LOUISIANA DOWNS 2021 THOROUGHBRED LIVE RACING SEASON TO GET UNDERWAY ON SATURDAY, MAY 1

The 84-Day Meet Will Run Through September 22

 

Bossier City, LA – The 2021 Thoroughbred racing season at Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, May 1. The dates were approved by  Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC).

 

The stable area opened on April 8 for horsemen who have been allocated stalls for the 2021Thoroughbred season.  Ship in hours will be from 11:00 am–5:00 pm and trainers must contact Natalie Moses at (318) 820-8324 prior to shipping. The 2021 Quarter Horse live racing season concluded on April 7 with those conditioners continuing to ship to Delta Downs or other upcoming Quarter Horse meets.

 

“Our Quarter Horse meet recently wrapped up and we are happy to return to our previous Thoroughbred schedule, which was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing. “We look forward to welcoming our Thoroughbred trainers for a successful racing season.”

 

The first condition book for May 1-24 is available on Equibase. Further information on the Thoroughbred stakes schedule will be forthcoming, but officials have confirmed that the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby will not be contested in 2021.

 

The 84-day meet will continue through Wednesday, September 22 with live racing to run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 2:45 pm (Central).  There will also be one Sunday race card on  July 4. For details on simulcasting and special events, visit Louisiana Downs racing.com.

 

About 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.

Saints N Muskets Waits Early, Kicks Late in Shantel Lanerie

Landry Star Wins Third Stakes in Last Five Starts

 

Saints N Muskets with Mitchell Murrill aboard wins the Shantel Lanerie Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

As they like to say, ‘The waiting is the hardest part.’ Loaded entering the far turn with nowhere to go in the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie Memorial for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, Mitchell Murrill and Rodney Verret’s Saints N Muskets bided their time, found a seam in midstretch, and kicked clear for a convincing 2-length win over Snowball in the penultimate 2020-21 stakes race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

Saints N Muskets ($10.20) alternated between third and fourth while on the rail early in the Lanerie, as longshot Crescentcitypretty set an honest pace of 24.71 and 48.19, in what was a tight-knit field of six. The field bunched that much more entering the far turn as Murrill and Saint N Muskets drafted into contention while behind a wall of horses, with little to do but wait and hope for an opening. Said opening emerged in midstretch between a tiring Crescentcitypretty and Quikfast N Ahurry and Murrill produced Saints N Muskets, who burst through and pulled clear over a wide rallying Snowball. She’s Gone d’Wild finished a nose behind Snowball for the place, while 1.80-1 favorite Net a Bear, stablemate to the winner, finished fourth. Saints N Muskets covered the 1-mile and 70 yards over a fast main track in 1:42.81.

“It worked out perfect,” Murrill said. “The horse broke sharp, I was able to save ground in the pocket and wait for my time to go. Things opened up for me at the head of the lane and I was able to squeeze though.”

Saints N Muskets has morphed from an allowance/fringe stakes contender early in her career to a proven Louisiana-bred star over the past several for trainer Allen Landry. The 6-year-old daughter of Musket Man ended 2020 with a win in the Lookout at Delta Downs in November and started 2021 with a win there in January in the Magnolia. After running second to Quikfast N Ahurry at Delta in the Premier Distaff in February Landry brought her to Fair Grounds where she tuned up for the Lanerie running seventh in her turf debut in the March 6 Red Camelia. Needless to say, Saints N Muskets, who is now 6-for-19 lifetime, won’t be heading back to the lawn any time soon.

“She’s a much better horse on the dirt, she didn’t seem to like the turf at all,” Landry said. “I expected Saints N Muskets would be a little closer but Mitchell said he just sat there and waited for his time until it opened up.”

The Shantel Lanerie is named for the late wife of longtime jockey Corey Lanerie, who passed away in June of 2018 due to complications from breast cancer. Information on her foundation can be found here https://shantellaneriefoundation.com.

