Commission Approves Louisiana Downs to Open June 6

Money from the canceled Super Derby (G3) will be directed toward overnight purses.

 

Louisiana Downs received authorization by the Louisiana State Racing Commission during a May 5 teleconference to begin its Thoroughbred meet June 6 and continue until Sept. 23. The commission also approved the cancellation of the track’s lone graded race, the Super Derby (G3), which carried a $300,000 purse last year.

“We decided to take care of the local horsemen and put all that money toward overnight purses,” David Heitzmann, director of racing at Louisiana Downs, said in an interview after the commission meeting.

Purses in Louisiana are heavily subsidized by revenue from racetrack casinos, which have been suspended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Determinations are still being made regarding the track’s purse structure, according to Heitzmann.

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS FORCED TO CANCEL THE REMAINING TWO DAYS OF THE 2020 QUARTER HORSE MEET

Announcement Forthcoming on the Status of the $283,210 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3)

Bossier City, LA – In response to growing concerns and state mandates regarding COVID-19, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs announced that the remaining two days of the 2020 Quarter Horse meet have been canceled. The live racing season was supposed to conclude on Wednesday, March 18 with the running of the $283,210 Harrah’s Entertainment Futurity (G3).  An announcement on the status of the championship will be forthcoming.

 

The 44-day season closed following Monday’s card and included the presentation of the End of the Meet awards to the leading owner, trainer and jockey.

 

J & J Stables LLC was honored as leading owner of the meet.  It’s been a very good season for co-owners Juan J. Bazaldua and Jesus E. Del Bosque, who banded together in 2017 with a mutual interest in breeding and racing. Both are successful businessmen; Bazaldua founded Pollo Regio, which began as a food truck concept in Mexico and now has multiple locations throughout Texas. Del Bosque’s field is roofing; he owns Axl Metal Roofing, LLC. In 2017, they incorporated J & J Stables LLC. Their farm is located in Keithville, Louisiana, in Caddo Parish, south of Shreveport. They won nine races this meet, including three stakes victories by Fantasicazoom Jr, and a victory in the Swift Stakes by Ss Classyjess.  Four owners: Geral Dewitt, Jose Ortiz, Juan Antonio Carillo, Sr and Barbara Hieden Seber tied for second in the standings with seven wins each.

 

The partners have entrusted the training of their horses to Jose Carrizales. He is just 23-years-old but had a solid meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, earning the first leading trainer title of his career. He concluded the meet with 23 wins from 102 starts and purses of $172,862. Carrizales was the conditioner of J & J Stables LLC’s One Sweet Filly, who qualified for the $315,166 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2), finishing fifth in the final on March 14.

 

“These owners are good men and have been very supportive,” said Carrizales. “They have a farm and breed most of their horses. I get to work with them from the start, which I enjoy. Ricardo has done an excellent job for our barn; he is very experienced, and we work well together.”

 

Vann Haywood saddled 14 winners to finish second in the trainer standings and Lanny Keith, who won the title in 2019, was third with 13 wins.

 

Ricardo Hernandez, Jr. won the leading rider title with 33 wins, 29 seconds and 20 third-place finishes. His mounts earned $301,234 and he finished in the money at a 44% clip this season. He rode first call for Carrizales throughout the meet and guided Fantasticazoom Jr. for J & J Stables LLC to five victories this meet, included three stakes wins The veteran jockey finished fourth in the jockey standings here last year. Finishing second behind Hernandez was David Alvarez with 29 wins, following by John Hamilton, who made 26 trips to the winner’s circle.

 

“We thank our horsemen and fans for their support this season and wish that we had been able to fully complete our 2020 Quarter Horse meet,” said David Heitzmann, director of racing. “This was an unprecedented event in our world and very difficult time for the entire racing industry. We wish the best to all of our horsemen as the year progresses.”

