Mo Tom and El Deal, both freshman stallions standing at the Adcock family’s Red River Farms in Coushatta, La., were represented by their first black-type winners Aug. 21 at Louisiana Downs.
In the second race of the day, Wholelottamo took the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes for Mo Tom, and two races later True Deal eked out a victory in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes to represent El Deal. Both 2-year-olds were bred in Louisiana by Cloyce Clark Jr.
Bossier City, LA – Temperatures rose into the upper 90’s Saturday afternoon at Louisiana Downs but excellent efforts were on display in each of the six black-type stakes on Louisiana Cup Day.
Driving Finish By Wholelottamo in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies
Stakes action began with the running of the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies. A very competitive field of eight accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies entered the gate for the six furlong contest with a confident score by Wholelottamo.
Owned by Thompson Racing LLC, the daughter of Mo Tom made her Louisiana Downs debut after two starts at Lone Star Park. Tim Thornton, who is just one win away from his 2,500th career victory, guided the chestnut filly to the wire in 1:12.97, winning by a margin of 2 ½ lengths. Trainer Scott Gelner was not surprised at her victory, citing the tough company she faced in her June 5 debut.
“She ran against two really nice fillies in that race,” said Gelner. “One of them (Wicked Halo) won a Grade 2 at Saratoga. I have to give credit to my son (assistant trainer, JJ). He’s not here; he;s on vacation in the Bahamas!”
Early pacesetter Streak of Silver hung on for second under Lindey Wade, followed by Free Like a Girl and Buckely Bunny.
Bred by Cloyce C. Clark, Jr., Wholelottamo ($5.20) has now won two of her three starts and banked $57,925.
Net a Bear Turned Back Five Rivals in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff
The first turf stakes of the card, the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew six fillies and mares who traveled a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course. Due to heavy rain earlier this week, it was listed as good and proved no obstacle for Net a Bear.
The 5-year-old filly by Awesome Bet out of the Eddington mare Edacious Reality, owned by Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro, was the 3-2 morning line favorite. The multiple-stakes winner for breeders Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll exited a victory in the $60,000 Opelousas Stakes at Evangeline Downs on July 2.
Tim Thornton patiently saved ground, tracking familiar foe Offspring in splits of :24.47; :49.51 and 1:14.18 before taking the lead and finishing in 1:45.01.
“She’s such a nice filly to ride,” said Thornton. “I have always ridden her with a game plan, but know she will be there when I call on her. I let her settle and when I called on her, she was game. Allen’s done a great job with her.”
Net a Bear (4.40) improved her record to seven wins from 25 starts. Her check for $30,000 increased her earnings to $352,070.
Oak Tree Stable’s Offspring completed the exacta with Fort Polk running third and Freda’s Smooth Air running fourth.
True Deal Resurgent in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile
The fourth race of the afternoon was the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings.
Morning line favoritism in the six furlong stakes went to Norman Stables LLC True Deal, a colt by True Deal out of the Big Brown mare Hilarious Brown. Although he did not leave the gates as the favorite, he would not be denied as he closed gamely under jockey Joe Stokes to win his first career stakes.
Sent off as the third choice in the nine horse field, True Deal (12.60) finished by a neck over Family Creed in a final time of 1:12.97.
Trainer Lonnie Briley has been pleased with efforts of his colt who is sired by leading first crop Louisiana stallion El Deal.
“I’ve liked him a lot,” said Briley. “He’s easy to train and doesn’t make any mistakes. His sire is by Munnings, so even though he ran well today, I think he can go faster and should do very well either stretching out or on the turf.”
The victory marked the second win for breeder Cloyce C. Clark Jr.Tambourine Star finished third behind Family Creed with longshot Son Carlos completing the superfecta.
Chu Chu’s Legacy Earns His Second Louisiana Cup Day Score Taking the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint
Allen Landry’s Chu Chu’s Legacy is no stranger to success on statebred racing stakes days. He won the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile last year and turned back a very tough field of sprinters today as he captured the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint.
It was the second 2021 Louisiana Cup victory for owner/trainer Landry, who was reached by phone following the win.
“He’s just amazing,” said Landry who purchased the colt for a modest $4,000 at the Equine Sales Mixed Sale. “I was a little leary of running him against older horses, but he does everything I have asked him to do.”
Rider Joe Stokes took control at the top of the stretch and drew off to finish 1 ½ lengths ahead of Scarlettsblackjack in 1:10.79.
“He broke well and sat behind the speed,” said Stokes. “When I asked him, he just responded. He’s a hell of a horse!”
Landry’s wife Sandra named the colt after Chu Chu Perez who worked for the couple as a groom, but passed away last year.
Monte Man, who won the 2018 Louisiana Cup Sprint, ran a game third under Gerard Melancon, followed by Half Again..
Sent off at odds of 7-1, Chu Chu’s Legacy paid $15.80 for the win, which was his sixth in ten starts. With today’s winner’s share of $30,000, his earnings stand at $206,350.
Carlea’s Dream Splits Rivals in an Exciting $50,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic
The $50,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic an excellent group of turf specialists competing a mile and one sixteenth over the good turf course.
