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THE 61-DAY SEASON RUNS FROM APRIL 7 THROUGH AUGUST 12
OPELOUSAS, LA –The Louisiana Racing Commission recently approved an amended dates schedule for the 2023 Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs. The meet will now consist of 61 days of racing, with opening night Friday, April 7.
The racing schedule will feature racing on Wednesday through Saturday for the first five full weeks of the meet. Beginning the week of May 18, racing will switch to a Thursday through Saturday schedule, with closing weekend now set for August 12. First post each night will be at the new time of 5:30pm Central time.
Director of Racing Chris Warren stated, “I feel the amended race schedule will enhance the overall purse structure and make for a stronger, more appealing race meet for both horsemen and fans alike.”
The 2023 stakes action begins on opening night with the $60,000 Acadiana for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs and the $60,000 Spotted Horse for 4-year-old and up fillies and mares at one mile. The first Saturday of the meet will feature the $100,000 Evangeline Mile for 4-year-olds and up, along with the $60,000 Lafayette for 3-year-olds sprinting six furlongs. The Evangeline Downs track maintenance crew has been working diligently for the past few weeks to get the track prepared for the opening night, including having races scheduled for the turf course.
Racing fans should also mark their calendars for April 22 as the “Exotic Animal Racing” makes a return. The Saturday card will include races featuring camels and zebras that are sure to entertain and delight the crowd.
For more information on Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at www.evdracing.com. Evangeline Downs information can also be found on Twitter @EVDracing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EvangelineDownsRacing.
Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing, the Fan Duel sportsbook and fun dining experiences. Evangeline Downs is located in Opelousas, Louisiana, off I-49 on Cresswell Lane at Exit 18.
Several news outlets reported yesterday that Senator Mitch McConnell is promoting a “legislative correction” to the HISA laws now that a federal appeals court has concluded it is Unconstitutional. Once again, McConnell plans to bypass the normal process that would allow hearing and debate on his legislation by attaching his “fix” to a “Must Pass” bill such as a year ending spending bill. This path is like the way McConnell slipped the current law into Covid Relief legislation in 2020.
The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) has regulated horse racing in Louisiana for over a century. The LSRC is in the unique position to know what is best for Louisiana racing and Louisiana racing participants. The Commission and our Louisiana legislators work with industry participants to formulate laws and rules which protect our horses and jockeys and create a fair playing field for all participants.
The Louisiana HBPA urges all industry participants to contact your U.S. House Representative and your U.S. Senators (contact information provided below) and voice your opposition to these “back room” deals that circumvent your right to be heard. Specifically, ask your congressmen to block any effort by HISA for another quick fix that got us in this mess in the first place. Our horsemen’s representative wants to work with ALL parties for new, sensible legislation that allows our jobs-heavy industry and related agribusiness to thrive and improve, rather than to choke from ill-advised legislation snuck through by a well-financed minority.
You can use this link to identify and contact your Representative:
Contact information for the U.S. Senators from Louisiana is:
Senator John Kennedy
416 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-4623
Senator Bill Cassidy
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Office number 202-224-5824
Last September, Churchill Downs, Inc. banned trainer Karl Broberg from the entry box at its parent company’s racetracks after an incident involving a voided claim led to what CDI alleged as neglect.
When racing began at the CDI-owned Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La., however, the Louisiana Racing Commission insisted that only state racing stewards could legally exclude Broberg from racing. Commission chair Benjamin Guilbeau argued that since the Kentucky commission did not take action against Broberg, the trainer’s license remained in good standing.
Broberg wound up starting 40 horses at last year’s Fair Grounds race meet, per Equibase, running out earnings of $152,900. For comparison, the trainer started 76 horses at the 2020-2021 race meet.
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Attorney General Landry Leads Lawsuit Against Federal Takeover Of Horse Racing
BATON ROUGE, LA – Today the State of Louisiana, the State of West Virginia, the Louisiana Racing Commission, the Louisiana Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Jockeys’ Guild, owners, trainers, and jockeys filed suit in the Western District of Louisiana asking the Court to enjoin the implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s regulations. HISA – the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, was passed December 22, 2020, in the dark of night and tucked into the COVID relief package is an attempt to federalize horse racing, an industry the State of Louisiana has regulated for two centuries.
“HISA has created a regulatory scheme that is, at best, half-baked and harmful to everyone in the industry it purports to exist to protect and at worst unconstitutional,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “We all agree integrity and safety in horseracing is of paramount importance. And while no industry is without problems, Louisiana and West Virginia, among other states, have always strictly and effectively regulated it. I firmly believe the people of Louisiana should be in control of this activity, not political and corporate elites in some faraway place, all because of a problem that surfaced in California. Having a London lawyer, Jonathan Young, as the head of HISA’s ADMC Enforcement Agency and a Bavarian Investigator, Gunter Younger, regulating Louisiana horseman over five thousand miles away is unacceptable.”