Green, Pound for Pound in Tune in Star Guitar

Veteran Gamely Holds Off Favored Jus Lively in a Thriller

Aubrie Green pilots Pound To Pound to victory in the 11th running of the Star Guitar Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Jan Brubaker

New Orleans (March 27, 2021) – Bruised foot be damned, Aubrie Green wasn’t going to miss a chance to ride Pound for Pound. Shaking off a Friday afternoon trip to the hospital after her foot was stepped on, Green climbed aboard her beloved Pound for Perfect and delivered a perfectly timed ride to hold off a hard-charging Jus Lively by a length in the $75,000 Star Guitar for Louisiana breds, which closed down the stakes action at the 2020-21 Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots meet.

Green won for the fourth time in a row on Israel Flores Horses’ Pound for Pound, a 6-year-old son of Redding Colliery, though the streak was in serious jeopardy some 24 hours before. Green was tossed from a mount on the Friday card and had her foot stepped on, which prompted her to take off her remaining mounts. X-rays proved negative, the bandages went on, and Green pronounced herself fit to ride. Not that there was ever any doubt in her mind.

“I said if it’s broken, we are just going to wrap that thing up and I’m going to ride this race,” Green said. “This horse is my whole world. I love him. He is my best friend. I’ve never been so in sync with a horse before. He just does everything for me. He gives me all of his heart every single time. It doesn’t matter what the odds are.”

Pound for Pound ($16.40) has done his best running setting or pressing the early pace but Green got him to settle a bit more in the Star Guitar, as they tracked loose leader Maga Man in second through pedestrian fractions of 25.12 and 49.95, which 3-2 favorite Just Lively was just a length back in third. The cadence, if not the order, quickened entering the far turn and Pound for Pound wrestled a short lead from Maga Man approaching midstretch, with Jus Lively in hot pursuit. Pound for Pound drifted off his line slightly while Jus Lively took second but had plenty left in reserve to score for the eighth time in 25 career starts for trainer Andrea Ali.

Pound for Pound won for the fourth straight time with Green aboard, dating back to a Delta Downs allowance in December 2019, along with the Louisiana Champions Day Classic here in December 2019 and an optional-claiming win here in January. The Star Guitar played out exactly as Green had it mapped out in her mind.

“I knew Maga Man was going to try to go,” Green said. “I figured if I get the lead easy, I’ll take it, but if he goes, I’m going to sit right off of him. We were going pretty slow right off the bat so I just held him right on his hip. Down the backstretch I asked him just a little bit just to make sure he knew we were still in the race because he gets a little lackadaisical.”

Ali, based primarily at Delta, shipped in Pound for Pound earlier in the meet and his stable star continued his affinity for the Fair Grounds oval, as that made it 8-3-3-0 locally. One of those second-place finishes was by a neck in the 2019 Star Guitar, when Green and Pound for Pound led every step but the last few. The pair made amends Saturday, in what was undoubtedly a team effort.

“This is the best horse Mr. Flores has had so far,” Ali said. “The whole team, from the grooms to the riders, have done a good job with this horse. Aubrie wins with him all the time. I don’t give her any instructions. She knows the horse.”

The Star Guitar is named in honor of the richest Louisiana-bred ever, a Brittlyn Stable homebred who earned $1.749 million in a distinguished 30-24-0-2 career that included 22 stakes wins for trainer Al Stall Jr.

April 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 Association, and  Whispering Oaks FarmClick images to link to more information

April 2

  • Good Friday

April 4

  • Easter Sunday

April 7

  • LTBA Board of Directors Meeting, 1:00 P.M. Evangeline Downs, John Henry Room.

April 8

  • Louisiana  Downs barn area opens for 2021 Thoroughbred meet.

April 22

  • Louisiana Downs 2021 Thoroughbred meet zero date for papers.

April 28

  • Evangeline Downs 2021 Thoroughbred meet opens.

 

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.com for consideration.

 

Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association

504-947-4676

Who Took the Money Overcomes All Obstacles, Remains Undefeated in Crescent City Derby

State-bred Star Gets Loose Pre-Race, Still Holds Off Stablemate

 

Gabriel Saez aboard Who Took The Money outduels Highland Creek and Adam Beschizza to win the 49th running of the Crescent City Derby at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

To say trainer Bret Calhoun had some anxious moments prior to the $100,000 Crescent City Derby would be like saying Saints fans won’t miss Drew Brees.

