HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES PURSE INCREASE OF $1,500 PER RACE BEGINNING AUGUST 8

The Annual Louisiana Cup Day Will Take Place on Saturday, September19 with the Support of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA)

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that overnight purses will be increased by $1,500 for the remainder of the 2020 Thoroughbred meet. The adjustment will go into effect on Saturday, August 8 and will continue through the conclusion of the racing season on Wednesday, September 23.

“We thank our local horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19, so we are pleased to reward these hard working men and women with a purse increase of $1,500 across the board.”

Further good news is that Louisiana Cup Day will be held at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, September 19.  The annual day of racing, which traditionally takes place in August, showcases accredited Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the event was put on hold, but Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA); Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, have worked diligently to put the annual stakes day back on the calendar.  On June 16, the LTBA Board of Directors voted to earmark $100,000 for Louisiana Cup Day.

“We are grateful to LTBA for allocating the funds so we can run Louisiana Cup Day once again this year,” added Heitzmann. “This is a very important day for our breeders, horsemen, and of course, the fans at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.”

Louisiana Cup Day Featured Stakes                                   

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$40,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

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

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

 

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FOUR WIN SATURDAY AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS VERY SPECIAL FOR JOCKEY JOEL DOMINGUEZ

Bossier City, LA – Jockey Joel Dominguez is still smiling as he reflects on winning four races on Saturday’s seven-race card at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

His successful afternoon began in race two with Don Guillermo ($8) for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges and three for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen; All Bizness ($3); American Dream ($5) and Curlin Beauty ($11.80). Curlin Beauty, a 4-year-old daughter of Curlin, drew off to an eight-length score in her third career effort, but it was American Dream is a filly by Triple Crown champion American Pharoah that really impressed her rider.

“She’s still learning, but what a powerful filly,” stated Dominguez.

The 30-year-old Dominguez was born in Durango, Mexico, but never rode as a child. He was very athletic, playing soccer and was a standout boxer in his weight class. His experience in the saddle began in Kentucky, galloping for both Asmussen and veteran Kentucky-based conditioner, Neil Howard.

“Riding for Steve this meet means a great deal to me,” stated Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked hard and tried to learn everything. As I progressed, Steve began to trust me galloping some of his top horses; I remember the first time I worked Rachel Alexandra. That was very special and gave me so much confidence!”

This is the fourth year Dominguez has been based at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. He began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug on May 22, but transitioning smoothly to the journeyman ranks. Maybe more than smoothly as he won six races on the June 23, 2018 card at Louisiana Downs. But winning four races in this very challenging 2020 live racing season was an even bigger accomplishment.

“It hasn’t been easy,” he responded when asked about the impact of COVID-19. “When we were in quarantine, I just tried to get things done at the house and spend time with my family (wife Janet and two sons). I was missing getting on horses.”

The resumption of live racing on June 6 was a big relief to Dominguez and he has been winning plenty of races for this season for Asmussen. Misty Drinkwater is serving as assistant again this year and she appreciates what Dominguez brings to the Asmussen barn.

“He’s hard working and very professional, “she said. “We get along very well and he has been a big part of our team here.”

Dominguez is represented by former jockey, Don Simington and the two have a strong bond.

“Don gives me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “I admire that he is the first one to arrive in the morning and the last to leave. Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”

Dominguez won 91 races here last year, finishing second in the standings to Carlos Lozada who made 96 trips to the winner’s circle. He appreciates that the racing officials at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs have worked hard to maintain the recommended protocols for COVID-19.

“I ride with a mask and shield protector,” he said. “Everyone here is trying to make it safe for us, so each of the riders are making adjustments and doing what we need to do.”

 

 

Charity Golf Tournament Set for Thursday, August 20

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

The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides valuable assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers.

The sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m.  The fee is $80 per personor $320 for a four-person team.  The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap.

Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by 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 13. For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512.

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through July 25, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 23 wins since the meet began on June 6. Steve Asmussen is second with 18 victories.  Last year’s leading conditioner Joey Foster is tied with Shane Wilson for third; both have 13 winners.  Joe O. Duhon and Ronnie P. Ward are tied with nine wins each.

Joel Dominguez, aided by his four-bagger on Saturday, has taken the lead in the jockey standings with 30 wins. Jack Gilligan, who rides first-call for Broberg, is second with 26 trips to the winner’s circle. Last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada has ridden 22 winners to date and Jose Guerrero rounds out the top four with 19 victories.

Steve Asmussen has moved into the lead in the owner standings with seven wins from 18 starts. End Zone Athletics Inc. has moved into the lead in the owner standings with 12 wins from 23 starts.  End Zone Athletics, Inc and Wayne T. Davis are tied for second with nine wins and horses owned by Ronnie P. Ward have won six races to date.