The HISA law purports to effectively substitute state regulatory commissions with a private corporation, setup 90 days prior to the passage of this Act, in charge of horseracing. This entity has only nominal oversight by the Federal Trade Commission. This newly-created private corporation then began to issue regulations, on which the FTC permitted, allowing very little time for public comment, leaving those that actually labor under them with little input or voice. In short, the entire way this law and the regulations associated with it came about shows a reckless disregard for the industry participants and a correspondingly reckless disregard for the impact to our states. Not just for Louisiana, but for all states that engage in horseracing. The regulations are unclear, inconsistent, and violate due process. It is apparent that the HISA is shifting its own lack of preparedness to the industry and the states.
Congress recklessly set up this massive regulatory scheme that is onerous and unfair to everyone. Then, adding insult to injury, it is taxing the people who work the hardest and receive the least to pay for it while showing no interest in the safety of the sport’s most at-risk participant – the thoroughbred jockey. The Jockey Guild, which represents an entire industry of dedicated men and women at the very heart of this industry and for whom rider safety is paramount, has expressed its concerns about the reckless implementation of this law, but its comments were ignored.
This suit clearly shows that HISA is not prepared to assume control or supervision over racing. For example, HISA proposed a registration rule that also requires covered persons to be registered by July 1 and accredited by HISA. However, “covered persons” and the definition of “accredited” are unclear to just about everyone. Making matters even worse, the FTC posted its apparent approval of yet another set of rules at 8 p.m. last night, June 30, injecting even more confusion.
By T. D. Thornton
The Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) affirmed lifetime bans for two sibling jockeys from the Patin family on Tuesday related to the brothers’ criminal convictions for possessing illegal horse-shocking devices in races at Evangeline Downs in 2015.
The hearings concluded in bizarre fashion when Joseph Patin Jr., 58, apparently slipped out of the meeting room without telling anyone after first hearing that his younger brother, Billy Patin, 53, wasn’t going to be allowed to work as an exercise rider despite Billy previously agreeing to a lifetime ban of his license as a jockey.
LSRC commissioner Eddie Delahoussaye, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, addressed Billy Patin directly prior to the vote on his request. But he then launched into an admonition aimed at all jockeys who cheat and harm the reputation of the sport.
Racing commissioners in Louisiana took penalties for zilpaterol overages one step farther in a lengthy meeting April 26, extending the already-significant suspensions handed out by stewards a few weeks earlier.
The commission considered eight positives from trainer Rosendo Valdez, four from Lanny Keith, four from Manuel Pizana, three from Manuel Macias, and two from Fernando Lopez. The overages were part of a flood of recent zilpaterol positives in the state.
Zilpaterol is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in horses. Instead, it is a drug approved for use in beef cattle to promote weight gain and lean muscle mass. It’s commonly administered as a feed-through product when given to cows.
By T. D. Thornton
A new lighting system at Delta Downs that was only operational for three races on the first night of the season back in October and has been repeatedly tweaked since then might not end up being deemed safe or usable for racing by the time the current Thoroughbred meet ends Mar. 5.
Ironically, after more than three months of debate over alleged shadows and perceived inconsistencies with how the patterns fall on the racing surface, the lighting installer and a consulting firm retained by Delta are now trying to rectify the problem not by increasing candlepower, but by actually turning down the intensity of the lighting from about 90% of full illumination to around 60% on each of the poles around the six-furlong track.
By T. D. Thornton
Jason Boulet, the Fair Grounds director of racing, was repeatedly pressed by Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) member Tom Calvert Tuesday about whether or not his track would once again seek a statutory change to reduce its required number of race dates from 80 to 75 when the state legislature convenes its 2022 session Mar. 14.
The exchange did not yield a definitive answer beyond Boulet’s disclosure that the Fair Grounds and its corporate parent, the gaming firm Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), would be in favor of participating in discussions among stakeholders that might reduce race dates in Louisiana with the goal of making it easier to fill entries at the state’s four Thoroughbred tracks.
The dates statute wasn’t on the agenda for the Jan. 18 LSRC meeting. But Calvert brought it up after Boulet reported that so far through the November-through-March meet, the number of starters per Fair Grounds race has dipped from 8.3 to 7.6 in a year-over-year comparison, a decrease Boulet termed “alarming.”
Louisiana Racing Commission delays decision on restoring night racing for 30 days.
better lighting system at Boyd Gaming’s Delta Downs in Southern Louisiana has not been good enough for the track to restore its valuable two nights of racing per week.
The racetrack lost its lighting during the devastation from Category 4 Hurricane Laura in August 2020 and consequently its most valuable real estate in the national pari-mutuel simulcast landscape. A new lighting system was unveiled in October, which one expert has called “exceptionally better than in the past,” but the Delta Downs jockey colony has not been happy with the results, calling an uneven spread of dark and bright spots around the track dangerous to both horse and rider.
The Louisiana Racing Commission considered the issue Dec. 13 during a hearing to consider a Delta Downs request to convert two of its four weekly racing days from afternoon to night.