Two $1,000 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) Scholarships Will be Drawn After the Fifth Race
Bossier City, LA – The annual Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs will take place Saturday, August 5. First post is 1:05 pm (Central) for the nine-race card which will feature six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds with purses of $75,000 each. The stakes action, which gets underway in the second race of the card, will showcase a range of talented Louisiana-breds competing on the main track and Franks Turf course. Here is a preview of each of the six features.
Free Like a Girl Headlines the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
The $75,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint will kick off the stakes portion of Louisiana Cup Day, with overflow field Louisiana-bred fillies and mares. Defending champion Free Like a Girl returns to Louisiana Downs on Cup Day as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the six-furlong sprint. Bred by retired jockey Kim Renee Stover and her sister, Lisa Osborne, the daughter of El Deal, out of the Flashy Bull mare Flashy Prize, has won 13 of her 28 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 last year as Champion 3-year-old Filly.
She exits a runner-up finish to Mangum in the $100,00 Louisiana Stallion Stakes at Evangeline Downs on July 8. Free Like a Girl left the gate as the 122 pound high weight in the field; Mangum carried 111.
“We couldn’t be more proud of her” said trainer Chasey Pomier. “She fought hard, but giving eleven pounds was a lot to ask. Free Like a Girl means so much to our team. She’s getting close to earning $1 million, but even more importantly, she brings new people to the sport. After her win at Lone Star, a little girl asked if she could pet our “pony”! She can be difficult sometimes, but stood calmly to receive pets from her newest fan; that’s just one way she inspires us!”
Tim Thornton, who piloted the intrepid filly to two stakes wins in 2023, has the return call and will leave from the far outside post. She has banked $951,578 since making her debut in 2021.
The three fillies who ran second, third and fourth to Free Like a Girl on June 3 in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle at Evangeline Downs, will take her on again Saturday. Beleout, owned by Pendleton Larsen, Jr. is the 7-2 second choice. The filly by Flat Out will be ridden by Angel Suarez, who has already won 32 races this meet at Louisiana Downs. First I’ve Seen,a daughter of Astrology has hit the board in 14 of her 15 races for trainer Shane Wilson. Noneya, who ran fourth, had won back-to-back allowance races for owner/trainer Ronnie Ward.
Thomas Galvin’s Norah G makes her first start since competing at Fair Grounds in January. The 3-year-old daughter of Fast Anna won the $112,000 Louisiana Futurity on December 31 for trainer Patricia West. She will break from the rail with Emanuel Nieves in the saddle.
Defending Champion Cheapskate Diva Returns in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff
The first turf stakes of the card, the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew ten fillies and mares who will travel a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course.
Cheapskate Diva was in fine form as last year’s champion as she made her stakes debut for breeder/owner Keith Plaisance, taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing clear by 1 ½ lengths under jockey Carlos Marquez. The final time, over the firm turf course was 1.41.92. The victory marked the first stakes win for trainer Joseph “Bobby” Felks.
The 5-year-old mare by Animal Kingdom out of the Candy Ride (ARG) mare Beautiful Liar exits a victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf Distaff at Evangeline Downs on June 3. She will take on nine rivals as the 3-1 morning line favorite. Cheapskate Diva has now won five of her 16 efforts with earnings of $188,040.
“She’s a much better horse on the grass,” stated Felks. “After the win last year, we gave her some time off and see that she seems to run well when she has a month off in between starts. This is a tough field this year, but we are ready.”
Plaisance was proud of his homebred and her conditioner.
“It was Bobby’s idea to enter her in this last year,” added Plaisance. “Bobby felt she deserved a shot and to win over tough mares like Net a Bear and Fort Polk was amazing. My hat’s off to Bobby!”
LTBA Champion Net a Bear has been retired by her connections, but Fort Polk, returns. The 7-year-old daughter of Behindatthebar, trained by Pat Mouton for owners Steve and Pat Roe, will make her third start in the Louisiana Cup Distaff. She ran third in the 2021 edition of the stakes and completed the exacta last year. Bred by Spanish Cross Stable, LLC, Fort Polk will break from the rail under rider Emanuel Nieves. She is the top earner with $410,710 banked in 44 starts.
