STEVE ASMUSSEN TOPS BOTH THE TRAINER AND OWNER STANDINGS FOR THE 2020 THOROUGHBRED MEET AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Jockey Joel Dominguez Clinches His First Leading Rider Title

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which got underway one month late due to COVID-19, wrapped up on Saturday, September 26. Eleven races were contested today: three from Tuesday, September 22 and eight races from the Wednesday, September 23 card which were canceled due to heavy rain from Tropical Storm Beta.

 

Steve Asmussen Wins Both Leading Trainer and Owner Titles

Steve Asmussen. Coady Photography

It’s been quite a summer for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen who claimed both leading trainer and owner of the meet titles at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

As a trainer, Asmussen started 124 runners, winning 41 races and adding 22 seconds and 23 thirds. He sent a combination of maidens, claimers and allowance entrants, doing well on both the main track and Franks Turf Course. Rue Lala, owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt in partnership with Spendthrift Farm LLC, broke her maiden here impressively on September 5 and wheeled back in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies, finishing a game second to multiple stakes winner Mirabeau.

“She is a very nice Louisiana-bred,” said Asmussen. “The Heiligbrodts were one of my first owners and their support means a great deal to me.”

Asmussen credited the racing officials at Louisiana Downs as well as the track surfaces.

“Louisiana Downs stepped up when other tracks were trying to figure out when they might be able to open,” stated Asmussen. “They have excellent track surfaces, which is one of the reasons we support Louisiana Downs and are proud of this accomplishment.”

For the second year in a row, Karl Broberg, finished second with 38 wins. However, Broberg did edge Asmussen in purses with his runners banking $448,275 over $423,440 earned by Asmussen’s string.  Shane Wilson who had not stabled at Louisiana Downs for the past eight years, won 32 races and 2019 leading conditioner Joey Foster rounded out the top four, saddling 24 winners.

Asmussen was able to top his fellow owners with 19 wins from 52 starts. His horses won 37% of their starts with earnings of $147,835.

Wayne T. Davis finished second in the owner standings with 17 wins. His horses earned $188,405 and are conditioned by Shane Wilson. End Zone Athletics, Inc. won 16 of their 75 starts with Tri-Star Racing LLC and M and M Racing finishing in a tie for fourth with nine victories each.

September has been not only successful, but historical for Asmussen as on Friday, September 17, he won his 9,000th career victory with Troy Ounce at Remington Park. He is now second to Dale Baird, who holds the North American record for training wins with 9,445. Over the summer, Asmussen has won races at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park, Remington Park and Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“I believe I won one previous title at Louisiana Downs, but it might have been a year that the Fair Grounds meet was run in Shreveport,” he said.

Asmussen credits assistants Mitch Dennison, who coordinated the Louisiana Downs entries and other duties from his Kentucky base and Misty Drinkwater, who is in her second year of handling the day-to-day duties at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

“Misty deserves a great deal of credit,” added Asmussen. “She is extremely organized and does a fabulous job with our Louisiana runners.”

 

Joel Dominguez Wins His First Leading Rider Title

Joel Dominguez. Hodges Photography.

Jockey Joel Dominguez has made the most of his four-year tenure at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
The 30-year-old native of Durango, Mexico began in 2017 as an apprentice, winning 31 races that year and returning in 2018, losing his bug, but finishing third in the standings as he transitioned to the journeyman ranks. He improved to second last year, but powered to the lead early in the 2020 meet and built an unsurpassable lead over his fellow riders. Dominguez completed the meet with a record of 71 wins, 59 seconds, 50 thirds and $903,325 in purses.

He rode first call for Steve Asmussen this season, who he galloped for in Kentucky when he first came to the United States. His highlights this meet included winning four races on the July 25 card, which included three wins for Asmussen and one for trainer James “Sweet” Hodges.

On Saturday, September 19, Dominguez won two of the six Louisiana Cup Stakes, coming from off the pace aboard Budro Talking for Keith Austin in the Turf Classic and finishing the card with an upset aboard Saltee Stark from the barn of Joe O. Duhon in the Louisiana Cup Sprint.

“I want to thank Steve and all the trainers who put me on mounts,” said Dominguez. “When I was in Kentucky, I worked for Steve and trainer Neil Howard. 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! Neil helped me get my license and we still stay in touch.”

Dominguez paid his dues in Kentucky and his work ethic is applauded by Asmussen.

“Joel is an excellent horseman and has turned into a great jockey,” he said.

