2022 Louisiana Champions Day
by Chad Schexnayder
2022 Louisiana Champions Day
by Chad Schexnayder
NEW ORLEANS, La. (December 10, 2022) – The commanding speed in the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar overcame a slow break to lead through all calls and pour it on late to win by 4 3/4 lengths over Behemah Star. The Star Guitar-sired exacta had plenty in the tanks after coasting through soft fractions, keeping the odds-on favorite Who Took the Money at bay.
Touchuponastar, a lightly raced-3-year-old trained by Jeff Delhomme, ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.66 to collect his first career stakes win. Timothy Thornton rode the winner for Delhomme family, Jerry, Jeff, and ex-NFL quarterback Jake.
Pausing for an instant after the gates flew upon, Touchuponastar recovered quickly, hustling by the early challenger Highland Creek in the early going to set fractions of 24.55 and 49.34. He received no pressure as Highland Creek kept 1 1/2 lengths back to his outside. Behemah Star made his move to take over in second through the final bend but never menaced Touchuponastar who extended his lead to six lengths at the stretch call. Who Took the Money stalked wide in sixth before beginning a late move that never threatened the winner but was game enough to beat Ballinonabudjet for third. The rest finished well back.
“We knew he was a special horse all along,” Timothy Thornton said. “We knew we were coming here to beat Who Took the Money, but when I was able to get that first quarter as slow as I was going, I thought Calhoun’s horse (Highland Creek) was going to pressure me. When they left me alone, I knew I was going to have plenty left, and he was definitely able to show how special he is today.”
Touchuponastar is a son of Guitar Star out of the Lion Heart mare Touch Magic and was bred in Louisiana by Coteau Grove Farms. The four-time winner returned $12.40, $5.60 and $3.00 as the 5-1 third betting choice in the field of seven older males.
Cosmic Train, Highland Creek, and Maga Man completed the order of finish. Beauregard was scratched.
Touchuponastar netted $60,000 for owner Set-Hut LLC and now boasts career earnings of $163,100 from a record of 4-1-1 in 6 starts.
“He’s young and has a big future ahead of him,” trainer Jeff Delhomme said. “We were leaning towards the Classic the entire time (instead of the Sprint). We didn’t run in the prep because earlier in the career we swung back in three weeks and we think that ended up being a little too fast. It opens a lot of doors for us to be able to get nine furlongs, even outside Louisiana-bred horses.”
In other stakes action on the Louisiana Champions Day Card, Kendel D. Standlee’s Big Chopper rolled from off a 44.79 opening half mile to win the $100,000 Sprint going away at 6-1 for trainer Scott Gelner and jockey Corey Lanerie. He was followed home in the trifecta by longshots Relentless Dancer (15-1) and Mike J (46-1). After pressing into a hot pace, 2-1 favorite Bertie’s Galaxy finished last of the 12.
In the $100,000 Ladies Distaff, Thomas Galvin’s A.G’s Charlotte proved her upset win in the Big World last month was no fluke, but this time she was forced to close into moderate fractions instead of having the table set for her. The circumstances were different, but the results were the same as she scored by a narrow margin under a heady, rail-skimming ride by Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. as the 5-2 second choice for trainer Patricia West. The pacesetter Winning Romance, who walked through an opening half-mile in 49.19, battled gamely but finished second as the 3-5 public choice. Fort Polk, last year’s Distaff winner, settled for third.
In the $100,000 Ladies Sprint, Brittlyn Stables’ Ova Charged made short work of her overmatched rivals, rolling home in gate-to-wire fashion to score by 4 ¾ effortless lengths at the 1-5 chalk for Jose Camejo. Free Like a Girl, Spirited Beauty and Snowball completed the order of finish. With the win, Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stables extended their record of Champions Day wins to 15.
In the $100,000 Juvenile, Kevin Stedman’s Late September (5-1) broke inward from the starting gate, wired the field, and eventually survived a claim of foul to give trainer Jose Camejo his first of two Champions Day wins on the card. It was one of three scores on the day for Fair Grounds’ leading rider Jose Luis Rodriguez. Tumbarumba, the 3-5 favorite, was severely compromised at the start, but he rallied on nicely to be second in front of Calicoco, who checked in third.
In the $100,000 Lassie, Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy (6-5 second choice) battled for the lead from the rail, took over on the turn for home and built the lead in the stretch before holding off the slow starting 1-1 favorite Norah G to win by a diminishing neck. It was far back to Tensas Candy in third.
The two starter races were won by the mare Zydeco Music (7-5) for owner Richard Anthony Tompkins, jockey Jose Rodriguez and trainer Shane Wilson and the gelding Dixie Street for owner Vanessa Motta, trainer Sean Alforish and jockey Tracy Hebert respectively.
After Dominating the Classic & Distaff Preps, Who Took the Money and A G’s Charlotte Have Louisiana Champions Day Encore on their Mind
$850,000 in purses across eight stakes attracts Louisiana’s best Thoroughbreds and horsemen
New Orleans, La (December 8, 2022) – The standouts from Louisiana Championships Preview Weekend return to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Saturday, Dec 10. They’ll face some familiar foes and some fresh runners as horsemen from across “The Boot” ship in, while stabled barns step out, on Louisiana Champions Day. For the past 31 years this card has brought together the stories and aspirations of Louisiana-bred participants. Big barns versus small, Delta Downs’ form versus Fair Grounds’ finest. Runners with graded stakes aspirations versus those who’ve never cared to look past the horizon of the state line. The intrastate storylines will line up in the gates of one of the eight stakes, all racing for a share of the $850,000 combined purse total. With 79 runners entered out of 133 nominations, post time for race 1 on the nine-race card is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. CT.
On Nov 19, Who Took the Money reasserted his dominance in the Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes, the prep for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, notching the umpteenth stakes victory for trainer Bret Calhoun. The day prior in the Big World, the prep for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff, A G’s Charlotte’s splendid run earned her trainer Patricia West her first stakes score. Statewide differences there will always be, but Calhoun’s Classic entry and West’s Distaff filly both have a reputation for doing things their way, a similarity that rings true to all Louisianans.
“A G’s Charlotte has a mind of her own,” Patricia West said. “She has that her way or the highway kind of attitude. At Louisiana Downs she ran up the heels of other horses when the rider wasn’t getting her to their outside. That cost us because if she does that a time or two, then she’ll be like I gave you what I had and you keep stopping so I’m not going any more. ”
Inked as the second-favorite in the 1 1/16 miles Distaff at 3-1 in the morning line, Thomas Galvin’s 3-year-old A G’s Charlotte will look to stay a head in front of the Big World place-finisher, Allied Racing’s 8-5 morning line favorite, Winning Romance. Finishing a head in front at the wire will come down to the mind she brings to the race. Marcelino Pedroza, Jr. gets the command performance after he piloted to the Mo Tom filly’s liking in the Big World. Scheduled as race seven, post time for the Distaff is 4:27 p.m. CT.