Carlea’s Dream, was installed as the 5-2 morning line choice, lived up to his billing for owner Carl Moore Management. Lindey Wade made the trip to Louisiana Downs to pilot the 4-year-old son of Lea out of the Corinthian mare Beat The Street. Bred by Time Will Tell LLC, Carlea’s Dream won in 1:44.37.
“It was so nice to come home and I am grateful to Karen for bringing me in to ride,” said Wade. “I knew this horse had it in him and could win a Louisiana-bred stakes.
The bay gelding had won two turf races this year in Texas. Trainer Karen Jacks said that he will stay in Louisiana and run in an upcoming turf stakes.
“He’s just like his name, a dream to train,” she said. “He loves the turf, like all horses sired by
Lea. His only two bad efforts were races taken off the turf.”
Britts a Closer, who broke his maiden on the Franks Turf Course last year, was in contention and held for second under leading rider Joel Dominguez. Mangelsen was third with Unrestricted completing the superfecta.
Strong Beauty Won Her First Stakes in the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
Trainer Ron Faucheux had a full group of stakes entrants, but had to wait until the final feature of the day, the $50,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint, to visit the winner’s circle.
Strong Beauty, owned by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds, defeated a highly competitive group of distaffers, including defending champion Tin Roof Farms LLC’s Snowball, and LTBA champion 4-year-old filly Our Lost Love.
Ridden by Carlos Marquez, the daughter of Overanalyze, earned her first stakes score, closing from off the pace to win the six furlong contest in 1:11.69.
“We got her at the Fair Grounds and she has just continued to progress,”said Faucheaux. “She is now in her top form and I expect good things from her as we move forward. Carlos rode a perfect race. This was very exciting!”
Crescentcitypretty ran second, followed by Snowball and Dance Away.
Strong Beauty ($10.80) will be pointed to Louisiana Champions Day at Fair Grounds, according to her trainer.
Registration Still Open for the Annual Charity Golf Tournament
Louisiana Downs will host its annual Charity Golf Tournament at Northwood Hills Golf Club in Shreveport, Louisiana on Wednesday September 1.The event will benefit The Winner’s Circle Church and Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk for his many programs to assist the Louisiana Downs racing community and backstretch workers.
Sign in for the event’s Four Person Scramble kicks off at 10:00 a.m. with tee off at 10:30 a.m. The fee is $80 per personor $320 for a four-person team. The fee includes green fees, golf cart, lunch, and Super Derby t-shirt/cap. Trophies will be presented to the first, second and third-place teams.
The deadline to enter is Wednesday, August 25th. Attendees can register in person in the Louisiana Downs Racing office, or by mail. Checks should be payable to The Backside Benevolence Fund and mailed to: Jennifer Sokol, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas Street, Bossier City, Louisiana, 71111. For further information, please contact Jennifer Sokol at (318) 741-2512 or (318) 573-5830.
Mo Tom’s first starter, 2-year-old Louisiana-bred filly Wholelottamo, won a maiden special weight June 20 at Lone Star Park defeating eight other fillies, with the nearest competitor 1 1/2 lengths behind. She completed the five furlongs in :59.70 on a fast track
This was the second asking for the filly owned by Stephen Thompson’s Thompson Racing and trainer Scott Gelner after coming in third her first time out June 5 at Lone Star.
Bred in Louisiana by Cloyce Clark Jr., Wholelottamo is out of the A. P Jet mare Jet’s Tradition, the dam of 10 foals, with six to race and six to win, including stakes-placed Jet Majesty. She was purchased for $17,000 at the 2020 Equine Sales Company’s Consignor Select Yearling and 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale by Thompson.
Mo Tom, an 8-year-old son of Uncle Mo, was a winner of the Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Ohio Derby at Thistledown, and Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs. He retired to stud duty in 2018 with total earnings of $665,356 for owner GMB Racing and trainer Tom Amoss.
Mo Tom stands at Red River Farms in Coushatta for $2,000.
Tom Benson, a Louisiana sports icon who took his football and his basketball with a healthy side of horse racing, died March 15 at Oschner Medical Center in Jefferson, La., with his wife Gayle Marie Benson at his side. He was 90, and was hospitalized with the flu Feb. 16.
For all his success as owner of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, including the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV victory and a plaque in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, there was one sports trophy the Louisiana native joked he might not want to claim. As much as he loved Thoroughbreds, as a savvy businessman Benson recognized how horses pull you in.
Greg Bensel, general manager of the Benson family’s GMB Racing—who confirmed Benson’s death through his role as senior vice president of communications and broadcasting for the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans—spoke Wednesday at the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association convention in New Orleans. He recalled how Benson approached the morning of the 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), just two years after GMB Racing was formed.
“We’d rented a home in Louisville. At breakfast he said, ‘You know, Greg, I don’t know that I really want to win the Kentucky Derby today.’ I said, ‘Why is that, Mr. Benson? He said, ‘If we do win, we have to buy more horses, a farm, and really get into this,” Bensel said.
While they dabbled in racehorse ownership in the 1970s and 1980s, the Bensons returned to the sport after a multi-decade absence with renewed vigor in 2014, inspired by the rags-to-riches story of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome.
