugural Racing Hall of Fame.”

 

 

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 JOINS OTHER CAESARS RACING PROPERTIES IN HOSTING A ONE OF A KIND HANDICAPPING CHALLENGE ON SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2019

Top Ten Finalists Will Share $35,000. Winner to Take $20,000 and a Shot at $1 Million

Bossier City, LA – Caesars Entertainment horse racing properties – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs , Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, Harrah’s Hoosier Park, and Harrah’s Philadelphia are pleased to announce the first-ever Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge.

 

The Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge will offer horseplayers from around the country the unique opportunity to handicap both Thoroughbred and Standardbred races for a top prize of $20,000, a seat at the $3,000,000 estimated National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), and an additional $1 million cash prize if the winner of the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge also captures the NHC victory. This one-day challenge will be hosted on Saturday, June 22, 2019.

 

The Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge – sponsored by John Deere and Cowpokes – will be hosted at the four Caesars Racing properties: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, LA; Indiana Grand Racing and Casino in Shelbyville, IN; Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson, IN; and Harrah’s Philadelphia in Chester, PA. Players can also participate at the tracks’ Off-Track Betting properties: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Mound OTB in Tallulah, LA; VooDoo BBQ & Grill and Winner’s Circle OTB in New Haven, IN; Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis, IN; and Winner’s Circle OTB in Clarksville, IN. Participants must be 21 or over.

 

Entry into the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge requires a $150 fee due upon check-in on the day of the challenge. Reservations are currently being accepted and the challenge will be capped at 400 entries. Players are encouraged to sign up quickly as the entries will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Contestants will be limited to two entries per person. The entry fee will include dining offerings at each location, race day simulcast programs and tip sheets.

 

The first-place winner in the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge will walk away with $20,000, a seat at the $3,000,000 estimated National Horseplayers Championship, and a chance at an additional $1 million cash prize in the event of a double victory. First-place winner must be eligible to participate in the NHC in order to receive the NHC seat.  For more information about the National Horseplayers Championship, visit www.nhctour.com. The $1 million prize will be awarded either as an annuity that pays $25,000 per year for forty years without interest or as a discounted lump sum payment of $550,000, which represents the approximate present value of the annuity. Second place will be awarded $10,000 while the third-place winner will take home $1,500. There will be additional cash prizes for fourth through tenth place.

The format for the challenge will require contestants to make 12 $2 win and place fictional wagers on the designated challenge races. Contestants must place a win and place wager on one horse in 12 mandatory races out of 20 available from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Indiana Grand, and Harrah’s Hoosier Park. At least one race per track must be included on each entry to be eligible for the challenge. The wagers must be placed at a designated challenge location. All wagers are fictional; no money is paid on challenge wagers. The challenge time frame is 4:15 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (EST). Reservations for the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge can be made by calling (866) 357-1731. Official rules and more information is available on the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs website or by contacting Harrah’s Louisiana Downs coordinator Shelli Briery at 318-742-0711 extension 54382.

 

“We are pleased to be part of this innovative handicapping contest,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs vice president of operations.  “Our Road to the Kentucky Derby Handicapping Contest was well-received by our local horseplayers. There were 201 enthusiastic participants who encouraged us to offer more contests in the future. We know they will enjoy the Caesars Rewards Handicapping Challenge with the chance to win a seat to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas.”

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of May 21, Beverly Burress has won five races to top the trainer standings.  Joey Foster, Joe Duhon andRonnie Ward have each saddle four winners. There is also a tie for third-place between Patti Turner, Steve Asmussen, Karl Broberg and Philip Mark Dison. They have each won three races since the 2019 Thoroughbred season began on May 4.

 

Carlos Lozada won three races on the Monday, May 20 card to take the lead in the jockey standings. He has made nine trips to the winner’s circle with  Joel Dominguez and  Eguard Tejera following closely with eight wins each. Hector Del-Cid and Richard Eramia have both won seven races to date.

 

It was a tough start for last year’s leading rider, Emanuel Nieves, who was injured on May 11, when his mount, Girls Life clipped heels and fell. Nieves was transported to the hospital with a dislocated clavicle and broken arm.  He has an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation, according to his agent, Ronald Ardoin.

 

End Zone Athletics, Inc., Ronnie Ward and Steve Asmussen have each won three races to top the owner leaderboard.

 

Memorial Day Pig Races and Family Fun Day                

The popular Memorial Day Pig races return on Monday, May 27.Don’t miss these wacky races as these high flying little porkers race to the finish line. The Pig Races will take place between post times for the Memorial Day Race Card  There will also be a Petting Zoo for children and a kid’s area with bounce houses and water slides. Face painting is available for purchase. Eat up as food trucks serve up great local bites. First Post Time 3:15 pm.

 

For more information on the upcoming racing season and special events, click here.