Made the overwhelming 4-5 favorite in the morning line for the Classic, Allied Racing’s homebred Who Took the Money has five stakes wins to his name, including on this day in 2021 when he first put his electric turn of foot on display winning the $100,000 Turf.
“Who Took the Money has got a mind of his own and he decides when he wants to go,” Calhoun said. “Deshawn (Parker) says he’ll ask him for something and he won’t give him anything. Then he’ll sit a little while longer and finally he’ll ask him again, and maybe only then will he give him the answer. Who Took the Money does his own thing and waits until he thinks it’s time.”
On an all-stakes, three-race win streak, the son of Street Boss has put ten lengths between him and his foes. Those races were between seven furlongs and 1 mile 70 yards. The Classic is run at 1 1/8 miles, which should suit his running style even better. Slated as race eight with a post time of 4:59 p.m. CT, how soon after that Who Took the Money will make his bid is entirely up to him.
Stakes advances are below in the order they will be run on the card.
GEORGE ALLAN BRYANT LOOKS FOR FIRST LA STAKES TO CAP OFF THE YEAR HE BEAT CANCER: ANGELA CELERITY IN THE LADIES STARTER
Thompson Racing’s 3-year-old filly Angela’s Celerity will take on six older females going six furlongs in the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter for state-breds who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2021-2022. The recent addition to George Allan Bryant’s barn makes her third step up in class since he claimed her for $7,500 on Oct 12.
“I added blinkers last out,” Bryant said. “She missed the break and made a mad dash late and galloped out in front of a really tough bunch of open fillies. Delta’s stretch isn’t very long and she made up ground. I believe she is a sprinter and I think the Fair Grounds stretch will suit her.”
Less than a year into his career as a trainer, this will be Bryant’s first runner at Fair Grounds. Last year at this time, Bryant was in the throes of his battle against Stage 4 oral cancer, which he beat, ringing the bell on Jan 28, 2022.
“My dad (George R. Bryant) was a trainer and I always loved going to the barn with him and working with him,” Bryant said. “He retired right before my cancer and after my cancer I realized that if I were to die and never train on my own, I would really regret it. So I went all in, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love this sport and the horses.”
Bryant brought his barn in from Texas and sent out his first runner in Louisiana this past August at Louisiana Downs. After winning one in Bossier City, he moved down to Vinton. He’s sent out 18 runners at Delta Downs and racked up three wins and one third through Dec 6. Having faced stakes-level company twice before in Texas, Saturday will be Bryant’s first entry at this level in Louisiana. Adam Beschizza will ride the 15-1 morning line longshot Angela Celerity from post No. 6.
Puzzling Priority finished third in the common allowance race with Angela’s Celerity Nov. 19 at Delta. The 4-time winning 4-year-old has flashed some speed, but she seems to run best with a target. Her trainer Lee Thomas has had early success this meet at Fair Grounds, winning three races from nine starters through Dec 7. Tabbed at 9-2 by Mike Diliberto, Portilla drew post 7 and will be guided by Pedro Cotto, Jr.
Only a head separated Ourperfectprincess, Zydeco Music, and Galaxy Thirtysix as they filled out the trifecta in Fair Grounds’ opening day finale. Gina Ney’s Galaxy’s Thirtysix got the win flying late but the other two did all the dirty work on the front end, dueling from go-to-woah.
Scheduled as race 1 with a 1:15 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Rockett Magic (Colby Hernandez, Edward Romero, 20-1 ), Ourperfectprincess (Jose Riquelme, Kenneth Hargrave, 3-1 ), Galaxy Thirtysix (Rey Gutierrez Rey, John Ney, 2-1), See Sassy Run (Devin Magnon, Ricky Courville, 12-1), Zydeco Music (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Shane Wilson, 9-5), Angela’s Celerity (Adam Beschizza, George Allan Bryant, 15-1 ), and Puzzling Priority (Pedro Cotto Jr., Lee Thomas, 10-1).
NOT ON HERB LOOKS TO DEFEND HIS COURT IN THE JUVENILE AGAINST TWO BRED BY COTEAU GROVE
Of the seven colts entered in the 6-furlong $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile, two are bred by Couteau Grove: Tumbarumba and Late September. Both are serious contenders, but as the winner of the Peluso Stakes, it’s Not On Herb’s court until another 2-year-old proves otherwise.
Ivery Sisters Racing’s Not On Herb proved yet again that the best offense is a good defense. Striking the front in the Peluso, the First Samurai juvenile fended off a late bid from Late September by not holding back at the top of the stretch and keeping the field at bay. In the final strides, Calicoco rallied late to beat out Late September for second. The two-for-two speedster out of Ron Faucheux’s barn, Not On Herb – a reference to Pelicans’ forward Herb Jones – breaks between the two Coteau Grove-bred runners in post No. 6. Jockey Jareth Loveberry will likely look to execute a similar game plan but the 7-2 morning line signals bettors might get a juicier price.
“He was out on the track on Friday (Dec 2) and moving well,” Faucheux said. “He impressed us in the Peluso, and we’re excited to see what this guy can do in the (Juvenile).”
Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds can run but they can’t hide from Tumbarumba. In his gate-to-wire maiden-breaker last month at Churchill Downs, Amerman Racing’s son of Oscar Performance earned a 91 Brisnet Speed figure, more than 10 points higher than any other last-out effort in the field. Florent Geroux took trainer Brian Lynch’s call and will ride the 5-2 favorite from post No. 5.
Coteau Grove Farms bred another main threat in the Juvenile, Kevin Stedman’s Late September. The son of Munnings broke his maiden against restricted company going 4 1/2 furlongs last May at Churchill. After that, he flew to England to run in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot, where he finished last. Returning to Louisiana, he won the seven furlong Legacy at Delta Downs in October and then ran a hard-trying third over a sloppy track in the Peluso opening weekend at Fair Grounds. Already with nine wins under his belt, newcomer Jose Luis Rodriguez will stay aboard, breaking from post No. 7.
Tye E. Smith’s Calicoco showed some serious late kick in the Peluso slop and could be dangerous with a move forward in his third race. Trainer Shane Wilson keeps the reins in the hands of Alex Castillo, and both have been hot through the opening weeks of the meet, each with seven total wins (as of Sunday), only one coming as a combo.