 

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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March Calendar of Events

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders AssociationWhispering Oaks FarmTexas Thoroughbred Association, and  Equine Sales CompanyClick images to link to more information

March 2

  • Louisiana Downs Stall Applications Due

March 6

  • Evangeline Downs Barn Area Opens – Horses allowed on the grounds

March 7

  • Allen Lacombe Overnight S, Fair Grounds
  • Weiner Dog Racing, Fair Grounds


March 8

  • Daylight Savings Time starts – change clocks ahead one hour

March 10

  • Evangeline Downs track will open for training

March 13

  • Starlight Racing, Fair Grounds

March 14

  • Red Camellia S, Fair Grounds

March 15

  • Deadline for Louisiana Horse Spring foal photos

March 17

  • St. Patricks Day

March 17-18

  • Ocala Breeders’ Sale, March Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale

March 19

  • Louisiana Downs Barn Area Opens
  • March Equinox, Spring Begins

March 21

  • Louisiana Derby Day, New Orleans Fair Grounds: Tom Benson Memorial S., Costa Rising S., Crescent City Derby, Crescent City Oaks, G2 Muniz Memorial H., G2 New Orleans H., G2 Fair Grounds Oaks, G2 Louisiana Derby

March 28

  • Star Guitar S., Fair Grounds

 

Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach @ 2,500 readers.

Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.com for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.com or Roger 504-947-4676, roger@louisianabred.comfor consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676

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Sokol Named Louisiana Downs Racing Operations Manager

Jennifer Sokol most recently served as racing office manager.

 

David Heitzmann, director of racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, announced that Jennifer Sokol has accepted the position of racing operations manager at the Shreveport racetrack. Sokol has been employed at Louisiana Downs since 2007, joining the racing office in 2012. She most recently served as racing office manager.

Her new duties will include supervision of the racing staff as well as overseeing handicapping seminars, racing promotions and other duties associated with the live Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred race meets.

“Jen Sokol has been a hard-working team member at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and has served the racing office in many capacities,” said Heitzmann. “She has done a tremendous job for us and is very deserving of this promotion.”

Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk adds his appreciation for the time and energy that Sokol has devoted to assisting horsemen and the backside employees.

“Jen is always eager to get involved and has been so helpful in assisting our chaplaincy in fundraising efforts,” he said. “She goes above and beyond as has done so much, especially in our annual Golf Tournament and Backstretch Benevolence Fund Banquet.”

Sokol’s duties are effective February 14 and the native of Greenwood, Louisiana looks forward to her new role.

“Working with the horsemen and entire team at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs has been a very rewarding experience,” said Sokol. “Most people have no idea how much coordination is involved each day in organizing race cards and the charitable work we do, but I love it and am thrilled to continue my career with this great organization.”

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES POLICY ON HORSES SHIPPING FROM OKLAHOMA

Bossier City, LA – Due to the outbreak of EHV-1 in Oklahoma City, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will not allow horses from Remington Park or Will Rogers Downs to access its grounds. This decision was made on Friday, November 21 and will be in effect until further notice.

As widely reported,  cases of  Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1)  were confirmed at Remington Park beginning on November 12.  Currently, there is no live racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, but the Bossier City racetrack serves as a training center for horsemen in between race meets. This was introduced in November, 2018 following the closure of the Evangeline Training Center.

“In order to protect our current horse population, we felt it was necessary to issue this policy,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations. “ Should horsemen have any question regarding this change in policy those inquiries should be directed to Louisiana Downs’ Director of Racing, David Heitzmann, or Stall Superintendent, Natalie Ardoin.”

The 2020 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Quarter Horse meet will commence on Saturday, January 4.

Currently, the racetrack is open for training six days a week with full amenities including a clocker, outrider and ambulance service.  Security in the stable area is provided 24 hours a day, seven days each week. Located in the Bossier City-Shreveport metroplex, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is located in convenient proximity for shipping to Delta Downs in Vinton, Louisiana; Fair Grounds in New Orleans and the upcoming live season at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

 

Space and availability for Thoroughbreds is limited and is 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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CARLOS LOZADA, JOEY FOSTER AND END ZONE ATHLETICS, INC TOP THE STANDINGS FOR THE 2019 THOROUGHBRED MEET AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, which got underway on May 4, concluded on Wednesday, September 25. The meet leaders, Carlos Lozada, Joey Foster and End Zone Athletics, Inc., were honored for their accomplishments on the final afternoon of the 84-day meet.

Both major racing events, Louisiana Cup Day on August 3 and Super Derby Day, which took place September 7, featured excellent fields. For the second year in a row, Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen won the richest race of the season, the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby with Rotation. The son of Tapit, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, rallied strongly for his first graded stakes score under jockey Richard Eramia.

One of the most memorable events of the season was the creation of the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place on Saturday, July 13 with  John Franks; Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr.;  Frank L. Brothers; C.W. Walker; Ronald Ardoin, Larry Snyder; Sunday Silence andFree Spirits Joy inducted into the inaugural class.

