Bossier City, LA – It was another excellent edition of Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 5 at Louisiana Downs. The quality of the Louisiana Thoroughbred breeding industry shone brightly in each of the six stakes on the program.
Despite temperatures in the low 100’s tremendous performances were noted throughout the afternoon with each of the defending champions denied by top efforts in the full and competitive fields. Here is a recap of the six Louisiana Cup stakes.
Norah G Returns to Glory in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint
The $75,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint kicked off the stakes portion of Louisiana Cup Day, with eleven Louisiana-bred fillies and mares taking on defending champion and LTBA champion filly Free Like a Girl.
The competition was fierce right out of the gate and it was Thomas Galvin’s homebred Norah G who won the race in gate-to-wire fashion. Breaking from the rail under jockey Emanuel Nieves, she carried her speed throughout the six furlong main track sprint, crossing the wire in 1:11.74.
Trained by Patricia West, the 3-year-old daughter of Fast Anna won the $112,000 Louisiana Futurity on December 31 for trainer Patricia West. This was her first start since January and Galvin was on hand to accept the trophy on the filly named for his youngest granddaughter Norah, who will turn nine at the end of this month.
“It was incredible,” said Galvin. “I was surprised she broke so well and that she would not be denied! Nieves gave her a great ride and Patty has been a godsend to us. She takes wonderful care of our horses and as an owner, I appreciate her communication skills.”
Also incredible, the 10-cent superfecta payout of $2,465 with Norah G ($44.80), followed by Final Quest at 31-1; Miss Priority, 36-1 and Zydeco Music, sent off at 13-1.
Free Like a Girl broke from the far outside post and never advanced from mid-pack, finishing eighth. She has won 13 of her 28 starts for owners Gerald Bruno, Jr; Carl J, Deville; Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom. She has banked $951,578 since making her debut in 2021.
Galvin may consider a start at Kentucky Downs for Norah G, whose record stands at three wins from five starts and earnings of $163,955.
Star Moment Proves Her Affinity for the Turf 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.
Proving her versatility for the main track as well as the turf. Star Moment garnered the third stakes of her career for owner Intrepid Thoroughbreds, LLC (Tyron Picard and Stephen C. Henry). Previously trained by Ron Faucheux, the daughter of Star Guitar is now in the barn of Bret Calhoun. He was at Ellis Park this afternoon but was reached for comment following the race.
“She was impressive today,” said Calhoun. “I watched the race and she looked sharp and didn’t seem to have an issue with the heat. We didn’t think she could get beat in her last, but the track was deep, so maybe that was the case. We’ve started her four times and she’s won two stakes!”
A jockey claim of foul was disallowed, and rider Tim Thornton was pleased with her effort. As she stalked the pace and drew clear by 1 ¾ lengths in a final time of 1.41.22.
“She’s a class filly,” he stated. “I just got her in position and she took it from there.”
Front runner Birde Call held for second, followed by Wholelottamo and Eve’s Delight. Defending champion Cheapskate Diva mounted a bid at the top of the stretch, but finished sixth.
Star Moment ($11.20), bred by Brittlyn, Inc., has won five of her eight lifetime starts. Calhoun is considering options but is leaning toward giving her some time off and pointing to the Fair Grounds meet
Strong Promise Keeps His Win Streak Intact Capturing 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 ten at the distance of five and one-half furlongs on the main track.
Norman Racing Stables, LLC’s Strong Promise made his Louisiana Downs debut and lived up to his favored status, drawing off to a 2 1/2 length victory for trainer Jayde J. Gelner, in a speedy 1:05.52. 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.
“He’s a really nice horse and I am grateful to Mr. Norman and Jayde for the opportunity to ride him,” said winning pilot Luis Fuentes.
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.
“I thank Robbie (Norman) and my great team,” said the young trainer. “My dad picked Strong Promise in the (2021) Texas Thoroughbred 2-Year-Old Sale,” said Gelner. “He went for $125,000, but we knew from his first breeze at Copper Crown that he had talent.”
The third-generation horseman is off to a sensational start, and Robbie Norman was proud of both Jayde and his undefeated juvenile.