Scheduled as race 3 with a post time of 2:15 p.m. CT, here is the complete field for the Juvenile Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Ranch Water (Timothy Thornton Timothy, Allen Landry, 15-1), Calicoco (Alexander Castillo, Shane Wilson, 6-1), Half Full (Colby Hernandez, Eduardo Ramirez, 9-2), The Boss Soss (Joe Stokes Joe, Allen Landry, 6-1), Tumbarumba (Florent Geroux, Brian Lynch, 5-2), Not On Herb (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 7-2), and Late September (Jose Luis Rodriguez Jose Camejo, 4-1).
CALHOUN AND WEST CLASH IN THE LASSIE AS FREE DROP MADDY AND NORAH G LOOK TO REPLICATE THEIR BIG OPENING DAY RUNS
Take your pick from opening day. Both Free Drop Maddyand Norah G looked sensational winning their respective races, and both of their trainers report they are entering the six furlong $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie ready to take on each other and the rest of the eight fillies.
After a dull outing at Delta Downs in the Jewel Stakes, Mansfield Racing‘s Free Drop Maddy took a tremendous step forward winning the $75,000 Ferguson, her second stakes victory, with July’s Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity being her first. Fair Grounds leading trainer (as of Sunday) Bret Calhoun, who won this race in 2009 with Speedacious, teams up with jockey Rey Gutierrez.
“I was very impressed with her last race,” Calhoun said. “She’s coming into this race every bit as good. I don’t think the extra (1/2 furlong) distance is an issue for her at all. In fact in some of her races she might have done better going longer.”
The daughter of Free Drop Billy drew Post No. 4 and earned morning line favoritism at 8-5.
One of two wins on opening day for owner Tom Galvin and trainer Patricia West, Nora G’s 9.5-1 debut stunner had all the hallmarks of what most connections hope to see from their juvenile. She overcame a slow beak and a wide trip, showed her mind was on running when positioning towards the front, and finished strong through the wire, winning by 3 1/4 lengths.
“I think she wants to go two turns,” West said. “She kind of ran like a sprinter the other day but that was just her first time. I feel good about her going into the race. She’s super smart. She’ll overcome things. Nothing bothers her. That is a lot especially with fillies because they get themselves beat with their brains. She’s the coolest cucumber in the barn, so I feel really good about her.”
This Fast Anna filly earned an 85 Brisnet Speed figure last out, and any improvement on that will keep Free Drop Maddy’s hooves full from gate-to-wire as they both have shown forward positioning. Deshawn Parker retains the mount and will guide Norah G from post No. 2.
Scheduled as Race 4 with a 2:45 p.m. post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Tensas Candy (Alexander Castillo, Jorge Lara, 7-2), Norah G (Deshawn Parker, Patricia West, 3-1), Louisiana Liberty (Mitchell Murrill, Steven Flint, 8-1), Free Drop Maddy (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 8-5), Don’tcallmepatsy (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Shane Wilson, 10-1), Louisiana Cowgirl (Emmanuel Nieves, David Gomez, 20-1), Starship Jambalaya (Adam Beschizza, Scott Gelner, 12-1), Addi Bug (Jack Gilligan, David Gomez, 12-1).
OVA CHARGED STRUTS INTO LADIES SPRINT, BUT FREE LIKE A GIRL READY AND WAITING
Brittlyn Stable’s Happy Ticket Stakes winner Ova Charged headlines a field of six older fillies and mares entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Ladies Sprint, going six furlongs on the dirt track.
Trained by Jose Camejo, the 6-5 morning line favorite has dominated the division, going 4-for-4 in Louisiana. She took this last year following a thrilling battle with the Prioress (G2) winner Cilla. Graded stakes-placed herself at Belmont in the Victory (G3), Ova Charged has the talent to take on open company, and after her walk-in-the-park win in the Happy Ticket over Louisiana Champions Preview Weekend, her connections let it be known after that race they hope to bring their 4-year-old by Star Guitar to the national stage in 2023. Drawing post No. 5, just inside of her stablemate Spirited Beauty, Ova Charged will get the services of newcomer Jose Luis Rodriguez, who has won four for Camejo out of 12 starts.
Think this race will be handed to Ova Charged on a silver platter? Think again. With multiple graded stakes placings notched in her belt, Gerald Bruno Jr., Carl Deville, Chasey Pomier, and Jerry Caroom’sFree Like A Girl is the kind of force the lightly-raced Ova Charged has not had to face since Cilla. Owner/trainer Chasey Pomier has entered the 3-year-old filly by El Deal against the likes of Society in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) and Juju’s Map in the Remington Park Oaks (G3). She was stunned by the 93-1 shot Buckley Bunny in the Lassie on this day last year, but returned to Fair Grounds three weeks later to win the Louisiana Futurity. A versatile filly, she’s dangerous on the lead around two turns and from off the pace down the stretch in sprints, she ran a dull fifth over a muddy track last out at Delta Downs in the Treasure Chest. Legging up for the 17th time, Pedro Cotto Jr. has the rail draw.
Scheduled as race 5 with a 3:23 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Free Like a Girl (Pedro Cotto Jr., Chasey Pomier, 7-5), Snowball (Colby Hernandez, Samuel Breaux, 8-1), Wupkar (Brian Hernandez Jr., Bret Calhoun, 8-1), Half Koo Koo (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Sam David Jr., 20-1), Ova Charged (Jose Luis Rodriguez Jose Camejo, 6-5), and Spirited Beauty (David Cohen, Jose Camejo, 6-1).
A WIDE-OPEN INAUGURAL RUNNING OF THE STARTER IS POSITIONED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NEW 15% TAKEOUT PICK 6 AND LATE PICK 5
The form, the class level, the speed figures – there’s little difference between the ten older males who entered the 5 1/2 furlong $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter.
Of the ten evenly-matched runners, Mike Diliberto hung 4-1 morning line odds on the favoriteAlterana upwards of 20-1 on last-out winner Inthealy, foreshadowing that the first edition of this race will be a strong betting event.
Winalot Racing’s two entries, Secret Vista and Mr. Production, both could wreak havoc and offer betting value.
Leading trainer around these parts for two years straight, Ron Faucheux sends out Mr. Production, who dueled in the slop against optional claimers on opening weekend. The seven-time winner showed once again how dangerous he is with the lead. Beat to the wire by fellow Starter foe Cryptozonic in the final strides that day, Mr. Production faced pressure the entire way, and he fought back gamely when headed late. Inked at 9-2, the 6-year-old horse will break from post No. 5 under Jareth Loveberry.