Voting for one additional Hall of Fame member in several categories was offered to the fans and they elected trainer Bobby Barnett, jockey Calvin Borel; former general manager Tom Sweeney as well as the incomparable Alysheba as additional inductees.

Officials also introduced a new wager, Super Tuesday Pick 4, on Tuesday, June 25.  The wager teamed two Caesar’s Entertainment racetracks: Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, which both offer Tuesday matinee racing programs. Two races each Tuesday from both racetracks were selected and offered to fans at a reduced takeout of 15%.

“We were thrilled to induct honor such outstanding horses and trailblazers into our Racing Hall of Fame,”said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs vice president of operations.  “The fan vote was very well-received and we will certainly offer that again in 2020. It was also a great beginning for the Super Tuesday Pick 4, which gave us an opportunity to attract new fans as we teamed with the talented and innovative team at Indiana Grand.”

 

Carlos Lozada Wins His First Leading Rider Title

Carlos Lozada was dominant throughout the meet, topping a very competitive jockey colony to claim his first ever leading rider title. The 34-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished the meet with a record of 428 starts, 95 wins, 70 seconds and 52 thirds and purses of $1,076,410.

He began riding in the United States in 2007 after attending Puerto Rico’s Escuela Vocational Hipica, the famed jockey school with a noted list of riders, including Irad Ortiz, Jr, Jose Ortiz as well as 2018 Harrah’s Louisiana Downs top-ranked rider, Emanuel Nieves.

The soft-spoken rider was the 17th-ranked rider in 2018 at Louisiana Downs, but united with former jockey and highly successful agent, Ronald Ardoin, this year.

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

One of the biggest wins of the meet came on Super Derby Day when Lozada guided Sugarland Thoroughbreds LLC’s homebred Eskenformore to victory in the $60,000 River Cities at odds  of 30-1.  He had ridden the 6-year-old mare, trained by James Hodges, and explained his change of tactics in winning the turf feature.

“I rode her like I knew her,” stated Lozada. “I felt she needed to be closer to the lead and knew she had plenty left for the finish.”

Winning leading rider honors at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs meant a great deal to the devoted family man, supported by his wife, Eileen Quinones and their three sons: Anthony, Jean Carlos and Jandriel.

“I was a little nervous toward the end,” he acknowledged. “Providing for my family is most important to me, but I want to thank every owner and trainer who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to win my first title!”

Lozada will head to Delta Downs for their upcoming Thoroughbred meet, which gets underway on Tuesday, October 8.

It was also a very successful season for Joel Dominguez, who finished second with 91 trips to the winner’s circle, edging Lozada in purses, with mounts earning $1,091,671. Dominguez, who was third in the standings last year, is represented by retired rider Don Simington. Jockey Aubrie Green finished third with 54 victories; a solid step up from her seventh-place finish here in 2018.  Richard Eramia and Hector Del-Cid tied for fourth with 47 trips to the winner’s circle.

 

 

Joey Foster Wins His Third Louisiana Downs Leading Trainer

Benton, Louisiana horseman Joey Foster picked up his third leading trainer title at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, winning 54 races from 218 starters to top his fellow conditioners this meet.

The very popular trainer won his first title here in 2016, repeating the feat in 2017 and finishing second to Karl Broberg last year. He saddled a mix of claiming and allowance horses throughout the meet, with standouts including Mizztic Tale, who won three of his four starts this meet for owners Brett Day and Kevin Spretz. Also, Play on Becky picked up her third victory of the season on Wednesday, September 25 for her breeder and owner Jim Horton.

“I want to thank each of my owners for their support,” said Foster. “They are the ones that put the show on; training horses is the easy part, but keeping great owners is key.”

Foster also acknowledged his wife, Cheryl, who he refers to as “the backbone” of the barn, and the hard work of assistant trainer, Amaniel Ortiz, affectionately known as “Shorty”.

The Foster trainees will head to Delta Downs as well as Fair Grounds. Foster cited Our Lost Love, a 2-year-old filly Louisiana-bred daughter of Half Ours, as one of his runners to watch. Bred and owned by Tri-Star Racing LLC, she broke her maiden impressively here on September 14.

“She ran a great race and earned an 83 Beyer (speed figure),” said Foster. “We will run her on Louisiana Champions Day (December 14) at Fair Grounds.”

Last year’s leading conditioner, Karl Broberg, finished second with 45 wins. Beverly Burress, who saddled 18 winners last year, finished the meet with 28 victories, including a stakes score with Run Rocket in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin on the Super Derby card. Steve Asmussen and Jorge Lara tied for fourth with 20 winners each.