“That was a big purchase, but he has paid that off already,” stated Norman. “We feel he has a very bright future.
Good and Stout rallied for second under jockey C J McMahon, followed by El Dinero, also bred by J. Adcock and Hume Wornall and Deal With it Daddy, who ran second in the D.S. Shine Futurity at Evangeline Downs.
Tap Galore Outduels her Stablemate in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies
A field of 10 accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies, competed in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Several first-time winners will face off in the five and one-half main track sprint.
The victory went to Thompson Racing, LLC (Stephen F. Thompson)’s Tap Galore who broke maiden for trainer Jayde Gelner. The filly by Tapiture was bred by J. Adcock and Hume Wornell and exited a fifth place finish in the D.S. “Shine” Futurity at Evangeline Downs. She crossed the wire in 1:06.18 over her stablemate Thompson Racing LLC,’s Diamond Deal.
Joel Dominguez had the call and studied her previous two races.
“I watched the replays and wanted to be patient,” he explained. “I felt she would run better laying off the speed and she responded.”
Viv’s Wild Aces, who won here on June 5 for trainer Joe Duhon, ran third followed by Running Argument who had won the first two races of her career.
The victory by Tap Galore was the eighth stakes win this year for Gelner and he took a minute to reflect on the success in just his second year of training.
“I believe in setting goals, so when we were entered in four stakes today, I felt we would have solid chances,” said Gelner. “I am grateful to my owner and proud of the hard work of our team. I will continue to have high expectations and strive to achieve success for our barn.”
Woods N Water Defeated a Deep Field 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 was a new turf star entered and Woods N Water claimed the victory under a very confident ride by Tommy Pompell. 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.
Sent off as the favorite, the bay gelding sat off the pace in the early stages of the race, rating behind horses, until Pompell guided through an opening in the stretch and surged to the wire in 1:42.12.
Thomas was in California attending his wife’s grandmother’s 99th birthday party, but did not miss a moment of the race.
“That was a beautiful ride by Tommy,” said Thomas. “I was a little nervous about his first start on the Louisiana Downs turf course and of course, about the heat. But he had enough to finish and just keeps getting better on the grass.”
Oh My Aching Arch rallied for second, followed by Silver Galaxy and Real City Speed. Budro Talking, winner of the 2020 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic ran fifth with defending champion Carlea’s Dream, finishing seventh.
This was the fifth win in nine starts this year for Woods N Water ($5.60), who has banked $244,455 in 19 lifetime starts. He was bred by Orange Grove Thoroughbreds Inc. and Richard Painter.
X Clown Springs the Upset in the $75,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint
The $75,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Sprint on the program with a solid field of nine sprinters traveling six furlongs on the fast main track.
It marked the biggest upset of the card with X Clown lighting up the tote board at 25-1 as he broke like a rocket and never relinquished his lead under jockey Devin Magnon. The 6-year-old gelding by Jimmy Creed was clocked in 1:11.06.
Owned by BW and HTS Stables, LLC (Jay Sheffield and Ray Mabile) and Jason G. Grudzien and trained by Rylee Magnon, was claimed for $20,000 in March Rylee and Devin are married and a true “hands-on” racing couple.
“As a trainer, I feel that I do better with older horses,” said Rylee. “We claimed him and gave him a fresh start. Our game plan was to take back and track the speed, but when he broke so well, he ended up being the speed!”
X Clown had been defeated twice by the defending champion Black Sword, but Devin gave credit to his wife for establishing a training routine that X Clown seemed to appreciate.
“He responded very well and got better and better in his works,” explained Devin. “We were concerned that he would be nervous shipping, so Rylee rode in the trailer with him! He stayed calm and broke super. As well as he was traveling, I felt we could outlast the speed and when he switched leads, he just went to running!”
Bred by Michael Villar and Cynthia Villar, X Clown ($52.40) was followed by Pickens, under rider Carlos Lozada and Mike J with Aubrie Green in the saddle finishing in a dead heat with post time favorite Big Chopper.
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.
Photos courtesy of Ann Switalski Photography