Secret Vista ran on this day last year, but in the Louisiana Champions Day Classic. In his next start, trainer Justin Jeansonne claimed him for $12,000 then moved him up in class where he won a $15,000 claiming race, earning a new top speed figure in the process.
“We claimed him and shortened him up and he looked good,” Jeansonne said. “We ran him twice last year at Fair Grounds and then being a 5-year-old, we decided to keep him on the bench and target this meet. He’s doing good coming into this and he should be sharp.”
Breaking from the far outside in post No. 10, Adam Beschizza will reunite with 12-1 Secret Vista after riding him in both his starts out of Jeansonne’s barn last meet.
Scheduled as Race 6 with a 3:45 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Jeb’s Lucky Eight (James Graham, Frank Pennino, 10-1), Cryptozonic (Alexander Castillo, Joseph Foster, 5-1), Alterana (Gerard Melancon, Keith Charles, 4-1), Inthealy (Erika Murray, Whitney Zeringue, Jr., 20-1), Mr. Production (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 9-2), Golden Palace (Emanuel Nieves, Cesar Govea, 6-1 ), Reckless Ransom (Mitchell Murrill, Joseph Foster, 6-1) Dixie Street (Tracy Hebert, Sean Alfortish, 6-1), Zelig (Deshawn Parker, Gary Johnson, 8-1), and Secret Vista (Adam Beschizza, Justin Jeansonne, 12-1).
A G’S CHARLOTTE ENTERS THE DISTAFF LOOKING TO BACK UP BIG WORLD PERFORMANCE
Five runners from the Big World will look for revenge on Thomas Galvin’s A G’s Charlotte in the 1 1/16 miles $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff. The 3-year-old Mo Tom filly surprised many by coming from ten lengths back with a late run to nail Winning Romance by 3/4 length. At 9.90-1 she earned not only her first stakes victory, but the first for trainer Patricia West.
“She’s doing great, hasn’t missed a lick,” West said. “She’s exactly the same going into this race as she was heading into the Big World. She’s the most consistent filly. She doesn’t disappoint.”
Deemed the 3-1 second-favorite in the morning line, A G’s Charlotte will begin from post No. 6 carrying jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr.
After firing a big effort when leading the charge behind run-off leader Cheapskate Diva in the Big World, a second-place finish left Allied Racing’s Winning Romance’s connections scratching their heads.
“I really haven’t been able to figure out how we got beat,” her trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We might have had to move a little bit early with the horse on the lead being loose. Honestly I thought she would win that day and was disappointed she didn’t win. Hopefully she’ll bounce back and get the job done. She went into that race fantastic and she’s coming into his race doing fantastic.”
Deshawn Parker retains the mount on the 8-5 favorite in the Distaff and will look to break sharply from post No. 3. The 2022 Lanerie Stakes winner finished second to Fort Polk in this race last year.
Steve and Pat Roe’s Fort Polk finished third in the Big World and has not won at the stakes-level or on the dirt since winning the 2021 Distaff. The 6-year-old Behindatthebar mare is seeking her tenth win as her trainer Pat Mouton eyes his first win of the Fair Grounds meet. Made 4-1 in the morning line, Emmanuel Nieves will stay aboard to break from post No. 8.
Scheduled as race 7 with a 4:27 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Distaff from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Lutie Mo (Joe Stokes, Allen Landry, 20-1), Eve’s Delight (Alexander Castillo, Garland Goins, 12-1), Winning Romance (Deshawn Parker, Bret Calhoun, 8-5), Cheapskate Diva (James Graham, Joseph Felks, 6-1), She’s Gone d’Wild (Rey Gutierrez, Bret Calhoun, 10-1), A G’s Charlotte (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Patricia West, 3-1), Wholelottamo (Adam Beschizza, Jayde Gelner, 12-1), and Fort Polk (Emmanuel Nieves, Patrick Mouton, 4-1).
FIVE FROM THE SCOTTS SCOUNDREL ENTER THE $150,000 CLASSIC ALONG WITH THREE FRESH FACES
Eight older males were entered for Saturday’s 1 1/8 miles $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic, including Allied Racing’s Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes winner Who Took the Money. Finishing with his signature late burst of interest, his to 2 1/4 lengths margin didn’t dissuade the runner-up and third place finisher, Behemah Star and Highland Creek, from taking another shot at the 4-5 morning line favorite. They’ll be going farther this time, but that might only play into the son of Street Boss’ hands.
“I love one mile and 1/8th for Who Took the Money,” Calhoun said. “Most of his recent races he’s broken, settled in back, and made that late run, finishing up very strongly. I think the distance will be a positive for him.”
Deshawn Parker has been aboard this free-thinker seven out of his last eight races, winning each but the Star Guitar Stakes last spring where he took damage from both sides out of the gate and his rally to the 1 1/16 miles finish line fell short. His stablemate Highland Creek finished ahead of him but it was Behemah Star’s shining moment, winning the race named for his sire. Who Took the Money’s longest journey in his 13-race career will begin from post No. 7.
Finishing second behind Grand Luweege in 2021’s edition of the Classic, Highland Creek enters this year with faster figures but fewer recent wins. Penned at 6-1 in the morning line, the other Allied Racing-owned Calhoun-trained runner prefers to press the front of the pack, and time and again has shown the tenacity to dig in when the finish line is in sight.
“I thought he ran too good to lose in the last race,” Calhoun said. “He ran extremely hard, did all the dirty work, and ended up getting nailed late. He doesn’t give me any reason to think he’s not going to bring that race right back. I think he can be on the pace or off it if need be. Last time we just happened to find ourselves up in positions and went along with it.”
Adam Beschizza will work from post No. 4 to figure out the proper tactics to return Highland Creek to the winner’s circle.
Cross-entered in the Sprint, Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar’s presence in the Classic could keep all these familiar runners on their toes. Over eight lengths better than the field when winning his last race on the lead going seven furlongs at Delta Downs, no other runner than Who Took the Money and Maga Man has posted a Brisnet Speed figure as high as the 97 he earned. This will by far be the toughest competition he’s faced. Trainer Jeff Delhomme brings Touchuponastar’s regular jockey Timothy Thornton in from Delta, and with his gate speed he’ll have first dibs on the rail breaking from post No. 3.
Other top horses entered into the Classic include Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star who has three wins on the local track and George Messina and Michael Lee’s Ballinonabudjet who will make his first start out of Brad Cox’s barn since being claimed for $20,000 out of a resounding open company score at Churchill on Nov. 18.