Dominguez’ agent is 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 extended his gratitude to his wife Janet, and sons, Andy and Joel Jr. and expressed his thanks to others.

“I also want to thank the Louisiana Downs racing office staff for their hard work as well as my valet Oscar Lara,” added Dominguez. “Mitch and Misty have been great to work with and I appreciate the hard work of all the grooms, hot walkers and exercise riders.  I would not have won this title without so many people helping me!”

Last year’s top jockey Carlos Lozada finished with 40 wins, tying for second in the standings with Jose Andres Guerrero. Next was Jack Gilligan with 37 victories and Gerardo Mora, who won 35 races.

Dominguez will ride next at Delta Downs when their 2020-2021 Thoroughbred season gets underway.

“We thank each of our 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 and a very volatile Hurricane season which has impacted so many people in our state. We look forward to a much better 2021 for our racing industry.”

 

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs to Offer Training and Stall Space to Horsemen

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to offer horsemen an opportunity to train and stable their Thoroughbreds during the months of October through March.

When the Evangeline Training Center closed in 2018, officials acknowledged that many Louisiana Thoroughbred trainers were in need of a facility to stable and train their racehorses.  The Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex offers convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans; Remington Park in Oklahoma as well as upcoming live meets at Sam Houston Race Park and Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Horsemen are encouraged to contact David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing at (318) 741-2511 or (318) 741-2512 for rates and information.

 

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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Budro Talking Gets 1st Stakes Win for Trainer Keith Austin in Louisiana Cup Turf Classic

Louisiana Cup Turf Classic
Louisiana Downs, 9-19-20, Mile and 1/16, Turf
3YO and Up, Accredited Louisiana Breds, $50,000

Budro Talking wins the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic. Hodges photo.

BUDRO TALKING
Tale of Ekati–American Placed
Breeder: J. Adcock & Hume Wornall
Owner: Jack Randall
Trainer: Keith A. Austin
Jockey: Joel Dominguez

2nd
Nippy Red
Redding Colliery–Running Debate
Breeder: J. Adcock
Owner: Patti Turner
Trainer: Patti Turner
Jockey: Jose Andres Guerrero

3rd
In the Navy
Midshipman–Southern Princess
Breeder: Ken Standlee
Owner: Ken Standlee
Trainer: Scott Gelner
Jockey: Alexander Castillo

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Saltee Stark Earns First Stakes Victory in Louisiana Cup Sprint

Louisiana  Cup Sprint
Louisiana Downs, 9-19-20, 6 furlongs
3YO and Up, Accredited Louisiana Breds, $50,000

Saltee Stark edges the competition to win the Louisiana Cup Sprint. Hodges photo

SALTEE STARK
Calibrachoa–Daisy for Rubiano
Breeder: Moon Lake Equine Center LLC
Owner: John S. Turner
Trainer: Joe O. Duhon
Jockey: Joel Dominguez

2nd
Bertie’s Galaxy
Greeley’s Galaxy–Wild Bertie
Breeder: Margie Averett
Owner: Allen Cassedy
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: E. M. Murray

3rd
Monte Man
Custom for Carlos–Sarah’s My Angel
Breeder: Val C. Murrell
Owner: Ivery Sisters Racing
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

 

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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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JOCKEY JOEL DOMINGUEZ SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

In Pursuit of His First Leading Rider Title

 

Bossier City, LA – Jockey Joel Dominguez has made the most of his three-year tenure at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

He began riding here 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. He wrapped up the Louisiana Downs meet as the third-leading rider with 66 wins, completing the year (at Delta Downs) with 83 wins and $1.1 million in purses. This year, he has already won 70 races with five more weeks remaining in the 2019 Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred season.

 

The 29-year-old rider offers his explanation on the success he is having in 2019.

 

“Horsemen know me a lot better now,” stated Dominguez. “I am getting greater opportunities and feeling more confident.”

 

One of his most special victories came on Louisiana Cup Day, Saturday,
August 3, when he won the first stakes of his career.  The win came in the final feature of the afternoon, the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint aboard Diamond Cutter. The 7-year-old mare, owned by World War IV Racing, advanced steadily under Dominguez, drawing off to a 3 ½ length win in the six-furlong event. Trained by Dwight Viator, she was sent off as the seventh choice in the eight-horse field, rewarding her backers with a $23 win payout.

 

“I really enjoyed that race,” he said. “She was not one of the favorites, so I just wanted to do my best. She really responded and it was a great feeling to win my first stakes!”

 

There was only one grin bigger than the smile on the face of Dominguez, and that belonged to his agent, Don Simington.