Allied Racing Stable’s homebred Who Took the Money, the overwhelming .40-1 favorite, decided to give his 11 3-year-old rivals a fighting chance when he flipped over in the post parade, tossed jockey Gabe Saez, and briefly ran off. Once corralled and deemed fit to run by a state veterinarian, he was all business, rallying along the rail and holding off his game stablemate Highland Creek by a nose.

“He’s a big strong horse and he’s still learning is lessons,” Calhoun said. “Both the horse and jockey were very game in their performances.”

Who Took the Money settled in sixth early on behind longshot leaders Wise Verdict and Wrongwayhighway, while Highland Creek settled in third. The field bunched entering the far turn when Adam Beschizza and Highland Creek opted to tip out wide, while Saez and Who Took the Money held the rail, and scooted through the large opening inside when the leaders fanned off the turn. Who Took the Money kicked clear but Highland Creek was resolute, though he ultimate came up short, with the winner traveling the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.73. It was a length back to Unanimously in third.

Saez was been aboard Who Took the Money in both of his prior two starts and chalked up the pre-race incident to bad luck. But once the gates opened, it was business as usual.

“It was just one of those things that happens every so often,” Saez said. “I was able to save ground on the inside and got through and he kicked on from there.”

Who Took the Money has come a long way in a short period of time for Calhoun, as he was an unraced maiden on the morning of February 5 and is now 3-for-3 and a stakes winner. Wild and hard to handle early on, Calhoun opted to geld the son of Street Boss prior to his career debut and Who Took the Money won by 4 ½ lengths. He entered off another easy win in a March 6 two-turn state-bred allowance, and is now 3-for-3.

Calhoun and Allied’s owner Chester Thomas teamed to win the Louisiana Derby (G2) in 2019 with By My Standards, and while Who Took the Money isn’t in that class, the latter still had plenty of reason to celebrate.

“We’re having a lot of fun with these Louisiana breds,” Thomas said. “You’ve got to give it to Gabe, what a heart, he rode a wonderful race. What can you say, Bret and everyone has done a great job.”

Classy John Better Than Ever in Costa Rising

Former State-Bred Champion Pulls Off Shocker

 

Classy John with jockey Colby Hernandez aboard captures the 11th running of the $100,000 Costa Rising Stakes at Fair Grounds.  Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Grade 1 winner No Parole may have garnered all the pre-race headlines but Valene Farms’ Classy John got the money as he pulled off a shocker by a head over X Clown in the $100,000 Costa Rising. Run at 5 ½ furlongs over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the costa Rising was the second of three state-bred stakes on the Louisiana Derby (G2) undercard, and while the other two went to a pair of heavy favorites, Classy John blew up the board at $61.

Colby Hernandez and Classy John pressed X Clown for the majority of the first 5 furlongs, as the duo ran in tandem and were never more than a head apart, while carving out fractions of 22.59 and 45.54. Meanwhile, No Parole, the .40-1 favorite making his turf debut, broke slowly from the inside and wasn’t allowed to show his customary blazing early speed, as he was bottled up on the backside. Classy John took charge in midstretch and opened a 1 ½-length lead, only to see X Clown re-break and rally again, only to fall a whisker short. Monte Man, who won the Costa Risa the past two years, rallied late to finish a half-length over No Parole in third. Classy John stopped the timer in 1:03.17 over a turf course listed as “good.”

Hernandez was aboard for Classy John’s last two starts and knew his charge had plenty of tactical speed, but after seeing No Parole behind him, he decided to take advantage.

“Obviously I knew No Parole was the horse to beat and I knew where he was,” Hernandez said. “(When he broke slow) I took his spot and from there he just fought hard all the way for the win.”

Classy John has been a reclamation for trainer Dallas Stewart, as he was a 2-year-old Louisiana-bred champion in 2018 but went off form since and entered off 12 straight losses dating back to a win in the Louisiana Futurity here on the main track in December 2018. Stewart never lost faith with the 5-year-old son of Songandaprayer but did try a career and surface change in January, when Classy John was seventh over the Stall-Wilson. He re-emerged in his last, when second, beaten a head, behind two-time defending Costa Rising champion Monte Man and clearly moved forward Saturday, while upping his lifetime record to 4-for-17.