Scheduled as race 8 with a 4:59 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Maga Man (Joe Stokes, Norman Miller III, 20-1), Cosmic Train (James Graham, Jerry Delhomme, 20-1), Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 6-1), Highland Creek (Adam Beschizza, Bret Calhoun, 6-1), Behemah Star (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Jose Camejo, 9-2), Ballinonabudjet (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 8-1), Who Took the Money (Deshawn Parker, Bret Calhoun, 4-5), and Beauregard (Rey Gutierrez, David Gomez, 20-1).
AN OVERSUBSCRIBED FIELD OF 16 ENTERED FOR THE $100,000 SPRINT
Trained by Ron Faucheux, Bertie’s Galaxy ran a valiant second in last year’s edition of Louisiana Champions Day Sprint before getting worn down at the wire by stablemate Monte Man. A two-time Louisiana Legends Sprint winner at Evangeline Downs, the 6-year-old gelding finished sixth as the odds-on favorite in the prep named for his legendary stablemate Monty Man last month. Bertie’s Galazy will face many of the same foes on Saturday, including the neighbor in the gates who hindered his chance at winning.
In the Monte Man, Brian’s Iron Mike broke from the 1 hole and took a hard right, cutting off the speedster Bertie’s Galaxy who broke from post No. 2, putting him seven lengths behind the field. At 7-2 in the morning line, the lukewarm favorite Bertie’s Galaxy drew post No. 12 and will be ridden by Jareth Loveberry.
“He worked (Saturday Dec 3) and looked great,” Faucheux said. “He came out of the Monte Man doing well. They got the jump on him and he couldn’t get in a good spot. He’ll be ready to roll in the Sprint.”
Immediately to his inside is the Monte Man Stakes-winner Brian’s Iron Mike in post No. 11. After piloting Hat Racing’s 3-year-old by Iron Fist to his first stakes title, Joe Stokes retains the mount and if he retains the strategy, the break will be everything. Mike Diliberto pegs him as the 5-1 second favorite. One of two with those honors and odds.
Cross-entered in the Classic, Set-Hut’s Touchuponastar’s presence in the Sprint could shake things up. The owner of the field’s highest speed figure has won his last two races by over 15 lengths, but in an abbreviated 3-year-old season, the son of Star Guitar has yet to win a stake. Trainer Jeff Delhomme brings Touchuponastar’s regular jockey Timothy Thornton in from Delta and he’ll aim to overcome post No. 14.
Scheduled as race 9 with a 5:45 p.m. CT post time, here is the complete field for the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, and morning line odds): Jax Man (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Sam David Jr., 15-1) Schnell (Deshawn Parker, Shane Wilson, 20-1) Big Chopper (Corey Lanerie, Scott Gelner, 10-1), Janets Jay Jay (Jamie Theriot, Howard Alonzo, 20-1), Mike J (Pedro Cotto Jr., Lee Thomas, 50-1) Win Ya Win (Adam Beschizza, Jose Camejo, 10-1), Takes Two to Tango (Rey Gutierrez, Luis Garcia, 8-1), Yankee Seven (Emmanuel Nieves, Cesar Govea, 20-1), Unified Report (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dallas Stewart, 12-1), Creole Charlie (James Graham, Howard Alonzo, 10-1), Brian’s Iron Mike (Joe Stokes, Allen Landry, 5-1), Bertie’s Galaxy (Jareth Loveberry, Ron Faucheux, 7-2), Relentless Dancer (Gerard Melancon, Keith Bourgeois, 10-1), Touchuponastar (Timothy Thornton, Jeff Delhomme, 5-1), AE Scarlettsblackjack (Jose Luis Rodriguez, Sarah Delany, 6-1), and AE Feisty Fist (Mitchell Murrill, Steven Flint, 12-1).
Officials at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this week suspended turf racing through at least late December to allow the track’s grass to recover from damage to the inner portion of the course. The New Orleans track entered its meet that began Nov. 18 with plans of a reduced schedule of turf racing, utilizing only its outermost running lane.
According to Gary Palmisano, executive director of racing for Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Fair Grounds, the course did not experience its customary growth this fall. Amid dry conditions, a well the track used for watering the grass was intruded with salt water when the Gulf of Mexico pushed into city freshwater supplies due to drought across much of the areas surrounding the Mississippi River, he said. Saltwater can kill grass.
Initial use of another water source and recent rainfall in the area has allowed officials to irrigate the turf, he added.
The management of Fair Grounds Racetrack and Slots has discovered that there are some problems with the turf course. As a precaution, adjustments have been made to Condition Book 1 in order to resolve the issues. The majority of the turf races moving to the dirt track. Among the races being moved to the dirt track is the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf on December 10th. The stakes for Accredited Louisiana Bred three-year-old and upward fillies and mares, was originally to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The Louisiana Champions Day Turf for Accredited Louisiana Bred three-year-olds and upwards will remain on the turf course.
NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, August 30, 2021) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 65 stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season, will be offered during the 80-day, 2022-23 Thoroughbred meet. In each of the 13 unrestricted, non-graded stakes, purses have been increased by $25,000. In addition, twelve new Louisiana-bred stakes have been added to the schedule, including six over the first two days of the meet.
“We worked with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to come up with these new stakes,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “We’re proud to have worked together for the betterment of our sport to create not only the best stakes schedule, but also the richest program we’ve ever offered in the state.”
The traditional Thanksgiving opening will give way to an earlier start to the meet, with opening day slated for Friday, November 18. Six inaugural $75,000 Louisiana-bred stakes will be run over the dirt course on the season’s first two days. Fillies and mares take center stage on Friday in the Happy Ticket Stakes (6 furlongs) and the Big World Stakes (1 mile & 70 yards), both for 3-year-olds and up. The Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong event for 2-year-olds, will also be carded on opening day. Saturday’s trio of stakes are a mirror-image in terms of age, distance and surface, but these open Louisiana-bred events are highlighted by a 6-furlong dirt sprint named in honor of Ivery Sisters Racing’s multiple stakes winning, fan favorite Monte Man, who retired from racing last year at age nine.
“Coming off a very successful 150th anniversary season we can’t wait to welcome fans back to experience the best winter racing in New Orleans starting in November,” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ president Doug Shipley. “We have made significant investments at the track which includes our new $1.5 million dollar state-of-the-art Tote board. The new board is one of the best in the country and provides an unparalleled experience. While our season will officially begin on November 18th we will still have our Thanksgiving day celebration that has become a staple for the residents of New Orleans. “
Louisiana Derby Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, and it will card eight stakes worth a total of $2.6 million. Run at 1 3/16 miles for the third time last year, the Twinspires.com $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (G2) is traditionally worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1). The strong infusion of our sport’s top 3-year-olds training and racing at Fair Grounds was never more apparent than it was last season. Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Epicenter, who won the Gun Runner, Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds in 2021-22, would later run second in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) in advance of victories in both the Jim Dandy (G2) and Travers (G1) at Saratoga. Haskell (G1) winner Cyberknife, Jim Dandy runner-up Zandon, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby and Travers, Ohio Derby-winner Tawny Port, and the 148th Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike also participated in Fair Grounds’ 2021-22 Road to the Derby series.
Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Grade 2 $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks awards 100-40-20-10 points en route to the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Last year’s winner Echo Zulu, who was Champion 2-year-old of 2021, finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks. Second and fourth-place finishers Hidden Connection and Turnerloose also competed in the Run for the Lillies.
“Fair Grounds has proven to be one of the premier winter racing destinations,” Jones said. “Once again last year, the quality of horses who stabled or came through New Orleans have made a huge impact in premier stakes races all over the country. Beginning with the Gun Runner and the Untapable for late season juveniles, our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen even more opportunity to develop their horses and compete for excellent purses.”
A pair of high-impact, nine furlong stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program — the $500,000 New Orleans Classic (G2) on dirt and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes (G2) on turf. Four undercard stakes, each worth $125,000, are slated for the lucrative card, including the Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the Costa Rising Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint, the Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards. The purses for each of those stakes has been raised $25,000.
After 2021’s successful debut, the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day will keep the same December 26 date, but will card nine stakes, up three from last year. From top to bottom last year’s 13-race card was a holiday feast, featuring Cyberknife breaking his maiden, and the 148th Kentucky Derby exacta, Rich Strike and Epicenter, both participating in the Gun Runner. A pair of 2-year-old stakes with Kentucky Derby and Oaks point implications (10-4-2-1) highlight the 9-stakes race card: the $100,000 Gun Runner contested at 1 1/16ths miles and the 1 mile 70 yards $100,000 Untapable for fillies.
Two long standing juvenile 6-furlong sprint stakes have been moved to the December 26 card, the Sugar Bowl and the Letellier Memorial for fillies. The 1 mile 70 yards Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares shifts to this date as well to pair with the Tenacious Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, both for 3-year olds and up. Also for older horses, the Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the Richie Scherer Memorial at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf. All nine races will be run for $100,000, which is a $25,000 boost for the Sugar Bowl, Letellier, Broussard, Diliberto, Blushing K.D., and Scherer.
On January 21, Road to the Derby Day features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) which was extended from one mile to 1 1/16 miles three years ago, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 21 program, including the $150,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) run at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.
On February 18, Louisiana Derby Preview Day features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2), which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles three years ago, and the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2), for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 50-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively. The Rachel Alexandra has produced two of the last five Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl and Serengeti Empress and 2014 victress Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 18 program — the $250,000 Mineshaft Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles, the $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 10. With the races run in various divisions over a variety of distances on both dirt and turf, the program features nine stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stakes is worth $100,000 with the exception of the $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic and the two new additions – the $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Starter and $50,000 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Starter, both of which will be run at 5 1/2 furlongs for 3-year-olds and up.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve started early,” Scott Jones said. “It means less five-day weeks for us during the entirety of the meet and gives us the opportunity to run multiple preps for Louisiana Champions Day on December 10. Starting on Thanksgiving only gave us 16 days to Champions Day. In this day and age it’s just not enough time. Of course we will still have the Thanksgiving Classic, a fantastic day of racing, and a festive crowd, as is the New Orleans tradition.”
Three other stakes will make their debut in 2023, most notably on January 7 the $75,000 Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes. Paired with the $75,000 Bob F. Wright Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares, both 6-furlong dirt sprints are for 4-year-olds and up. A longtime Louisiana trainer and most recently the paddock judge at Fair Grounds, Gary Palmisano, Sr., who passed away last December, was a beloved member of the local racing community.
Also added to the Fair Grounds’ stakes program are the $75,000 Louisiana Stallion of the Year Half Ours Stakes at 1 mile 70 yards and the $75,000 Louisiana Broodmare of the Year Buttercup’s Song Stakes at one mile – both written for 3-year-old Louisiana-breds and named for two of the great producing influences in Louisiana’s breeding history. Half Ours sired 22 stakes winners, but his reign came to an untimely end after a freak paddock accident in July of 2021. With twelve foals and nine starters, the earnings of Buttercup’s Song’s foals totaled $1,721,518, highlighted by Pound for Pound and the graded-stakes winner Flatlined. Those stakes will be contested on February 25.
The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:05 p.m. CT, but opening day post time is 3:00 p.m. CT. There will be an earlier noon CT first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24), Louisiana Champions Day (Dec. 10), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec. 26), Road to the Derby Day (Jan. 21) Louisiana Derby Preview Day (Feb. 18), and Louisiana Derby Day (March 25).
Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) Will Draw for Two Scholarships
Bossier City, LA – The annual Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs will take place Saturday, August 6. First post is 1:45 pm (Central)for the seven-race card which will feature six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds with purses of $67,000 each.
The stakes action, which gets underway in the second race of the card, features a mix of multiple-stakes winning Louisiana champions and as well as a showcase for the rising stars of the Pelican state. Here is a preview of the exciting six Louisiana Cup stakes.
King’s Lute Takes on Eight Rivals in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile
Stakes action gets underway in the second race with the running of the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. A field of eight will compete at five and one-half furlongs on the main track.
Four entrants make their stakes debuts off maiden-breaking efforts with morning line favoritism going to the partnership of Claiming Cajuns LLC (Donald King, et al) King Lute. Retired jockey Carl Woodley trains the son of Midnight Lute out of the Songandaprayer mare Sarahcarolu.
“He’s a big, gangly horse; one of those who may never get into stride quickly, but once he found his rhythm (in his debut victory on June 26), he drew off by six lengths,” explained Woodley.
Joel Dominguez will reunite with the dark bay gelding and Woodley is hoping he will notch his first stakes win.
“I have been fortunate to train for owner Donald Clark, but have never won a stakes for him,” added Woodley. “He has ALS and the ownership group is committed to fundraising efforts for the debilitating disease.”
World War IV Racing’s Ranch Water may be another contender poised for a good effort in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile. Trainer Allen Landry feels the gelded son of Palace, bred by Love Partnership Interests, L. P., will give a good account of himself.
“He won his first time out, despite breaking in the air and getting shuffled back” Landry explained. “When he circled the field and came running, we thought he had something special.”
Bisping, owned by Anna Guillot, broke his maiden on May 19 at Evangeline Downs and made his second start at Belmont Park in the $150,000 Tremont. Ricky Courville trains the gelding by El Deal with Devin Magnon breaking from post two.