 

Leading Owner Title Goes to End Zone Athletics, Inc.

End Zone Athletics, Inc. repeated as owner of the meet, and unlike last year, when the title went down to the final day, the national leader held a comfortable lead throughout the meet.  The highly successful partnership of Karl Broberg and Matt Johanson won 25 races this meet to earn leading owner honors.

“I want to thank Darwin Quevado, my assistant at Louisiana Downs for all he has done,” said Broberg.  “We used quite a few riders, but I was pleasantly surprised by Aubrie Green.”

Broberg confirmed that he will send a string to Delta Downs for their upcoming Thoroughbred meet and will also have a barn at Fair Grounds when their season gets underway.

Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. was second in the standings with 14 wins and horses owned by Ronnie P. Ward made 11 trips to the winner’s circle. Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC and Penny Scarberry tied for fourth with ten wins in the 2019 Thoroughbred meet.

 

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, November and December.

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.

 

Quarter Horse Racing Returns to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on January 4

The 2020 Quarter Horse dates for Harrah’s Louisiana Downs have been approved. The 46-day meet will commence on  Saturday, January 4 and continue through Wednesday, March 18.

 

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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FORMER TRAINER, BILLY MCKEEVER, JR., KEEPS TRACK SURFACES IN TOP SHAPE AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Bossier City, LA – Billy McKeever, Jr. brings a unique skill set to his role as the highly-respected track superintendent at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

The 56-year-old was born in Shreveport and grew up in nearby Benton, Louisiana. His late father, Billy McKeever, Sr., was a very successful Louisiana-base trainer. McKeever followed that same path and trained  for six years, beginning in 2001, winning 59 races. His most prolific runner was Crowned King, who ran third in the 2003 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

In 2006, McKeever was evaluating the future of the Kentucky-bred Crowned King, who had won eight races and bankrolled over $580,000.

“He was six, and I was thinking it might be time to retire him,” recalled McKeever. “I started considering that maybe it was time for me to retire too.”

McKeever applied for the barn area supervisor job at Louisiana Downs and began in January, 2007. He worked closely with Brian Jabelmann, who was a consultant involved in the management of the track surfaces.

Jabelmann recommended McKeever for the job of track superintendent and he has held that position for the past 11 years.

McKeever is supported by a staff of 20 and each team member is fully committed to their assigned duties. Just one example is that two men have the first shift, beginning at 3:00 am to water the track before training begins at 6:00 am.

“Everybody in the department knows their job, but if we get five inches of rain, I don’t have to ask; the entire crew will be out there, opening additional weep holes and doing whatever has to be done to have the track ready for racing,” he explained.

To keep the Franks Turf Course green throughout one of the hottest summers in recent history was no easy feat. McKeever shared that he consulted with Scott Tolar of Evergreen Turf Solutions.

“This year we worked with Scott on a new fertilizer program, which really paid off,” said McKeever. “Of course, 28-30 loads of water each day was required, but the fertilizing program got us the best root I have seen.”

Another very important component of a safe track surface is creating the optimum composite for the main track. McKeever sends samples to Michael Depew, a respected “lab man” in Michigan.

Getting the correct mix of sand and clay is essential and the combination is different for the winter Quarter Horse meet versus the Thoroughbred meet, which runs from May through September.

McKeever is accessible to trainers, jockeys and track veterinarians and takes their feedback into account.

“Probably from training horses, I know that if I getting news about horses having joint or soft tissue injuries, changes might need to be made,” he added.

McKeever gives special thanks to the operations team at Louisiana Downs for approving the necessary funds to ensure safe track surfaces.

“Both Trent McIntosh, and now, Eric Halstrom have been incredibly supportive of spending money when needed,” stated McKeever. “I have gone to them explaining that we need to buy $75,000 worth of material and I get the necessary approval. To know they have the confidence in my judgement means a lot.”

Joey Foster, who is the current leading conditioner at Louisiana Downs, is one of many horsemen to give high marks to McKeever.

“Billy does an awesome job on both our dirt and turf tracks,” said Foster. “We have hardly had any rain, just a sprinkle during our hot summer, but the surfaces continue to be kind to our horses. Plus, we can go to Billy if we have concerns; he does a great job and is a very nice guy!”

And not that anyone would need further proof that horses are pretty important to McKeever, he shared that Crowned King, who is 19, is enjoying retirement on his farm in Benton!