Stakes winner A G’s Charlotte is also entered for owner Tom Galvin and trainer Patricia West. Versatile on turf and dirt, the 4-year-old Mo Tom filly, will break from post eight under jockey C J McMahon at odds of 7-2 in search of her eighth career victory. Wholelottamo, who captured the 2021 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer Scott Gelner, looks like a strong contender as well. Now trained by his son, Jayde Gelner, the 4-year-old mare by Mo Tom is closing in on the $300,000 earnings mark for owner Stephen Thompson. She will break from the far outside post under rider Luis Fuentes.
“She has grown and matured,” said Gelner. “We feel she is better on grass and feel that the outside post is perfect for her.”
Undefeated Strong Promise Takes on Eleven Rivals in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile
The $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings attracted a field of 12 at the distance of five and one-half furlongs on the main track.
Norman Racing Stables, LLC’s Strong Promise makes his Louisiana Downs debut for trainer Jayde J. Gelner. The 2-year colt by Broken Vow out of the Macho Uno mare St. Jean, is undefeated in two starts. Bred by J. Adcock & Hume Wornall. Strong Promise won at first asking, romping by a margin of 10 lengths on June 3 at Evangeline Downs before winning the $150,000 TTA Futurity at Lone Star Park on July 1.
Gelner is the son of conditioner Scott Gelner and is a young horseman to watch. The 22-year-old has only been training for two years and has already topped his 2022 win and earning stats in the first month of this year. He has five entrants on the Louisiana Cup Day card.
“My dad picked Strong Promise in the (2021) Texas Thoroughbred 2-Year-Old Sale,” said Gelner. “He sold for $125,000, but we knew from his first breeze at Copper Crown that he had talent. So far, he has done everything easily.”
The third-generation horseman is off to a sensational start, handling a very demanding schedule.
“I am on the road sometimes 40 hours a week, running in Louisiana, Texas and Iowa,” added Gelner. “We have stalls at Remington Park, so it is pretty busy, but I have a really good team.”
Luis Fuentes has the call aboard the 7-2 morning-line choice and will break from post 11.
Breeders J. Adcock and Hume Wornall have another promising 2-year-old in this stakes in El Dinero who registered a major upset at 39-1 in the $70,000 D.S. ‘Shine’ Young Futurity at Evangeline Downs last month. The son of El Deal recovered from a bad break rallied and drew off to a victory in the five and one-half feature by a margin of 2 1/2 lengths. Trained by Patrick Devereux, Jr. for owner TAV Enterprises, El Dinero will break from the four hole under jockey Juan Vargas. Deal With It Daddy who ran second in the D.S. Shine Futurity and third-place finisher Good and Stout are also entered in the Louisiana Cup Juvenile.
Running Argument Strong Contender in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies
A field of 12 accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies, along with two also eligibles, will compete in what appears to be one of the best groups ever for the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Several first-time winners will face off in the five and one-half main track sprint.
Running Argument will put her two-race win streak on the line for breeder/ owner trainer Hance Robbins. Robbins,35, is also a third-generation horseman. His dad, Ray has trained Quarter Horses for over three decades, but Hance was drawn to Thoroughbreds. He purchased Running Argument’s dam Run Jamaican’s Run in an estate sale and bred her to Closing Argument.
“We broke her on the farm, and like my dad always told me, you can never tell how good your horses will be until you see them on the racetrack,” he explained.
The dark bay filly made her debut on May 13 at Evangeline Downs, coming from off the pace for a noteworthy debut victory. She demonstrated even more firepower winning the $70,000 D.S. ‘Shine’ Young Futurity- Fillies Division on July 7.
Top Louisiana jockey Tim Thornton, who has quality mounts in the majority of the Cup Day features, has the call.
“Timmy has won races for me,” added Robbins. “He is very similar to this filly in that they can be both patient and aggressive in a race.”
Chasey Pomier will saddle Emily’s Bullet, a filly by Gormley, who broke her maiden at Lone Star Park and finished third behind Running Argument in the Shine Futurity.
“She’s progressing well,” said Pomier. “We feel that she will handle longer distances in the future as she is a long, lanky filly.”