Whispering Hill Farms homebred Kit Kat Kid also broke his maiden at first asking on June 4. The gelded son of Closing Argument prepped for this with a five furlong drill on July 13 for trainer Steve Flint. Rider Tim Thornton has the return call at odds of 5-1.
The field also includes Easy Chance, who improved in his second start, winning a $24,000 maiden special weight last month at Evangeline Downs. Sired by Klimt, he is owned by Norman Stables, LLC and trained by Lonnie Briley.
Defending Champion Net a Bear Returns in the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff
The first turf stakes of the card, the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew nine fillies and mares who will travel a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course.
Bred by Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll, Net a Bear is owned by Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro and trained by Allen Landry. Since she began her career in 2018, the bay mare, versatile on turf or dirt, has won 12 of her 33 lifetime starts and following the victory at Evangeline Downs, upped her earnings to $615,970. Her first stakes win came at Louisiana Downs when she captured the 2019 Elge Rasberry and she was a convincing winning last year in the Louisiana Cup Distaff.
She exits a score at Evangeline Downs last month as the favorite in the $75,000 Turf Distaff. With Tim Thornton aboard, the 6-year-old daughter of Awesome Bet made her usual late run and drew off tin the one-mile turf stakes, winning by 1 ¼ lengths.
Remarkably, Net a Bear has been a stakes winner at each of the four Louisiana racetracks and
will defend her title in the Louisiana Cup Distaff.
“She’s tough as hell,” said Landry. “Even when she gets in trouble, she gets clear and gives it her all. She just has an incredible turn of foot!”
Thornton will guide Net a Bear from post position two as the 8-5 choice. Landry gave her a final work at Evangeline on July 29 and plans on sending her to Bossier City on Saturday morning.
“We just gave her an easy work,” added Landry. “Didn’t want to ask for much in this heat.”
The high earner in the field will have to hold off eight rivals , including Fort Polk, a 6-year-old daughter of Behindatthebar, trained by Pat Mouton for owners Steve and Pat Roe. She won her last two turf races at Louisiana Downs, with a total of nine victories in 35 starts. Juan Vargas will ride from the eight hole. Cheapskate Diva makes her stakes debut for owner Keith Plaisance off a three-race win streak. The 4-year-old filly by Animal Kingdom last ran here on July 3, drawing off in a $25,000 turf allowance by 10 lengths under Carlos Marquez.
The Louisiana Cup Distaff will run as the third race on the card.
Free Like a Girl Headlines the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
The $67,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint boasts a field of eleven exceptional Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.
Free Like a Girl will return to Louisiana Downs on Cup Day as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the six-furlong sprint. Bred by retired jockey Kim Renee Stover and her sister, Lisa Osborne, the daughter of Flashy Prize, sired by El Deal, has won seven of her 14 starts for owners Gerald Bruno, Jr; Carl J, Deville; Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom. She was honored as 2021 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) Champion 2-year-old filly and continues to progress through her 3-year-old campaign.
Free Like a Girl won the $100,000 Starlet by four lengths at Delta Downs before running fourth in the Grade 3, $300,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park February 26 to the much heralded Secret Oath. After winning the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Soiree at Evangeline Downs, Free Like a Girl ran a credible third in the $225,000 Iowa Oaks (G3) on July 9 at Prairie Meadows.
The bay filly has already banked $423,873 and drew the far inside post under jockey Pedro Cotto.
“She has made us proud stepping up in two tough grade 3 stakes and ran her butt off at Prairie Meadows,” said trainer Chasey Pomier. “I’m alright with her breaking from the rail and we all have faith in Pedro. He rode for my dad when I was a kid and worked this filly as a baby. He has always done such a good job for our barn.”
Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen has entered Canada’s Custom for longtime owners Spendthrift Farm LLC and Corinne and William Heiligbrodt. The 3-year-old daughter of Custom for Carlos won two allowance races here in May prior to shipping to Lone Star Park. Joel Dominguez has the call on the chestnut filly at odds of 4-1.
Trainer Ron Faucheux will saddle three entrants in the Filly and Mare Sprint. Fame Feather a 7-year-old mare, sired by Lion Tamer, sprang the upset in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle on June 4 at Evangeline Downs for Picard Thoroughbreds Racing Stable LLC. Strong Beauty a 5-year-old daughter of Overanalyze, owned by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds, ran fourth in that feature and Daniel Dartin’s G’s Squeezesteps up to stakes company after back-to-back allowance scores at Evangeline Downs.
2021 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champion, Snowball returns for her third time. Owned by Tin Roof Farms LLC and trained by Sam Breaux, the striking gray daughter of Apriority has made 40 career starts. The multiple-stakes winner has $373,850 and will break from post four under rider Vicente Del-Cid.
Defending Champion Carlea’s Dream Prepped and Ready for the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic
The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted eleven runners going a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course. Several proven turf stakes winners are entered with defending champion Carlea’s Dream, installed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Owned by Carl Moore Management, the 5-year-old son of Lea is out of the Corinthian mare Beat The Street. Lea banked over $2.3 million in his racing career for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.
Last year, Carlea’s Dream ran a formful race, splitting rivals and surging to the wire in 1.44.57.
“He’s matured a bunch since last year and is much better in the gate,” she said. “He loves the turf, like all horses sired by Lea. Lindey Wade had two days off from Canterbury Park last year and was great, but Iram has been working him and we feel very good about Saturday.”
Diego was in the irons for his impressive turf win here on June 21.
“We know he loves this turf course, so just felt better having him here,”
Other notables include Allen Cassedy’s Mangelsen, who ran third in last year’s Turf Classic for trainer Ron Faucheux and jockey Carlos Lozada. The 6-year-old gelding by Big Band Sound won the $60,000 Edward J. Johnston Memorial at Fair Grounds in March and prepped for this with a gate-to-wire turf victory at Louisiana Downs on July 9. Behemeh Star makes his Louisiana Downs debut for his breeder and owner, Evelyn Benoit. Trained by Jose Camejo, the 4-year-old son of Star Guitar captured the $75,000 Star Guitar last March at Fair Grounds and will be ridden by Cristian Torres as the 3-1 second choice.
Also, Kendall Standlee’s Big Chopper, who recently won the one-mile Louisiana Legends Cheval at Evangeline Downs, will make his second turf start for trainer Scott Gelner. The 3-year-old colt by Shackleford will be ridden by C. J. McMahon. Gelner and owner Kendel Standlee won the 2018 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic with In the Navy.
“His mama (Miss Well Molded) was a turf runner, so we thought this would be a good test for him,” said Gelner. “He came home to the farm for a freshening and worked well for this.”