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

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LTBA Earmarks $100,000 Contribution to Enable Running of Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs

The Board of Directors of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, voted at their June 16th meeting to earmark $100,000 dollars to be used for Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs in hopes that a card will be put together.

Louisiana Cup Day is a day of racing designed to showcase accredited Louisiana bred thoroughbreds at Louisiana Downs.  The event  includes multiple Louisiana bred stakes races.

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, and its effects on racing, Louisiana Downs cut the stakes program from its condition book this year in order to keep overnight purses at a solid level. Consequentially, Louisiana Cup Day was suspended for 2020.

Not satisfied with this turn of events, Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the LTBA; Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, put their heads together to work on a plan to revive the Louisiana bred stakes day.  “We have been working on possible ways to bring back Louisiana Cup Day,” said Roger Heitzmann. “I believe we can get there, but a lot depends on handle. We can’t count on the funds we normally receive from slots and video poker. Hopefully field size remains at a good number. Larger fields will help entice the patrons to wager on Louisiana Downs.”

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

Each  of Louisiana’s four racetracks has a day designated for Louisiana bred thoroughbred stakes. In addition to Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, there is Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana Legends Night at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, as well as Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Louisiana Downs has opened the meet with good number so far. If Louisiana Cup Day is added back to the schedule, it will likely be run near the end of the meet in late September.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

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BRITISH JOCKEY JACK GILLIGAN ENJOYING SUCCESS AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Bossier City, LA – What’s the story behind the newest addition to the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs jockey colony?  Jack Gilligan has been one to watch since the meet began last month and his ear-to-ear grin in the winner’s circle is just a small part of his allure!

Through the first six weeks of the meet, the 23-year-old jockey has ridden 77 horses, with 21 wins, 14 seconds and 10 thirds. He’s currently tied with Joel Dominguez, who has been one of the top riders in Shreveport for the past four years.

Born in Newmarket, England, Gilligan’s father, Patrick, is a Thoroughbred trainer and it was not long before his son found a calling with horses.

“I was riding a pony from five on,” said Gilligan. “When I turned 13, I began exercising horses before and after school and on weekends.”

Gilligan was enrolled in the British Racing School at 14 years-old. He explained that he received one day off from high school each week to attend classes at the esteemed program for aspiring riders.

“We were taught every aspect of racing and caring for horses,” he explained. “It was a great foundation.”

He graduated in May, 2013 and two weeks later, at the age of 16, rode in his first race.

Interestingly, his father was born in New York, so with dual citizenship, Gilligan set his sights on a riding career in the United States. Just before he turned 18, he arrived in Lexington, Kentucky and began riding as an apprentice at Turfway Park. He was the third leading rider at Ellis Park and made the move to Louisiana for the 2017-2018 Fair Grounds meet. One of the horsemen who gave him some very good mounts was Bret Calhoun who entrusted him to ride Silver Dust. The victory for the son of Tapit, owned by Tom Durant in the 2019 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds was his first graded stakes.

His momentum was derailed on January 25 of this year when he was involved in a nasty spill at Fair Grounds, suffering at broken collarbone and seven facial fractures.

“I was out until the last week of the Fair Grounds meet,” said Gilligan. “I knew it would be hard for me to get mounts in Kentucky, so I stayed in Louisiana.”

His agent in Kentucky was Liz Morris, but in Louisiana, Gilligan is represented by veteran Richie Price. They were aiming for Lone Star Park, but the uncertainty of when their season would begin prompted Price to consider shifting to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. The enticement of riding for leading trainer Karl Broberg was icing on the cake.

“He’s a nice kid and is making the most of this meet,” stated Price, who is also handling mounts for apprentice Kody Kellenberger. “Jack is gaining a lot of confidence here.”

Broberg who has been the North American trainer in wins since 2014, is enjoying his association with the young jockey.

“I heard he was contemplating options and I needed a rider,” said Broberg. “I’m very pleased with Jack; he puts his horses in the right position, and we are winning races.”

Personality-wise, you would be hard-pressed to find two more different personality types than the irascible Broberg and the optimistic and upbeat Gilligan.

“He’s hilarious,” acknowledged Gilligan when asked about Broberg. “No filter whatsoever and tells it like it is. But he is fully invested in our industry and I am lucky to work with his assistant, Kevin Martin here at Louisiana Downs. He does a great job!

Gilligan loves the history, culture and food in Louisiana and recently bought a place in New Orleans. Now, riding afternoons with heat indexes in the 100’s is another story!