 

Daily Racing Promotions and Daily Offers

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs welcomes patrons four days a week for live racing and daily simulcast wagering on racetracks across the country. Promotions and food and beverage specials include:

 

Mobile Mondays | Enjoying the races? Check-in on the Caesars Rewards app from your smart phone to receive an entry into the weekly “Day at the Races” drawing. Winner will receive a dining experience for two to the Harrah’s Club (max value of $100).

 

2X Tuesdays | Present your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive a 2X racing reward credit multiplier each Tuesday.

 

Watch & Wager Wednesdays | Enjoy hotdogs, popcorn, beer and racing programs for only $1.00!

 

$5.00 Free Bet | Saturdays, May 4 & 18 |Opt in and receive a ticket at the Racing Kiosks between 11am and 5pm. Saturdays, May 11 & 25| Redeem your Free Bet at the Mutuel Counter.

 

Super Saturdays| Race to more Rewards by presenting your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive up to a 7X Racing Reward Credit Multiplier.

 

Saturday Pick 4 Family Day| Enjoy a box seat for 4 with food and drinks for only $16 on select Saturdays.

 

Bet & Earn| Check out Harrah’s new Bet & Earn offered through Racing by Caesars Rewards. Guests wagering using a Caesars Rewards card will now receive one Tier Credit and one Reward Credit on a three dollar bet.

 

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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RODNEY CLEMENTS WINS THE ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY HANDICAPPING CONTEST AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Shreveport Resident Tops 200 Contestants in the Four Month Contest

 

Bossier City, LA – Opening day of the 2019  Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred meet got underway on Saturday, May 4. A packed house was on hand for the return of live racing and a full afternoon of Kentucky Derby festivities.

Rodney Clements -Road To Derby Contest Winner
Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Office Manager, contest winner Rodney Clements and Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. Photo courtesy of Michael Greer/ Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

Rodney Clements of Shreveport, was hoping that his final contest entry in the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest would snare him the $1,000 grand prize. However, he was one of countless horseplayers who selected Maximum Security to capture the Run for the Roses. After the lengthy steward’s inquiry and subsequent disqualification, Clements headed home and had to wait until the following week before getting the call from Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations, that he was the winner.

 

Clements was honored in between races on Saturday, May 11.

 

“It was pretty exciting and I enjoyed walking around carrying my big check,” said Clements. “I made it to the Winner’s Circle without a horse!”

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is Clement’s  “home track” and he enjoys watching and wagering with family members, including his wife and brother. Finding his personal game plan for picking winners has been an enjoyable challenge.

 

“I wanted to understand the mechanics of handicapping,” he explained. “I bought one book, which turned into two, then three and now I have a library. I have created my own ‘matrix system’ where I print my DRF early past performances and mark all over them. Maybe I am old school in that way, but I come to the track with my notebook.”

 

He had several longshots throughout the weekly contest that began on January 19. He selected Maximum Security to win the Florida Derby on March 30 at Gulfstream Park.

 

“He stuck out in my mind,” recalled Clements. “In the beginning stages of the race, it looked like he wasn’t even paying attention; then he got going and left them in the dust.”

 

The Road to the Kentucky Derbv Handicapping Contest at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs was open to the public. There was no entry fee and fans were asked to make selections on major stakes races as well as the key Kentucky Derby prep races. Each participant earned points with weekly and monthly prizes were awarded.

 

“The response from our horseplayers for this contest was outstanding,” said Halstrom. “We appreciate the loyalty of our local race fans and 2 we plan to be more active in the contest market.  A Caesars Entertainment contest is slated for late June with information forthcoming.”

 

Future contests and racing promotions will be well-received by Clements and other loyal Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racing patrons.

 

“It was a great contest,” added Clements. “Offering free entry with daily, monthly and a grand prize gets a lot of people interested in racing. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Eric Halstrom and the marketing team to support horseplayers. Anything to bring new fans to horseracing has to be applauded!”

 

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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LIVE THOROUGHBRED RACING AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS GETS UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, MAY 4

Opening Day Features Eight Races and the Simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs commences on Saturday, May 4. A new post time has been set for each Saturday with live racing to begin at 12:55 pm (Central). The meet’s additional race days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will get underway at 3:15 pm.

 

Opening day will feature plenty of action for racing fans and an entertaining day for families as well. Beginning at 11:00 am along the track apron, there will be a children’s area with free bounce houses, water slides, face painting and culinary delights from the most popular food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier City.  Of course, racing fans will also be able to watch and wager on the  145th Kentucky Derby and each of the stakes races from Churchill Downs.

 

Track announcer John McGary and his guest, Jimmy “The Dee”, will conduct a pre-race handicapping seminar at The Inside Rail at 11:55 am. They will offer analysis of Saturday’s eight live races at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs as well as their insights on the Kentucky Derby.