 

 

Announcer John McGary Off to Zia Park This Week

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary will wrap up his duties in the booth on Wednesday, September 18. He will head to Zia Park in Hobbs, New Mexico to call the races for their 2019 live racing season which begins on Saturday, September 21. This will be the third season that McGary has traveled west to call their Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races.

Stepping in for the final four days of the meet will be Brian Arrigoni, who serves as the racing analyst at Canterbury Park. Five years ago, Arrigoni was a fan, attending the races at the popular Minnesota racetrack, and introduced himself to Eric Halstrom, who was their General Manager and now serves as Vice President of Operations at Louisiana Downs. Halstrom was impressed with Arrigoni’s love of racing and hired him. He serves as one of the track’s handicappers and hosts their paddock preview show with a variety of co-hosts, including track announcer Paul Allen. The popular Allen calls play-by-play for the Minnesota Vikings on KFAN and is the voice of the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network. When Allen’s NFL duties took him away from the booth, Arrigoni called the Canterbury Park races on August 18.

“This is a very exciting for me,” said Arrigoni, who will make his first visit to Louisiana.  “I am very grateful to Eric for hiring me at Canterbury and offering me the opportunity to call the final four days of the Louisiana Downs meet.”

The two Minnesota Vikings fans will reunite with Arrigoni stepping in beginning Saturday.

“I’m very familiar with Brian’s abilities and his enthusiasm and love of racing,” said Halstrom. “He will be a great replacement for John during the last week of our meet. It will be an excellent way for him to get some experience and exposure as well.”

 

Memorable Week for Jockey Emanuel Nieves

Last year’s leading rider Emanuel Nieves was injured in a spill on May 7 and just returned to action at the end of August.  On Wednesday, September 17, he won the sixth race aboard Mizztic Tale for trainer Joey Foster and finished second on Swift Shock in the final race of the afternoon. The 26-year-old native of Puerto Rico had little time to celebrate his comeback victory as he quickly departed for the for the hospital where his wife, Milyorie went into labor with the couple’s first child. Ian Emanuel was born early this morning and all three are doing well!

 

Trainer, Jock Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of September 18, Joey Foster leads his fellow conditioners with 53 wins this season topping.  Karl Broberg who has won 45 races. Beverly Burress has saddled 28 winners and  Jorge Lara andSteve Asmussen are tied for fourth with 19 wins each.

Carlos Lozada continues to lead the jockey standings with 91 wins holding off Joel Dominguez by three win Aubrie Green has won 50 races to move up to third in the standings and Richard Eramiarounds out the top four in the standings with 47 winning mounts.

 End Zone Athletics, Inc. has built an insurmountable lead in the quest for owner honors with 25 wins. Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. is second with 13 winners and Ronnie P. Ward follows with 11 victories and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC rounds out the top four owners with ten winners since the meet began on May 4.

 

Final Week of the 2019 Thoroughbred Meet

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time through Wednesday, September 25.  The closing day of the season will include the presentation of the End of the Meet honors for the leading owner, trainer and jockey.

 

 

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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MANY UNFORGETTABLE FIRSTS CELEBRATED ON SUPER DERBY 40 AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Full Fields, Exciting Finishes and Enthusiastic Crowds for the Marquee Day of the 2019 Thoroughbred Racing Season

 

Bossier City, LA – It was a very impressive win by Rotation, the champion of Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. The colt by Tapit out of the Olympio mare Free Spin, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, was the second consecutive winner of the championship for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, but there were plenty of firsts on the stakes-filled card.

Jockey Richard Eramia won  his first Super Derby and was thrilled with the performance of his colt, following his misfortune in last month’s Super Derby Prelude, in which Rotation stumbled to his knees out of the gate, almost unseating his rider. However, the gray colt showed his best form last Saturday, when he closed powerfully to win his first stakes score.

“It was a very special win for me,” said Eramia.  “I have always wanted to win the Super Derby. Louisiana Downs has been very good for my career; I have won a lot of races here and like both track surfaces.”

Born in Uruguay, Eramia, celebrated his 40th birthday on June 24. He began his United States riding career in 2005, and the Super Derby victory was just the fourth graded stakes of his career in which he has guided 2,337 horses to the finish line and amassed purses of $49.1 million. His previous Grade 3 wins came on Grand Contender and Comic Burst. His lone Grade 2 was in the 2012 Smile Sprint Handicap aboard Gantry at Calder Race Course.

“I’m still working on my first Grade 1,” Eramia said with a smile.