“The first weekend (in June) I thought I was going to die,” he said. “I got some relief by dunking my head in the ice bucket even though all the jocks were laughing at me.”

But he takes it all in stride because the camaraderie in the jocks room is very special.

“I was a little worried about fitting in, but everyone has been very friendly,” said Gilligan. “I love the atmosphere in the room and got command of the Cajun accent when I was in the same part of the Churchill Downs jocks room with Calvin Borel.  At first I didn’t understand half the words, but I’ve got them down now!”

 

Charity Golf Tournament Set for Thursday, August 20

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

The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides valuable assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers.

The sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m.  The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team.  The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap.

Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by 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 13. For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512.

 

 

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:

Monday Funday | Fill your cup for a buck at the Paddock Bar.

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 food, beverage and racing specials for $1.00 each!

Super Saturday| Enjoy a box seat for 4 with food and drinks for only $16. Present your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive up to a 7X Racing Reward Credit Multiplier.  

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

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

 

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

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SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS FOR TRAINER SHANE WILSON

Bossier City, LA – When the 2020 Thoroughbred racing season got underway on June 6 at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, there were several new horsemen stabled at the Shreveport racetrack. The most successful of the group has been trainer Shane Wilson.

It is the first time in eight years that the Haughton, Louisiana native has shifted his base to Shreveport.  There was no hesitation when he was asked about returning for the meet.

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

From that point, Wilson set his training schedule and “was ready to roll”.

In addition to the support from Heitzmann and his racing office staff, Wilson gives high marks to track superintendent, Billy McKeever, who oversees both the dirt oval and the Franks Turf Course.

“The main track is amazing,” said Wilson. “We arrived with some sore horses and they are now sound. Billy does an outstanding job.”

So far, it has worked out well for Wilson and his main owner, Wayne T. Davis. They are in second-place in the trainer and owner standings, trailing Karl Broberg and End Zone Athletics, Inc.

Wilson, 49, worked summers at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, starting when he was 15. He mucked stalls and hot walked for trainer Jack Van Berg. His brief foray to college did not last as he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in racing.  He served as assistant to Sam David for seven years before going out on his own in 1998.

His top horse is the multiple-stakes winning Mocito Rojo a 6-year-old son of Mutadda. Wilson claimed the Kentucky-bred for owner Wayne T. Davis for $10,000 in a December 2016 maiden race at Delta Downs. The six-time stakes winner has amassed a record of 17 wins from 30 starts and earnings of $818,063. In 2019, Mocito Rojo won the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (G3) at Lone Star Park and the Lukas Classic Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. He returned to the Grand Prairie, Texas racetrack on Sunday, June 28, finishing fifth in the $75,000 Lone Star Mile.

“He never likes dirt in his face and came back covered by a half of an inch of sand,” said Wilson. “It would have been nice to win as it was my owner’s 91st birthday, but the horse cooled out fine and we made it back to Louisiana Downs late Sunday night.”

Davis, who resides in Plain Dealing, Louisiana, a small town in Bossier Parrish, is appreciative of the care Wilson gives each of his horses. His winners this meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs include Green Monster; Cap Roc Miner, Artic Peace, Lucky Dare and most recently, a five-length score by Luvmewhenimgone.

Another key member of the Wilson team is veteran jockey Filimon Rodriguez, who is a full-time employee. The 53-year-old has ridden on the Texas and Louisiana circuits for three decades. He gallops the 30 head of Wilson’s stabled at Louisiana Downs and rides the majority of the Wilson trainees in Shreveport.

Aside from his racing ties, Wilson has another notable connection to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. He met his wife, Becky, the daughter of horseman Jim O’Brien, here. The couple has two sons. Peyton is 19 years-old and his brother, Connor, 16, have both been helping their dad this summer.

“It’s a tough business,” stated Wilson.  “You have to make some very difficult decisions. I started the same time as some very successful horsemen, including good friend, Bret Calhoun. To reach a really high level, you have to travel, and I chose to stay in Louisiana to be closer to my family.”

He will ship select horses to Evangeline Downs this summer but is more than content to be stabled at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“They showed their commitment to the horsemen,” he said. “So, I am happy to run here and support their meet.”

 

 

Charity Golf Tournament Set for Thursday, August 20

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

The event will benefit Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk and The Backside Benevolence Fund, which provides valuable assistance to the Louisiana racing community and backstretch workers.

The sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m.  The fee is $80 per person or $320 for a four-person team.  The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and t-shirt/cap.

“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 take care of each other and this fundraising event is a great deal of fun for everyone!”

It is also an event that brings a lot of joy to the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs employees, including Jennifer Sokol, racing operations manager.