 

Saturday will also mark the final day of the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest which got underway at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on January 19. Fans were able to make selections on major stakes races as well as the key Kentucky Derby prep races. Each participant earned points and following this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the winner will be awarded the $1,000 grand prize.

 

“The response from our horseplayers for this contest has been exceptional,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “We appreciate the loyalty of our local race fans and look forward to kicking off the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season with our  opening day festivities, live racing, and of course, the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby.”

 

Trainers To Watch

Karl Broberg, who won the 2018 training title here with 36 wins, returns with a full barn. Last December, he became just the third Thoroughbred trainer in North America to win 500 races in a calendar year. Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake were the only other horsemen to accomplish that feat.  Heading into May of this year, Broberg is the leading trainer, by wins, according to Equibase statistics.

 

Joey Foster of Vinton, Louisiana, who was the leading conditioner in 2016 and 2017,  Al Stall, Jr., Beverly Burress, H. B. Johnson,  James Hodges, Scott Gelner, Patti Turner, Jorge Gomez, Ronnie Ward, and Danny Pish will also be prominent throughout the meet.

 

“We thank our many returning horsemen for their support of our Thoroughbred meet,” said David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing. “While our Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby always receives tremendous attention, we are also committed to carding plenty of races for accredited Louisiana-breds on both our main track and Franks Turf Course.”

 

Leading Rider Emanuel Nieves Hoping for A Second Title

Jockey Emanuel Nieves  won the first leading rider title of his career last September when he made 85 trips to the winner’s circle.  The hard-working and affable young man is eager to replicate his success at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs when the meet begins on Saturday.

 

Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, the 26-year-old Nieves attended Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school that also produced the sensational Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose.

 

Two years ago, Nieves got the call from respected former rider and jockey agent Ronald Ardoin encouraging him to come to Louisiana Downs.

 

Nieves appreciates the hard work of his agent in getting him quality mounts. He rides for a multitude of trainers including Joey Foster, Al Stall, Jr., H. B. Johnson and Joe Duhon

 

“Every day he shows up at the barn, even on his days off.” explained Foster. “He has an excellent work ethic; he’s polite and very professional.”

 

Following last year’s meet at Louisiana Downs, Nieves made a trip to Puerto Rico to see his family and had an opportunity to ride several races at Hipodromo Camarero.

 

“Riding in Puerto Rico was very special for me,” he explained. “Plus, it is always wonderful to visit my family.”

 

And on that topic, Nieves proudly announced that he will become a father in October when he and his girlfriend of four years, Milyorie Marie, will welcome their first child, a son!

 

For now, his mindset is on arriving early each morning in the barn area, working horses for each of his clients and winning races four afternoons a week.

 

“I believe in working hard everyday and doing my best for the horsemen who I ride for,” stated Nieves. “I want to win the title here again!”

 

Nieves will have plenty of competition as the 2019 jockey colony will include Gerardo Mora, Aubrie Green, Larry Taylor, Erica Murray, Eguard Tejera, Hector Del-Cid and Jose Guerrero as the meet gets underway.

 

2019 Thoroughbred Stakes Schedule

The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major stakes programs, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 3 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7.

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs 2019 Stakes Schedule

Saturday, August 3                           Louisiana Cup Day               Noms close July 20

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$50,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 Super Derby Prelude                         3 Y0                                        1 1/16 miles

 

Saturday, September 7                     Super Derby Day                  Noms close August 24

$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)

 

To see a complete list of the stakes schedule, including nominations, click here.

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Special Events

145th Kentucky Derby                                                         Saturday, May 4

Watch and wager on the most anticipated race of the year from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, all while sipping on a Mint Julep and donning your favorite derby! Post time for the race is 5:50pm (CST). And if you are looking for a great place to dine while watching all of the live racing action, Harrah’s Club has an All You Can Eat Buffet offering for just $29.99 per person ($39.99 on special race days). Harrah’s Club will be open on Saturdays May-September from 12pm until 6pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 318-752-6367.

 

Mother’s Day Diamond Dig                                                Saturday, May 11

Mothers can swipe their Caesars Rewards card to be entered in to the Diamond Dig drawing at the Racing Kiosk located across from Racing Publications. 10 Moms will be drawn for a chance to dig on the racetrack for a Diamond Ring valued at $2,500! One Mom will walk away with new bling and nine others will walk away with a Cubic Zirconia Ring. The Mother’s Day Diamond Dig is scheduled to take place between the 5th & 6th race of the day. First Post Time 12:55 pm.

 

Preakness Stakes Family Fun Day                                      Saturday, May 18     

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is the place to be to watch and wager on the live racing action at Pimlico and Preakness 144 as the quest for the Triple Crown continues. Enjoy family fun on the apron including food trucks, inflatables, face painting and the thrill of live racing action. First Post Time 12:55pm Preakness Stakes Post Time: 5:20pm (CST).