“He said, ‘Greg, what would it take for us to get in the business?’ I said, ‘Why don’t you give me a check for $2 million—that will be a start—and we’ll go out and hit the Keeneland September sale and we’ll buy some horses,'” Bensel said.
From their first modern crop of yearlings, they campaigned not one, but two starters in the 2016 Kentucky Derby—graded stakes winner Mo Tom (eighth for trainer Tom Amoss) and multiple graded stakes winner Tom’s Ready (12th for trainer Dallas Stewart).
“We finished eighth and 12th, which I thought was respectable, but he ended up buying more horses and one of the most beautiful farms I’ve ever been on,” Bensel said, mentioning Benson Farm at Greenwood Lodge in Paris, Ky., home to a broodmare and boarding operation.
“We had tremendous, uncanny success. He realized that was not the norm in this business,” Benzel said. “It started out as a hobby for us, and now it’s nearly a $21 million business.”
Benson was born Thomas Milton Benson Jr., on July 12, 1927, in New Orleans. The son of Thomas Milton Benson Sr. and Carmelite Marie Pintado Benson, he was raised in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans and graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin High School) in 1944.
Benson enrolled at Loyola University New Orleans to study business and accounting. He interrupted his education to enlist in the U.S. Navy, where he was assigned to the USS South Dakota. Upon the conclusion of World War II, he returned to New Orleans and continued his business administration studies.
In 1948, Benson went to work as a bookkeeper for the Cathey Chevrolet Company in New Orleans, and by 1956, at age 29, was on his way to managing a Chevrolet dealership as a junior partner. Six years later, he took full control of the company and established a multi-dealership organization, with outlets throughout the New Orleans area and South Texas. In 1972, Benson entered the banking business and eventually took his banking network public as Benson Financial World.
In 1985, Benson purchased the New Orleans Saints after learning that the NFL franchise was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in relocating the team. He purchased the Saints on May 31, 1985. In 2012 Benson purchased the New Orleans Hornets NBA franchise and renamed it the New Orleans Pelicans the following season.
Through his sports teams, business interests, and the Gayle and Tom Benson Foundation, Benson was dedicated to assisting myriad charitable, faith-based, and educational causes in the New Orleans and South Texas communities. Under Benson’s direction, his businesses and sports teams annually have put millions of dollars back into the community in financial support, in-kind donations, charitable appearances, and the donations of goods and services.
“It is a sad day for Louisiana. Thank you for everything you have done for our state, our country, and the sport of horse racing,” Amoss said of Benson, in a statement posted on his Twitter account. “It is hard to put into words what you have meant to all of us. I am honored to have been a small part of your story.”
Details regarding public visitation and funeral will be forthcoming.
Tom and Gayle Benson’s grade 3 winner Mo Tom has been retired from racing and will enter stud this year at Jay Adcock’s Red River Farm near Coushatta, La. A stud fee has not been determined.
The 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo—Caroni, by Rubiano, was among the first yearlings the Bensons purchased for their GMB Racing operation in 2014, and one of two that found their way to the 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) starting gate. The other runner was Tom’s Ready, who is also entering stud this year at Spendthrift Farm.
“Mo Tom has had a nice racing career. Even though he suffered through some tough trips and a few injuries, he was still able to make nearly $700,000 in earnings,” said Greg Bensel, who manages GMB Racing for the Bensons. “We tried to do a few things with him late in his racing career—like bringing him back quickly in the Clark Handicap (G1) and then trying him on the grass. We just did not want to give up on him; he is such a great-looking, sound horse and was working great in the mornings. None of those late experiments should take away from the career he had as a racehorse.”
A half brother to grade 1-placed stakes winner Beautician and listed stakes winner Bella Castani, Mo Tom won or placed 10 times out of 19 starts. He won twice and placed twice out of four starts at 2, which included winning the Street Sense Stakes and a third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). He earned his stripes in a graded stakes in his first start at 3 when he won the Lecomte Stakes (G3). The colt went on to place in the Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (G2), finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and win the Ohio Derby.
“With our farm in Paris, Ky., and our sports teams in New Orleans we keep a very busy schedule, but when time allows we love going to the track to see our horses run. Our racing operation has had great success on the track and we could not be more proud of our team and our trainers Tom Amoss, Dallas Stewart, and Al Stall,” said Gayle Benson, whose husband owns New Orleans’ NFL Saints and NBA Pelican sports teams. “We are building our farm operation (Benson Farm at Greenwood Lodge) in Kentucky where we have a very nice broodmare band. We are loving the horse business.”
The Bensons sent Mo Tom to Red River Farm because they valued Adcock’s reputation as a successful breeder, and because they want to support the Louisiana- bred program.
“We are very excited to get this horse,” Adcock said. “He was a serious horse at 3 and a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. He is a good-looking, accomplished horse with plenty of family. He’ll get every chance to be successful.”
“Having a nice son of Uncle Mo here should bring some attention to the attractive breeding programs we have here in Louisiana,” Bensel added.
The Bensons are retaining 20% ownership of Mo Tom.