Eramia has returned to Remington Park, where he has won plenty of races, including his 2,000th career milestone .

Another rider, Devin Magnon, won the first stakes win of his career, guiding High on Gin to the upset in the $60,000 Happy Ticket. As reported by Bloodhorse, the victory marked the first black-type win for her sire, Fury Kapcori, She was bred in Florida by Deborah A. Silveira. High on Gin was a $7,500 purchase by Jerry Caroom from GOP Racing Stable Corporation’s consignment to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale.

Trainer Carl J. Deville reports that his filly came out of The Happy Ticket  in good order and I under consideration for the $75,000 Our Dear Peggy on September 28 at Gulfstream Park.

“I was not surprised that she won her stakes debut last Saturday,” he said. “She’s a big, long filly; bred for the grass and definitely wants to route. Even when she broke her maiden, she came home fast and showed she wanted to go further.”

It was also the first time jockey Lane Luzzi had ever ridden at Louisiana Downs and he made the most of his debut by winning the $60,000 Sunday Silence with Deviant, trained by Danny Pish for owner Red Lane Thoroughbreds LLC.

Festivities included a Jockey Autograph signing to benefit the PDJF, Super Derby Hat Contest, handicapping seminar and children’s activities on the sunny day with temps over 100 degrees.

“Despite the heat, we had a very good turnout for Super Derby 40,” said Eric Halstrom, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations.  “We appreciate our fans, horsemen and the tremendous effort of each of our employees in making Super Derby 40 run so smoothly.”

 

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of September 10, Joey Foster tops his fellow conditioners with 50 wins this season topping.  Karl Broberg with 45 victories. Beverly Burress has saddled 27 winners, including   Run Rocket in Saturday’s$60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin, to take sold possession of third place. Horsemen Jorge Lara, Joe O. Duhon and Steve Asmussen have each won 18 races.

Carlos Lozada continues to lead the jockey standings with 88 wins, including a stakes victory by Eskenformore in the $60.000 River Citieson Saturday’s Super Derby card.  He guided the mare, who was sent off at odds of 30-1, to victory over nine rivals for owner/breeder Sugarland Thoroughbreds LLC.  Joel Dominguez is second with 85 trips to the winner’s circle and Richard Eramia, who won the Grade 3 Super Derby aboard Rotation is third with 47 wins. Aubrie Green has won 45 races to round out the top four in the standings. 

End Zone Athletics, Inc. has built an insurmountable lead in the quest for owner honors with 25 wins. Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. is second with 13 winners and Ronnie P. Ward  and Indian Creek Thoroughbred Farms, LLC are tied for third with ten wins each.

The leaders in each division will be honored on Wednesday, September 25, which is the final day of the 2019 Thoroughbred racing season.

 

 

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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ROTATION RETURNS IN CHAMPIONSHIP FORM TO WIN THE GRADE 3, $300,000 SUPER DERBY AT HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC Homebred Recovers From Stumble in the Prelude

Bossier City, LA – When you don’t succeed at first, try again, and there was no better example of that adage than the performance of Rotation, the champion of today’s Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

The colt by Tapit out of the Olympio mare Free Spin, bred and owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, was the favorite in last month’s $60,000 Super Derby Prelude.  He stumbled out of the gate, nearly unseating rider Richard Eramia, but recovered to finish fourth.

Today was a different story for the well-bred colt, who is a full brother to Tapiture. He broke from the rail, sitting off the pace set by rider Robby Albarado on Pirate’s Punch, who completed the first quarter in: 46.77 and the half-mile in :46.77. Eramia got his charge clear heading into the second turn and drew off. The final time over the fast main track was 1:43.70.

“Robby Albarado is a smart rider and controlled the pace,” said Eramia. “I got the exact trip I was hoping for. My horse stumbled last time, but really deserved to win. I want to thank Steve, the owners and everyone on the backside for doing a great job”

Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen won the 2018 Super Derby with longshot Limation for owner Michael Langford.  He was reached on the phone after the race, and was thrilled with the victory by Rotation and a game runner-up effort by his other entrant, Vangilder, who closed under C.J. McMahon for second.

“Rotation is a very handy horse,” said Asmussen. “It was tough to see the trouble he had in the Prelude. Referring to the incident as a stumble out of the gate is not doing it justice. It’s like calling the Grand Canyon a ditch! But to his credit and the team down there, including Misty Drinkwater and Ashley Trosclair, it all came together.”