“We were struggling a little bit so we tried him on the grass and he ran OK the first time and the second time he ran great,” Stewart said. “Today was just an awesome performance. He beat a grade 1 winner today and a horse (Monte Man) who has won 17 races, so I think that establishes himself as a nice horse on the turf.”

No Parole had every chance when produced off the far turn after his slow break, yet flattened out a bit late to finish third. The 4-year-old son of Violence was one of the best 3-year-old dirt sprinters in the country last year for trainer Tom Amoss and won the Woody Stephens (G1) at Belmont Park in June. Luis Saez was aboard for the Woody Stephens and definitely wasn’t in the position he envisioned shortly after the start.

“He was in the right position turning from home but he didn’t break that well,” Saez said. “From there they went slow and everyone came back and we couldn’t be there (in front) in the spot we wanted to be.”

Australasia Kicks Off Louisiana Derby Day in Style

Undefeated Filly Shines in Trio of 100k State-Bred Undercard Stakes

 

Australasia, with Florent Geroux aboard, wins the 16th running of the Crescent City Oaks at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges Jr.

New Orleans (March 20, 2021) – On a 14-race card that included eight stakes and culminated with Hot Rod Charlie’s win in the $1 million TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2), Hubert Guy and Magnifico’s Australasia didn’t waste any time lighting the torch in the 11:20 a.m. CT opener.  Undefeated in from three starts coming in, she remained that way with a workmanlike 2 ¾-length win over Winning Romance in the $100,000 Crescent City Oaks for Louisiana-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Florent Geroux had Australasia ($2.20) in second and spying the early speed of Winning Romance, as the latter cut out fast fractions of 23.62 and 46.83 with the 1-9 favorite pressing her from the entire way. The pair came off the far turn together and began to draw away from the field, with Australasia asserting herself late and pulling clear for a popular win. Big Time, a two-time stakes state-bred stakes winner earlier in the meet, rallied for a non-threatening third.

Geroux, aboard Australasia for the first time, had as many anxious moments prior to the race as he did during it, as his filly reared up a bit, tossed her head, and crashed in to his mouth and cheek, causing a few scrapes.

“The bugler was playing the music (call to post) before the race and she got scared and backed into me but everything was good after that and I tried to keep her as quiet as I could in the post parade,” Geroux said. “She did the job again and proved she is a talented filly. We’ll see what she can do next time.”

Australasia, a daughter of Sky Kingdom, burst on to the scene here Opening Day, November 26, when she won on debut by 8 ¼ lengths at what looks like a now robust 7-2 for trainer Brad Cox. She backed that run up with similar dominant efforts at Delta Downs in the Louisiana Jewel in January and Premier Star February 10, winning by 6 lengths and 7 ¼ lengths, respectively. Australasia is obviously a queen in the state-bred ranks, which has Cox looking towards open waters.

“We may have taken some low-hanging fruit today but now she’s 4-for-4 and she deserves an opportunity against open company; we’ll do that next time but I’m not sure where,” Cox said. “I’m just proud of what she did today. They rode along pretty good up front and she finished up really well and did what she was supposed to do. Any time a horse is 4-for-4 they have to have ability and she stepped up and ran a good race today.”

First Mare In Foal to Aurelius Maximus

The Louisiana-based Aurelius Maximus (Pioneerof the Nile–La Reina, by A.P. Indy) had his first mare confirmed in foal this week.

The durable Pay the Man (Bernstein), owned by Montgomery Equine, is among the first book of mares for Grade II-placed Aurelius Maximus. The Ohio-bred made 76 trips to the post in nine years at the races, winning 27 times (including 21 black-type races) for earnings of $1,058,511.

Aurelius Maximus stands at Adcock’s Red River Farms in Coushatta, LA, for an advertised stud fee of $2,000 LFG with consideration to approved mares.