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

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through June 29, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with 14 wins since the meet began on June 6.  Shane Wilson has saddled eight winners to move into second-place with Steve Asmussenthird with seven victories.  Patti Turner and Joe O. Duhon are tied for fourth-place with five winners each.

Jack Gilligan, who rides first-call for Broberg, has taken the lead over his fellow riders with 15 trips to the winner’s circle.  Joel Dominguez is also off to a solid start and follows closely with 14 wins. Jose Guerrero is third with 11 winners and last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada has ridden eight winners to date.

End Zone Athletics Inc. has moved into the lead in the owner standings with seven wins from 18 starts.  Wayne T. Davis is tied for second with Asmussen. Both have won five races this season.

 

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

 

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JOCKEY EMANUEL NIEVES IS HEALTHY AND WINNING RACES THIS SEASON AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Bossier City, LA – There is no doubt that we have a very talented jockey colony at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs! Several former leading riders will be gunning for a repeat title, including Emanuel Nieves.

 

The 27-year-old Nieves was born in Puerto Rico and learned his craft at Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school near San Juan. It is a two-year program that has produced some of the top riders in North America, including Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz and his brother, Jose.

 

Nieves made his riding debut in 2012 at Finger Lakes in New York, but Louisiana has been his circuit for the past three years. He credits his agent, Ronald Ardoin for his success as the former jockey works very hard and has solid relationships with pretty much every trainer in the region.

 

He was the leading rider at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in 2018, winning 85 races, but last year was much tougher. He was injured in a spill in the second week of the meet and underwent surgery.  His recovery took over four months before he was cleared to ride.  The remainder of the year was very challenging as he had to rebuild his business.

 

“It was very hard to get back,” admitted Nieves. “Many of my trainers had secured other riders at Evangeline Downs. It was almost like starting over.”

 

However, the support from many horsemen returned and Nieves is healthy and was ready when the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season began on Saturday, June 6.  He showed his prowess in the saddle winning the final race of the card with Leadem Farm Inc’s Friendlyproduction. The 3-year-old colt by Run Production was making his debut for trainer Joseph Smith. Smith had no expectations as the $10,000 purchase had not been showing much in his morning works.

 

“I just told Emanuel that I wasn’t sure what we had, but to just figure it out,” said Smith.

 

In the early stages the Louisiana-bred was well behind the early pacesetters, but Nieves patiently guided his colt to the outside and drew off to a resounding eight-length victory. His morning line was 12-1, but he was completely overlooked in the wagering and returned $86 to those savvy handicappers that saw his potential!

 

Smith, who was an assistant in Texas to trainer Danny Pish until he went on his own in 2013, credits Nieves for a very patient ride on Friendlyproduction.

“Truthfully, I don’t know how many other riders would have done as well,” added Smith. “They might just have given up, but not Emanuel! I have a small stable, so a win like that means a great deal to me and my owners.”

 

Friendlyproduction is entered back on Monday, June 22 and Nieves will have the return call at odds of 9-2.

 

Nieves is grateful to all the horsemen who continue to give him opportunities and does not dwell on the misfortune of 2019. Healthy and a proud new daddy to his 8-month-old son, Ian, he is more focused this year than ever.  He strives to work hard in the mornings, win races in the afternoon and spend quality time with his wife and son.

 

“It’s not how you start, but how you finish,” said Nieves.

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through June 15, Karl Broberg tops the trainer standings with five wins since the meet began on June 6.  The nation’s top conditioner by wins for the past six years finished second to Joey Foster here last season. Steve Asmussen is second with four victories and Foster and Joe O. Duhon are tied for third-place with three winners each.

 

Joel Dominguez is off to a solid start as he leads his fellow riders with eight wins so far. Last year’s leading jockey Carlos Lozada follows closely with six trips to the winner’s circle. Jack Gilligan also has won six races. Kevin Smith is next with five wins and Emanuel Nieves and   Jose Guerrero are tied with four victories.

 

Asmussen is the current leading owner with three wins to date.  End Zone Athletics Inc; Ismael Thoroughbreds LLC; Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. andTri-Star Racing, LLC have each won two starts this season.

 

Belmont Stakes Set for Saturday, June 20

In one of the more unusual racing seasons, the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the final leg of racing’s Triple Crown, will lead off the series this Saturday. Racing fans will be able to watch and wager on the 152nd Belmont Stakes as well as several other quality graded stakes from the New York racetrack. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will offer a $5.00 Free Bet Promotion for Belmont.  Fans can stop by the Promotional Kiosk in the Racing Pavilion between 11am and 5pm to pick up their voucher, which can be redeemed on Saturday, June 27.

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

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

 

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

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

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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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