Other debut winners include Thompson Racing LLC,’s Diamond Deal, trained by Jayde Gelner; Saved by Grace, a daughter of Star Guitar, who broke her maiden at Canterbury Park on July 9 for Road Trip Racing, Inc. and Viv’s Wild Aces, who won here on June 5 for trainer Joe Duhon.
Two Previous Champions Battle in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic
The $75,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted 12 runners going a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course. Several proven turf stakes winners, including 2021 champion Carlea’s Dream and Budro Talking, who captured the trophy in 2020, are entered.
However, there is a new rising turf star in the picture with 5-2 morning line favoritism going to Woods N Water owned by Richard Painter and John Dewberry. The 4-year-old son of Palace has been very accomplished on the turf, winning the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Turf at Evangeline Downs for trainer Lee Thomas.
“We tried him on the grass and he showed us that he really enjoyed it,” said Thomas. “This will be his first turf start at Louisiana Downs and the course looks like it plays a little different that Evangeline Downs, but Tommy has so much experience and has gotten along well with this horse.”
Rider Tommy Pompell, one of the most experienced jockeys on the Louisiana circuit, has the return call aboard Woods N Water. They will break from post position five.
Carlea’s Dream, owned by Carl Moore Management is a 6-year-old son of Lea. Trained by Karen Jacks, this will be the third time Carlea’s Dream has run in the Louisiana Cup Turf Classic. He split runners in 2021 as he captured the title and ran fifth in the 2022 edition of the stakes.
“He’s matured and has been better in the gate,” Jacks said. “He loves the turf, like all horses sired by Lea. Iram Diego fits him well.”
Budro Talking was claimed following his victory in 2020, when he advanced from tenth to cross the wire by 1 ¼ lengths. The 8-year-old son of Tale of Ekati is owned and trained by Sturges Ducoing and will make his 49th career start. Tim Thornton has the call and will break from the far outside post.
Black Sword Goes for His Third Stakes in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint
The $75,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Sprint will run as the final stakes (race 8) on the program with eleven talented Louisiana-breds traveling six furlongs on the main track.
Black Sword ran second in last year’s Louisiana Cup Sprint and the 6-year-old gelding has been installed as the 7-2 favorite. Margie Averett bred the son of Awsome Sword to Black Mariah and Ronnie Averett will ship in the multiple-stakes winner in from his base at Evangeline Downs. Owned by Treanor MD LLC, Black Sword won the $60,000 King Creole Stakes on May 6 and the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint, also at Evangeline, on June 3.
“He’s always been a little nervous, but has calmed down this year,” explained Ronnie Averett.
Regular rider, the talented Vicente Del Cid, elected to stay at Evangeline Downs on Saturday as he is in the hunt for the leading rider title. Tim Thornton will ride the accomplished sprinter.
“Vicente has been a big part of his success, but we will be fine with Tim,” he added.
His main rival appears to be Kendel Standlee’s homebred Big Chopper a 4-year-old son of Shackleford. Originally trained by Scott Gelner, his son Jayde will saddle the chestnut colt who has won four stakes and earned $375,883 in 21 starts. Mike J, a 4-year-old gelded son of Sky Mesa, ran fourth to Black Sword in the Louisiana Legends Sprint. He prepped for this with an allowance victory on July 15 at Evangeline. Jockey Aubrie Green has the return call.
“We are very grateful to LTBA for raising Cup Day purses to $75,000 this year and to the owners and trainers who are pointing their horses to the six stakes races,” said Matt Crawford, Louisiana Downs racing secretary. “Each of the races on Saturday have full fields and we look forward to a great crowd and plenty of wagering action from horseplayers across the country.”
Louisiana Cup Day Festivities
Racing fans of all ages are invited to enjoy the festivities offered on August 5 at Louisiana Downs. Beginning at 2:00 pm, the first 100 fans will receive a gift giveaway of a 50th Season Celebration Button. 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. For fans preferring the air conditioned comfort of the grandstand, the Clubhouse Buffet will be open and is accepting reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to claim your FREE $5 wager while you are watching and wagering at Louisiana Downs!
Scholarship Drawings Set for Louisiana Cup Day
The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) will award two (2) scholarships, each valued at $1,000 on Saturday, August 5 at Louisiana Downs.
The drawings will take place after the fifth race. The races begin at 1:05 p.m. and the student must be there to register between 12:05 and 1:05 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 2023.
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.