 

Memorial Day Pig Races and Family Fun Day                 Monday, May 27

Don’t miss these wacky races as these high flying little porkers race to the finish line. The Pig Races will take place between post times for the Memorial Day Race Card. There will also be a Petting Zoo for children and a kid’s area with bounce houses and water slides. Face painting is available for purchase. Eat up as food trucks serve up great local bites. First Post Time 3:15 pm.

 

For more information on the upcoming racing season and special events, click here.

 

Daily Racing Promotions and Daily Offers

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs welcomes patrons four days a week for live racing and daily simulcast wagering on racetracks across the country. Promotions and food and beverage specials include:

 

Mobile Mondays | Enjoying the races? Check-in on the Caesars Rewards app from your smart phone to receive an entry into the weekly “Day at the Races” drawing. Winner will receive a dining experience for two to the Harrah’s Club (max value of $100).

 

2X Tuesdays | Present your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive a 2X racing reward credit multiplier each Tuesday.

 

Watch & Wager Wednesdays | Enjoy hotdogs, popcorn, beer and racing programs for only $1.00!

 

$5.00 Free Bet | Saturdays, May 4 & 18 |Opt in and receive a ticket at the Racing Kiosks between 11am and 5pm. Saturdays, May 11 & 25| Redeem your Free Bet at the Mutuel Counter.

 

Super Saturdays| Race to more Rewards by presenting your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive up to a 7X Racing Reward Credit Multiplier.

 

Saturday Pick 4 Family Day| Enjoy a box seat for 4 with food and drinks for only $16 on select Saturdays.

 

Bet & Earn| Check out Harrah’s new Bet & Earn offered through Racing by Caesars Rewards. Guests wagering using a Caesars Rewards card will now receive one Tier Credit and one Reward Credit on a three dollar bet.

 

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 ITS 2019 THOROUGHBRED STAKES SCHEDULE

Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby Set for Saturday, September 7

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season will get underway at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, May 4. The 84-day meet includes 14 stakes highlighted by two major events, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 3 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7.

 

The marquee stakes of the meet is the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby, which will be run at a distance of mile and one-sixteenth. Contested on the Frank’s Turf Course in 2017, the Super Derby reverted to a main track feature last year. Hall of Fame conditioner, Steve Asmussen won the 2018 Super Derby with Limation. The prestigious race, which had its first running in 1980, had a noted history as a graded stake run at nine furlongs on the dirt.  The nationally acclaimed racing event has a distinguished list of past champions, including 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.

 

There are a few changes for 2019 Super Derby Day. The date has been moved up one week and will be contested on Saturday, September 7, instead of Labor Day weekend. Also, the $60,000 Unbridled Stakes, a turf feature, has been renamed as the Frank L. Brothers, to honor the Louisiana horsemen, who was a leading trainer in Louisiana before gaining national prominence in the sport.

 

“We want racing fans to see our Super Derby live and enjoy the many special events planned for our signature event at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said Eric Halstrom, Louisiana Downs director of operations “We found that many patrons had out-of-town plans or holiday gatherings with family members on Labor Day weekend, so we shifted our date to the next weekend.”

 

Frank L. Brothers is Louisiana horseman, who won over 2,300 races and trained notable champions including Pulpit, Hansel, First Samurai and Arch. In 1991, the New Orleans native won two of the three U.S. Triple Crown races. He was inducted into the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame that year, and in 2015, became the first Louisiana trainer to be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Brothers won nine training titles at Louisiana Downs and officials felt that naming a race in his honor was well-deserved. He retired four years ago and lives in Kentucky with his wife, NBC racing reporter, Donna Barton Brothers.

“Frankie is a very skilled horseman and was highly respected by our fans and horseplayers across the country,” stated David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs director of racing. “We are pleased to honor him and look forward to presenting an excellent Super Derby card.”

The annual Louisiana Cup  Day will feature six divisional stakes for horses bred in Louisiana, with four six-furlong main track stakes as well as the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic and the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff to be contested at a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf. The program also includes the $60,000 Prelude, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that serves as the local prep race for the Super Derby. Purses for the Louisiana Cup Day stakes will total $360,000.

 

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a 3:15 p.m. post time and Saturday’s card to commence at 12:55 p.m. For more information on the upcoming racing season, which runs through September 25, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs 2019 Stakes Schedule

 

Saturday, August 3                           Louisiana Cup Day               Noms close July 20

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$50,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

$60,000 Super Derby Prelude                         3 Y0                                        1 1/16 miles

 

Saturday, September 7                     Super Derby Day                  Noms close August 24

$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)

 

To see a complete list of the stakes schedule, including nominations, click here.

 

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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