Opening Day Features Eight Races and the Simulcast of the 145th Kentucky Derby
Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs commences on Saturday, May 4. A new post time has been set for each Saturday with live racing to begin at 12:55 pm (Central). The meet’s additional race days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will get underway at 3:15 pm.
Opening day will feature plenty of action for racing fans and an entertaining day for families as well. Beginning at 11:00 am along the track apron, there will be a children’s area with free bounce houses, water slides, face painting and culinary delights from the most popular food trucks in Shreveport-Bossier City. Of course, racing fans will also be able to watch and wager on the 145th Kentucky Derby and each of the stakes races from Churchill Downs.
Track announcer John McGary and his guest, Jimmy “The Dee”, will conduct a pre-race handicapping seminar at The Inside Rail at 11:55 am. They will offer analysis of Saturday’s eight live races at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs as well as their insights on the Kentucky Derby.
Saturday will also mark the final day of the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest which got underway at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on January 19. Fans were able to make selections on major stakes races as well as the key Kentucky Derby prep races. Each participant earned points and following this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the winner will be awarded the $1,000 grand prize.
“The response from our horseplayers for this contest has been exceptional,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “We appreciate the loyalty of our local race fans and look forward to kicking off the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season with our opening day festivities, live racing, and of course, the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby.”
Trainers To Watch
Karl Broberg, who won the 2018 training title here with 36 wins, returns with a full barn. Last December, he became just the third Thoroughbred trainer in North America to win 500 races in a calendar year. Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake were the only other horsemen to accomplish that feat. Heading into May of this year, Broberg is the leading trainer, by wins, according to Equibase statistics.
Joey Foster of Vinton, Louisiana, who was the leading conditioner in 2016 and 2017, Al Stall, Jr., Beverly Burress, H. B. Johnson, James Hodges, Scott Gelner, Patti Turner, Jorge Gomez, Ronnie Ward, and Danny Pish will also be prominent throughout the meet.
“We thank our many returning horsemen for their support of our Thoroughbred meet,” said David Heitzmann, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Director of Racing. “While our Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby always receives tremendous attention, we are also committed to carding plenty of races for accredited Louisiana-breds on both our main track and Franks Turf Course.”
Leading Rider Emanuel Nieves Hoping for A Second Title
Jockey Emanuel Nieves won the first leading rider title of his career last September when he made 85 trips to the winner’s circle. The hard-working and affable young man is eager to replicate his success at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs when the meet begins on Saturday.
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a municipality south of San Juan, the 26-year-old Nieves attended Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school that also produced the sensational Ortiz brothers, Irad and Jose.
Two years ago, Nieves got the call from respected former rider and jockey agent Ronald Ardoin encouraging him to come to Louisiana Downs.
Nieves appreciates the hard work of his agent in getting him quality mounts. He rides for a multitude of trainers including Joey Foster, Al Stall, Jr., H. B. Johnson and Joe Duhon
“Every day he shows up at the barn, even on his days off.” explained Foster. “He has an excellent work ethic; he’s polite and very professional.”
Following last year’s meet at Louisiana Downs, Nieves made a trip to Puerto Rico to see his family and had an opportunity to ride several races at Hipodromo Camarero.
“Riding in Puerto Rico was very special for me,” he explained. “Plus, it is always wonderful to visit my family.”
And on that topic, Nieves proudly announced that he will become a father in October when he and his girlfriend of four years, Milyorie Marie, will welcome their first child, a son!
For now, his mindset is on arriving early each morning in the barn area, working horses for each of his clients and winning races four afternoons a week.
“I believe in working hard everyday and doing my best for the horsemen who I ride for,” stated Nieves. “I want to win the title here again!”
Nieves will have plenty of competition as the 2019 jockey colony will include Gerardo Mora, Aubrie Green, Larry Taylor, Erica Murray, Eguard Tejera, Hector Del-Cid and Jose Guerrero as the meet gets underway.
2019 Thoroughbred Stakes Schedule
The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major stakes programs, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 3 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 7.