 

“I broke her maiden as a 2-year-old and rode her several times when she was trained by Pam Simpson,” said Simington. “She never ran that well for me!”

 

Simington, one of the top riders in Texas and Louisiana for three decades, retired in 2015 after winning over 3,400 races. He has been a key factor in the success of Dominguez.

 

“Don has won a lot of races and has given me great advice and feedback,” explained Dominguez. “Trainers know him well and he works hard to book me on good horses.”

Dominguez was athletic as a child growing up in Durango, Mexico, playing soccer and then becoming a boxer; undefeated in his weight class. He moved to Kentucky and learned to ride under the tutelage of his brother-in-law Pablo Teutla. Dominguez galloped for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen as well as the highly respected Kentucky-based conditioner, Neil Howard.

 

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs live racing season will conclude on September 25 and Dominguez is locked in a contentious battle with fellow rider Carlos Lozada, with just one win separating them. It would be the first leading rider title for Dominguez; who is supported by his wife, Janet, and two sons.

 

“I prefer not to think about it and put too much pressure on myself,” admitted Dominguez. “All I can do is continue to work hard and improve my skills. I have always done well getting horses out of the gate and driving to the wire. This year, I feel that I have done a better job of saving ground and getting in better position in the route races.  It’s been a great season and I thank all the trainers who have given me mounts.”

 

 

Super Derby Nominations Close on Saturday, August 24

The Harrah’s Louisiana Downs racing office is busy taking nominations this week for Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7. The card will include seven stakes, highlighted by the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby.

 

The top four finishers from the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude on August 3 have received invitations to return for the mile and one-sixteenth main track championship.  They include winner Leader of Men, owned by Walpole Racing LLC; Trevilion, owned by Tigertail Ranch, who ran second and Paynt Battle  for Norman Stables, LLC. The fourth-place finisher,  Rotation stumbled out of the gate, almost unseating jockey Richard Eramia, but battled to complete the superfecta.  The colt by Tapit, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, who won last year’s Super Derby with Limation.

 

The nominations do not close until Saturday, August 24, but several noted horsemen have expressed interest.  Brad Cox, who won the 2017 Super Derby (run on the turf) with Mr Misunderstood, has nominated four runners.  Also, Ellis Park Derby champion Gray Magician, trained by Peter Miller, has been nominated. The son of Graydar ran second in the UAE Derby (G2) before competing in the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

 

In addition, Mary Rampellini, correspondent and handicapper for the Daily Racing Form, interviewed trainer Al Stall, Jr, who ran Prelude winner Autumn Warrior last year. Stall, who has won three previous editions of the Super Derby, has several runners in mind, including Adele B. Dilschneider‘s homebred Rescind.

 

A full list of nominations will be posted on Monday and the draw for the Super Derby Card will take place this Saturday, August 31.

Noon Post Set for Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7

An early post time of 12:00 pm (Central) is planned for the Super Derby card. The program will feature the following seven stakes:

 

$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)

 

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 Buffetoffering 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.

 

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 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.

 

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

 

Labor Day Festivities Set for Monday, September 2

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 2nd.  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.

Food Trucks from across the region will be serving up great local bites for purchase.

 

 

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 JOEL DOMINGUEZ TRANSITIONS TO THE JOURNEYMAN RANKS WITH CONFIDENCE AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Memorial Day Pig Races Set for Monday, May 28

 

Bossier City, LA – Apprentice jockey Joel Dominguez lost his bug on Tuesday, May 22, but those who have seen him in action have little doubt that he will remain successful at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

 

Dominguez, 28, was born in Durango, Mexico. He was athletic as a child, playing soccer and then becoming a boxer; undefeated in his weight class. He moved to Kentucky and learned to ride under the tutelage of his brother-in-law Pablo Teutla. Dominguez galloped for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for three years and then the highly respected Kentucky-based conditioner, Neil Howard.

 

“Neil was like family to me,” acknowledged Dominguez. “When I first began riding in Kentucky, I wasn’t ready. Neil made sure I knew I could always come back to work for him.”

 

Two years ago, he decided to come to Louisiana Downs as many trainers liked to give mounts to apprentice jockeys.  In 2017, he won 31 races at Louisiana Downs, finishing tenth in the standings.

 

Don Simington, one of the top riders in Texas and Louisiana for three decades, is his agent.

 

“Ronnie Ardoin had his book last year,” said Simington. “I was impressed with Joel and was happy to become his agent. He’s a good, hard worker and came to Louisiana with a solid foundation.”