The Louisiana Cup Turf Classic will run as the fifth race on the program, with an approximate post time of 3:37 pm.
Highly Competitive Edition of the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies
Nine accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies will compete in what appears to be one of the best fields ever for the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Several first-time winners will face off in the five and one-half main track sprint.
Flurry Racing Stable LLC’s homebred Lady Flurry turned heads at Louisiana Downs with a riveting nine-length maiden score on June 20. Owner Staton Flurry, who won the 201- Super Derby (on turf) with Mr Misunderstood, bred the daughter of Lord Nelson out of the Storm and a Half mare Patchofbadweather. Trained by Karl Broberg, Lady Flurry has been installed as the 7-5 morning-line choice.
“She has been training here and exploded in her debut, which might give us an advantage,” offered Flurry.” I bought her dam for $1,000 as a yearling. She won a few races, but this filly has a ton of speed. She was 3/1000ths off the track record here on June 20 and hopefully will move forward. Emanuel is injured, so I’m happy to give Cristian Torres the call. He’s a good, young rider who has done well for us at Oaklawn.”
Flurry has fond memories of winning the 2017 Super Derby with Mr Misunderstood. It was the only turf running on the esteemed championship and following the victory, the gelded son of Archarcharch won seven additional stakes. Trained by Brad Cox, Mr Misunderstood retired with earnings of $967,926 in 2020.
Flurry will not be at Louisiana Downs this Saturday as his proven graded stakes winning mare Shedaresthedevil will defend her title in Saturday’s Grade 1, Clement Hirsch at Del Mar,
I’ve had some great horses in partnerships, but Mr Misunderstood will always be my favorite,” added Flurry. “He’s the one that set the foundation and put me there.”
Making her Louisiana debut will be Hoffman Family Racing LLC’s What Can I Say. The filly by Mo Tom won at first asking on July 4 at Horseshoe Indianapolis for trainer Tom Amoss.
“She was an impressive winner, even though she didn’t have the best break,” said Amoss. “She’s facing a nice field, but I like the fact that she has tactical speed, but can also rate.”
Amoss, who is currently six wins away from his 4,000th career milestone, will ship the bay filly to Louisiana Downs on Thursday.
“You always have concerns when horse travels for a race,” he added of his entrant, who will break from post eight under top Louisiana jockey Tim Thornton.
Janet is Ready will attempt to win her third in a row for conditioner Chasey Deville Pomier. The daughter of Custom for Carlos made her debut on May 13 in a $98,000 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. After running second in Kentucky, she broke her maiden at Evangeline Downs and won the $100,000 Prairie Gold Lassie on July 8 in Iowa, at odds of 21-1.
“She came out of that race very well,” said Pomier. “It’s a tough field, but she’s a game filly.”
Dorgenois, who just broke her maiden on July 15 at Evangeline Downs, for trainer Ron Faucheux, is also entered. Jim and Natalie Montgomery,prominent in Louisiana Quarter Horse racing, bred the daughter of Gormley to the Fusaichi Pegasus mare Money Peg. She showed improvement in her second start and could very well outrun her 30-1 morning line.
Full Field in the Competitive $67,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint
The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Sprint will close out the program with eleven talented Louisiana-breds traveling six furlongs on the main track.
Creole Charlie owned and trained by Howard Alonzo, has won seven of his 20 career starts and will break from post position two as the 3-1 choice. Claimed for $20,000 in February, the 4-year-old gelding by My Pal Charlie, was the runner-up in the Louisiana Legends Sprint at Evangeline Downs on June 4. He prepped for this with a victory one month later and will be ridden by Tim Thornton.
Set-Hut LLC’s X Clown makes his 23rd career start for trainer Jerry Delhomme off an allowance victory here on July 12. Joel Dominguez guided the 5-year-old son of Jimmy Creed, who drew post six at odds of 7-2.
Trainer Allen Landry, who won last year’s edition of this feature with Chu Chu’s Legacy, will saddle Brian’s Iron Mike and Double Barrel Man. Brian’s Iron Mike, a son of Iron Fist is owned by Buck Boys, LLC and makes his Louisiana Downs debut under jockey Joe Stokes.
“He’s a really good 3-year-old,” stated Landry. “Stakes-placed and ran a game second last out.”
Landry claimed the 9-year-old Double Barrel Man, who has an impressive career record of 14 wins and $533,912 earned in 68 starts. Calvin Borel has the call.
The Louisiana Cup Sprint runs as the seventh and final race on the card, with an expected post of 4:32 pm.
Trainer Michael C. Fetters Passes
Longtime Louisiana Thoroughbred trainer Michael C. Fetters passed away on July 24, 2022. Beginning in 1983, Fetters galloped, broke and trained horses at Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs and Delta Downs, with many multiple winners including Michal’s Answer, a mare by Hoist the Flag, named after his daughter Michal. He passed his love of horses to his family, including 11-year-old grandson, Asher. Survived by his wife, Betty, daughter Michal and grandson Asher, no funeral services have been announced.
“Mike was a natural horseman and was a tremendous supporter of Louisiana racing,” said trainer Joey Foster. “We send our condolences to Betty and his family. He was a good friend and will be missed.”
Louisiana Cup Day Festivities
Racing fans of all ages are invited to enjoy the festivities offered on August 6 at Louisiana Downs.
Family-friendly activities on the trackside apron include live music, inflatable bounce houses and water slides, face painting, and much more! Also, enjoy tasty bites from the city’s best food trucks. And don’t forget to claim your FREE $5 wager while you are there!
Handicapping Preview Show Begins at Noon on Cup Day
Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary and regional racing publicist Martha Claussen will team up for a pre-race handicapping preview at 12:00 pm in the Inside Rail, located on the first floor of the grandstand. They will offer analysis and their selections for each of the races on the Louisiana Cup Day card. The seminar is free and open to all racing fans.
Scholarship Drawings Set for Louisiana Cup Day
The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) will award two (2) scholarships, each valued at $1,000, during the event.
The drawings will take place after the fifth race. The races begin at 1:45 p.m. and the student must be there to register between 12:45 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. at the designated registration booth. The requirements for the scholarship are as follows:
Must be a college student enrolled full-time for Fall 2022.
Must be in good standing with the college or university.
Must be present at the drawing location to win.
Must have university ID number or Social Security number.
The scholarship will be deposited directly into the student’s account at the college or university. The student is asked to know the name and address of the college that they are attending.
About Louisiana Downs
Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and is now owned by Rubico Acquisition Corporation. 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.
You must be logged in to post a comment.