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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Pick 6 Jackpot Added to the Wagering Options

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Joey Foster Hopes to Defend His Trainer Title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Competitive Jockey Colony Ready for Action

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

Carlos Lozada was dominant throughout the 2019 meet as he earned his first leading rider title. The 35-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished the meet with a record of 428 starts, 95 wins, 70 seconds and 52 thirds and purses of $1,076,410. He began riding in the United States in 2007 after attending Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of riders, including Irad Ortiz, Jr, Jose Ortiz as well as 2018 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Wagering Format

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS 2020 THOROUGHBRED LIVE RACING SEASON TO GET UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, JUNE 6

 

The 64-Day Meet Will Run Through Wednesday, September 23

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 2, will commence on Saturday, June 6. An emergency meeting of the Louisiana State Racing Commission took place on May 5 and unanimous approval for the revised opening date was granted.

Due to state mandates regarding COVID-19, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs concluded its 2020 Quarter Horse meet on Monday, March 16, two days ahead of the scheduled final date. Thoroughbreds have been training here since Monday, April 13 when a judge ruling allowed horsemen to be permitted on the grounds.

The stable area will open on May 6 for horsemen who have been allocated stalls for the 2020 Thoroughbred season.  Ship in hours will be from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm and trainers must contact Natalie Moses at (318) 820-8324 prior to shipping. No exceptions will be permitted.

“We appreciate the patience of all of our horsemen and wish them a safe transition in shipping their runners to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “This has been an incredibly difficult time for our industry, and we will all be grateful to see the return of live racing here next month.”

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

The first condition book will be available on Equibase in the near future. Further information on the Thoroughbred stakes schedule will be forthcoming, but officials have confirmed that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will not be contested in 2020.

The 64-day meet will continue through Wednesday, September 23 with live racing to run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 3:15 pm (Central).

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Gov. Edwards: State-Led Program To Offer COVID-19 Small Business Help

Firms of fewer than 100 employees will be able to borrow up to $100,000 at below-market interest rates

BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a new Louisiana Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, which will offer loans of up to $100,000 to Louisiana small businesses of fewer than 100 employees that are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. To help Main Street and rural businesses sustain operations, the loans will require no payments for 180 days and carry below-market interest rates of no more than 3.5 percent.

The Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program, or LPGP, is a partnership of Louisiana Economic Development, which will provide a loan guaranty fund; the Louisiana Bankers Association, whose membership will provide the loans; and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority, which will administer the program. A total loan pool of $50 million will be quickly disbursed to eligible small businesses across Louisiana.

“Time and again, Louisianans have demonstrated the desire and commitment to help their neighbors in times of crisis,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Loan Portfolio Guaranty Program is another great example of that service. So far, we have commitments from more than 30 banks across Louisiana who have agreed to participate in this program. We believe it will be instrumental in helping our small businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Louisiana loan program partners — LED, LBA and LPFA — envision helping small businesses meet critical needs for operating their firms during and beyond the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The beauty of this program is we are not competing with the essential financial products offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration — we are complementing SBA,” LED Secretary Don Pierson said. “Our bankers know their customers well. They have confidence in the LPFA to administer this program in a professional, proactive manner; and they have the further confidence of an LED loan guaranty fund that will enhance the security of these loans.”

LPGP loans will provide up to $100,000 in immediate financing to help small firms impacted by COVID-19 meet their payroll, retain employees, pay their rent and mortgages, and keep their lights on and their doors open. Interested businesses may find loan details at OpportunityLouisiana.com/covid19, and a list of participating bankers will be posted at the site by Friday as banks complete their participation agreements.

“Louisiana banks play an important role in economic activity, and continue to do so during disaster recovery,” said Louisiana Bankers Association CEO Robert Taylor. “The work Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority have done on this loan guaranty program for small businesses is great. We appreciate the opportunity to get the program details out to all the bankers in the state. The can-do spirit of everyone involved has been very positive.”

“The LPFA has an extensive history of assisting the State of Louisiana in some of its most challenging times,” said President and CEO James W. Parks II of the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority. “I am pleased that LPFA’s experience and capacity has allowed us to quickly bring this program forward. Access to funding for Louisiana businesses is a priority, and by working with our Louisiana banking community we can make loan decisions here in Louisiana. This state guaranty program will leverage available funds and enhance eligibility.”

Through the program, bankers will have the flexibility to extend loan terms for up to five years, while interest rates will be below conventional commercial lending rates and no higher than 3.5 percent. To date, participating banks have requested allocations for about two-thirds of the $50 million in loan capacity available through LPGP.

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