 

Dominguez has ridden at Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs, but this year picked up several mounts at Fair Grounds which boosted his confidence considerably. Dominguez enjoyed being a part of a very experienced jockey colony, crediting Corey Lanerie and Miguel Mena for serving as mentors. He also got the attention of the betting public on March 30 when he lit up the tote board with 54-1 longshot Reese’s Glory for owner/trainer Jorge Gomez. The 6-year-old mare rallied from last to first, rewarding her supporters with a $110.80 win payout!

 

“Riding in New Orleans was a good experience,” said Dominguez. “I really appreciated that Corey took the time to talk to me and gave me some helpful advice. He’s really talented and I like the way he goes to the front, sets the pace, and knows exactly how much horse he has.”

 

Another jockey who has boosted his confidence is Simington, who hung up his tack in 2015 after winning over 3,400 races.

“Don works very hard as my agent, but also helps me with feedback on my races,” he stated. “When I make a mistake, I always want to correct what I do wrong.”

 

Dominguez rides for many horsemen, including Gomez, Ronnie Ward, Ralph Irwin, Al Cates and Joe Duhon. He has also picked up mounts for Al Stall, Jr.  Veteran Louisiana conditioner Duhon has seen Dominguez develop into a solid race rider.

 

“Joel has a very good work ethic and is very conscientious,” said Duhon. “He had the talent all along; he just needed the experience.”

 

While Duhon may select apprentices to ride some of his horses in the future, he will keep Dominguez in his rotation, even with the added poundage.

 

“He gives 150%, in the mornings and in his races for me; that means a lot,” added Duhon.

 

Dominguez prides himself on showing respect to others and enjoys talking with horsemen and the many assistants, grooms and exercise riders. He is affectionately dubbed “Borrega”, the Spanish word for sheep, because of his curly hair.

 

“Everyone on the backside calls me that, but it’s okay,” he said with a smile.

 

Maybe someday there will be a graded stake win in his future, but for now, he will continue to work hard and fine tune his prowess in the saddle.

 

“I told Don that one of my goals was to finish in the top three in the jockey standings,” he explained. “To be tied for the lead with Richard Eramia means a lot.”

 

As he takes the next step forward in his career, the married father of two offers his thanks to those who have encouraged him so far.

 

“I thank all the trainers, my agent Don and all the people who have helped me,” said Dominguez. My wife is very supportive, and the kids love to see me ride,”

 

He has plenty of opportunities to win his first race as a journeyman in the near future and will embrace the challenge.

 

“I’m not too worried about losing the bug,” said Dominguez. “I feel that have good skills and will always try to improve.”

 

Family Activities Set for Memorial Day

Louisiana Downs will present a family-friendly promotion on Monday, May 28 highlighted by the second annual Memorial Day Pig Races!  The races will take place throughout the afternoon, between live Thoroughbred action. Plus, beginning at noon, there will be a children’s area with a FREE Petting Zoo, bounce houses and water slides. In addition, fans of all ages will be able to enjoy culinary delights from the most popular Food Trucks in Shreveport-Bossier City.

For fans preferring the air-conditioned comfort of the Grandstand, the Harrah’s Club will offer an All you can eat, All Day Buffet for $29.99.

 

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of May 23, Jorge Lara and Karl Broberg top the trainer standings with five wins each. Joe O. Duhon, Dana Whited, Henry E. Uriegas and Danny Pish have each saddled four winners.

 

Richard Eramia and Joel Dominguez are tied for the lead in the jockey standings with ten wins. Last year’s leading jockey Gerardo Mora is second with eight trips to the winner’s circle and Kevin Smith, Emanuel Nieves, Hector Del-Cid and Eguard Tejera follow closely with six wins.

 

Dream Walkin Farms, Inc has won four races to take the early lead in the owner standings. End Zone Athletics, Inc. is next with three wins and Brittlyn Stable Inc, Thomas L. Holyfield, P and D Racing Stables, Jorge Gomez, Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms LLC, Jerry Allen, Ian Yarnot, Joey Keith Davis, Maxie Wayne Kitchings, Sr. and Lara Racing Stables, Inc. follow with two wins each.

 

Wednesday and Saturday Race Day Promotions

Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.

 

The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives.  These include:

  • Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
  • Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
  • Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier

Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.

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.

For further information, please contact:

Trent McIntosh  |  Assistant General Manager
318-752-6980
8000 East Texas Street | Bossier City, LA 71111
www.caesars.com
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