“We are very proud of him,” he added.  “This was a significant win.”

Vangilder, winner of the $70,000 Charles Taylor Derby on July 20 at the Downs of Albuquerque for owner Chuck Hovitz rallied for second.

“Watching the replay of his last race, he sat off the pace and pounced home tremendously, said McMahon. “Rotation left a step behind me, which I thought he would. I sat in the pocket behind him and couldn’t have gotten a better trip.”

Pirate’s Punch, trained by Grant Forster, held on for third. The son of Shanghai Bobby, was making his stakes debut for the ownership group of Gulliver Racing LLC , Craig W. Drager and Dan Legan.  Albarado, who is just returning off a wrist injury suffered in June at Churchill Downs, won his first Super Derby in 2006 aboard Strong Contender and followed that with a win with  Departingseven years later.

Morning line favorite, Knicks Go owned by KRA Stud Farms, completed the superfecta. Trained by Ben Colebrook, he won the Grade 1, Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. Dismissed by the betting public, he topped a full field of juveniles in gate-to-wire fashion at odds of 70-1.  This was the fifth graded stakes start for Knicks Go in 2019.

Prelude runner-up Trevilion, owned by Tigertail Ranch, ran fifth, followed byLeader of Men, owned by Walpole Racing LLC, who won the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude on August 3, and brought a four-race win streak at Louisiana Downs to the Super Derby.  Completing the order of finish was Adele B. Dilschneider‘s homebred Rescind;  Cabot, Paynt Battle and Fredonian.

Rotation returned $13.40 for the win and added $180,000 to his career earnings, which stand at $302,318.  Asmussen was not sure of the next start for both runners. 

The Super Derby, which had its first running in 1980, has a distinguished list of past champions, including four Kentucky Derby winners, four Preakness Stakes winners, five Belmont Stakes winners and seven Travers Stakes winners. Six previous Super Derby entrants have won the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic and three Super Derby winners, Tiznow, Sunday Silence and Alysheba have been voted the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year, the industry’s highest award.

 

 

Smooth Sailing for In The Navy in the $60,000 Frank L. Brothers Stakes

One of the six turf stakes on the Super Derby card was renamed this year to honor New Orleans native Frank L. Brothers. “Frankie,” as he is known in the racing industry, began his highly successful career as a Thoroughbred trainer in Louisiana, winning nine leading trainer titles at Louisiana Downs and winning the 1998 Super Derby with Arch. He was inducted into the inaugural Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame on July 13.

The mile and one-sixteenth Frank L. Brothers attracted an overflow field of turf specialists with three Louisiana-breds taking on open company, and it was Kendel D. Standlee’s In the Navy, who righted the ship this afternoon.  Trained by Scott Gelner, the 5-year-old son of Midshipman exited a second-place finish in last month’s Louisiana Cup Turf Classic.  Gelner enlisted the riding services of  Floyd Wethey, Jr., who took the lead and went gate to wire,  in fractions of :23.79, :47.92, 1:11.42, crossing the wire in 1:40.51.

“Scott told me to just let him do his thing and hopefully have something left for the finish,” said Wethey, who made the best of his first time riding at Louisiana Downs.  “He is a cool horse; I didn’t need to do a thing.”

The win was the seventh for In the Navy, who was sent off at odds of 7-1, returned $17.40 for the win. Late Night Mischief ran second under Tim Thornton, followed by $50,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic winner Theoryintopractice, also trained by Asmussen.  Kurilov, from the barn of Brad Cox, returned off a one-year layoff to complete the superfecta and Big Changes, who won the 2018 edition of the stakes, which was previously named the  Unbridled, was fifth.

 

 

High On Gin Serves Up the Upset in the $60,000 Happy Ticket 

The 33rd running of the $60,000 Happy Ticket, drew a field of ten fillies at the distance of seven and one-half furlongs on the Franks Turf Course.

Jerry Caroom’s High On Gin won her debut at Evangeline Downs on August 21 in a main track sprint on a sloppy track. Trainer Carl J. Deville was impressed with the first-time starter and decided to try her in stakes company and on the turf. With the lanky Devin Magnon in the irons, the filly by Fury Kapcori, got clear on the outside and began passing rivals. She drew off to a two-length victory in a final time of 1:30.21.

It was no surprise to her rider, who won the first race of his career.

“I’ve worked twenty horses for Carl this year and was always impressed with this filly,” said Magnon.

“I thank Jerry and each of my owners for giving me the opportunity to train for them,” added Deville.