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs 2019 Stakes Schedule
Saturday, August 3 Louisiana Cup Day Noms close July 20
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile 2 YO LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies 2 YO Fillies LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint 3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint 3 YO & Up LA-Bred Six furlongs
$50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic 3 YO & Up LA-Bred 1 1/16 miles (T)
$50,000 Louisiana Distaff 3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 Super Derby Prelude 3 Y0 1 1/16 miles
Saturday, September 7 Super Derby Day Noms close August 24
$60,000 Frank L. Brothers 3 YO & Up 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 River Cities 3 YO & Up F&M 1 1/16 miles (T)
$60,000 Happy Ticket 2 YO Fillies One Mile (T)
$60,000 Sunday Silence 2 YO One Mile (T) $300,000 SUPER DERBY (G3) 3 YO 1 1/16 miles
$60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin 3 YO LA-Bred One Mile (T)
$60,000 Elge Rasberry 3 YO Fillies, LA-Bred One Mile (T)
To see a complete list of the stakes schedule, including nominations, click here.
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Special Events
145th Kentucky Derby Saturday, May 4
Watch and wager on the most anticipated race of the year from Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, all while sipping on a Mint Julep and donning your favorite derby! Post time for the race is 5:50pm (CST). And if you are looking for a great place to dine while watching all of the live racing action, Harrah’s Club has an All You Can Eat Buffet offering for just $29.99 per person ($39.99 on special race days). Harrah’s Club will be open on Saturdays May-September from 12pm until 6pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made by calling 318-752-6367.
Mother’s Day Diamond Dig Saturday, May 11
Mothers can swipe their Caesars Rewards card to be entered in to the Diamond Dig drawing at the Racing Kiosk located across from Racing Publications. 10 Moms will be drawn for a chance to dig on the racetrack for a Diamond Ring valued at $2,500! One Mom will walk away with new bling and nine others will walk away with a Cubic Zirconia Ring. The Mother’s Day Diamond Dig is scheduled to take place between the 5th & 6th race of the day. First Post Time 12:55 pm.
Preakness Stakes Family Fun Day Saturday, May 18
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is the place to be to watch and wager on the live racing action at Pimlico and Preakness 144 as the quest for the Triple Crown continues. Enjoy family fun on the apron including food trucks, inflatables, face painting and the thrill of live racing action. First Post Time 12:55pm Preakness Stakes Post Time: 5:20pm (CST).
Memorial Day Pig Races and Family Fun Day Monday, May 27
Don’t miss these wacky races as these high flying little porkers race to the finish line. The Pig Races will take place between post times for the Memorial Day Race Card. There will also be a Petting Zoo for children and a kid’s area with bounce houses and water slides. Face painting is available for purchase. Eat up as food trucks serve up great local bites. First Post Time 3:15 pm.
For more information on the upcoming racing season and special events, click here.
Daily Racing Promotions and Daily Offers
Harrah’s Louisiana Downs welcomes patrons four days a week for live racing and daily simulcast wagering on racetracks across the country. Promotions and food and beverage specials include:
Mobile Mondays | Enjoying the races? Check-in on the Caesars Rewards app from your smart phone to receive an entry into the weekly “Day at the Races” drawing. Winner will receive a dining experience for two to the Harrah’s Club (max value of $100).
2X Tuesdays | Present your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive a 2X racing reward credit multiplier each Tuesday.
Watch & Wager Wednesdays | Enjoy hotdogs, popcorn, beer and racing programs for only $1.00!
$5.00 Free Bet | Saturdays, May 4 & 18 |Opt in and receive a ticket at the Racing Kiosks between 11am and 5pm. Saturdays, May 11 & 25| Redeem your Free Bet at the Mutuel Counter.
Super Saturdays| Race to more Rewards by presenting your Caesars Rewards card when making a wager and receive up to a 7X Racing Reward Credit Multiplier.
Saturday Pick 4 Family Day| Enjoy a box seat for 4 with food and drinks for only $16 on select Saturdays.
Bet & Earn| Check out Harrah’s new Bet & Earn offered through Racing by Caesars Rewards. Guests wagering using a Caesars Rewards card will now receive one Tier Credit and one Reward Credit on a three dollar bet.
About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.