Cedar Hill, the runner-up in the La Senorita, ran second under Lane Luzzi withEnvied, a daughter of American Pharoah completing the trifecta.  Deville also conditioned the fourth-place finisher, Thirstyamericangal, who outran her odds of 63-1 under Kerwin Clark.

 

Deviant Dominates in the $60,000 Sunday Silence

The 15th running of the $60,000 Sunday Silence showcased a completive group of ten juveniles competing seven and one-half furlongs on the Franks Turf Course. The race honors the prolific champion who won the 1989 Super Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was inducted into the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Racing Hall of Fame this year. 

Deviant, owned by Red Lane Thoroughbreds LLC, made the trip to Louisiana in pursuit of his second consecutive turf stakes victory. His most recent victory came on August 14 in the $75,000 El Joven at Retama Park. It was a winning effort for the juvenile, who drew off by a margin of 7 ¾ lengths under Lane Luzzi.

The son of veteran New York rider Mike Luzzi, made his first trip to Louisiana Downs and confidently guided the son of Daredevil to the wire. He moved from the rail to the far outside to launch his bid, with a final clocking of 1:29.96.

“He’s a real nice horse,” said Luzzi. “Hard to explain what makes him so good, other than he does everything you ask of him. The credit goes to Danny, who has worked with him from the beginning.”

Longshot Free Indeed battled gamely under rider Kerwin Clark, but had to settle for second. See Bee Salute, at 14-1, was third with Crimson Zipcompleting the superfecta.

 

 

Eskenformore Lights Up the Toteboard in the $60,000 River Cities

A full field of fillies and mares competed in the 33rd running of the $60,000 River Cities at the distance of a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf.

Sugarland Thoroughbreds LLC’s homebred Eskenformore pulled the upset at odds of 30-1 for trainer James Hodges. Leading Louisiana Downs rider Carlos Lozada guided the 6-year-old mare to victory by a margin of 1 ¾ lengths over Dagny.  Running third was Remember Daisy, who captured the $100,000 Louisiana Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds last December before heading to Canterbury Park and most recently, Arlington Park in Chicago. Is Too, a 4-year-old daughter of Midshipmam could not replicate her effort  here last month in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, finishing fourth under Colby Hernandez.

“She’s a nice mare,” stated Hodges. “She ran into trouble in her last race, but not today! She will run next at Fair Grounds on Louisiana Champions Day.”

 

Net a Bear Tops Louisiana-Bred Fillies in the $60,000 Elge Rasberry

The 24th running of the $60,000 Elge Rasberry drew a field of eight Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies and ran as the first stakes race of the Super Derby card.

Net a Bear sprang the upset for trainer Allen Landry and owner Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro. The filly by Awesome Bet closed gamely in the final furlong under jockey Tim Thornton, covering a mile, over the firm Franks Turf Course in 1:36.45.

“I’ve worked her in the morning and knew she could run,” said Thornton.

Landry felt that the addition of blinkers helped his filly.

“She has always been a high strung filly,” stated Landry. “We hauled in and bandaged her really well before loading her. By the time we arrived, she had torn all of them off!”

Scootin Bayou ran second for trainer Kenneth Hargrave and rider Jose Guerrero. Irish Hustle was under Robby Albarado and Louisiana Legends Soiree champion Snowball, who was sent off as the favorite, completed the superfecta.

Net a Bear paid $23.00 for the victory; her second win in 11 starts.  Bred by Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll, she will make her next start at Delta Downs, according to Landry.

 

 

First Stakes Victory for Run Rocket in the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin

A full field of Louisiana-bred 3-year-old colts and geldings went to the gate for the $60,000 A. L. (Red) Erwin.

The son of Run Production is owned by Margaret Lanetta Haas, and had won three of his last four starts.Trainer Beverly Burress gave jockey Eguard Tejeraa leg up, and he took the lead at the top of the stretch, completing the mile turf test in 1:36.79.

It was a special moment for retired jockey Burress, who saddled just the second stakes winner of her career.

“Since we claimed him for $10,000, he’s done everything right for us,” she said. “He has been running really well; just shows his determination when he runs.”

Make Me Smile, a son of Star Guitar, ran second under Tim Thornton, followed by Bailey’s Power and Star Fitzstall.

Run Rocket was sent off as the favorite and returned $7.60 for the win and with his winner’s share of $36,000, doubled his lifetime earnings. He was bred by Israel Flores Horses, LLC.

 

 

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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