ENTRIES TAKEN FOR OPENING DAY AT DELTA DOWNS RACETRACK CASINO & HOTEL

– NEW 84-DAY THOROUGHBRED SEASON KICKS OFF WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13 –

 

 

VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs racing office took entries on Tuesday for the opening day program of its upcoming 2021-22 Thoroughbred season. The 84-day stand will kick off on October 13 and run through March 5. First post time each Wednesday and Thursday will be at 12:55 pm Central Time and the first race every Friday and Saturday night will begin at 5:55 pm.

 

A total of 92 horses, including also eligible horses, were entered in the nine-race program to start the season. Delta Downs allows a maximum of 10 horses to compete in each race, however the track does include up to two ‘also eligible’ horses in each event if there are enough entries to warrant it. The track began using ‘also eligible’ horses a few years ago and it has led to larger average field sizes and more betting opportunities for the wagering public.

 

The first stakes activity of the season will take place on opening weekend with the $100,000 Magnolia Stakes for 3-year-olds and up fillies and mares on Friday night, October 15 and the $100,000 Gold Cup for 3-year-olds and up going as the Saturday night headliner. Both races are restricted to horses bred in Louisiana.

 

Several streaks will be on the line this season in the horsemen ranks at Delta Downs this year. Karl Broberg will attempt to win his 11th consecutive training title while Tim Thornton will try to extend his streak to four straight riding titles. The ownership group of End Zone Athletices, Inc., which includes Broberg and Matt Johanson, will be looking to extend their run of six titles in a row this meet. Overall, they have captured nine of the last 10 owner crowns at the southwest Louisiana oval.

 

For more information about the upcoming season, including the entire stakes schedule, visit the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also get information about the track through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.

 

Dollars and Sense: Texas-Sized Returns

 

At last thrown a relatively small bone by state lawmakers two years ago, Texas racing is taking full advantage.

In September 2019 Texas lawmakers approved legislation that would commit an additional $25 million to the state’s horse racing industry, split equally between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse purses. Texas has made the most of that small investment.

While Texas is surrounded by racing states that boost purses with money from added gaming—Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico—it has found a way forward behind its equine and racing tradition along with a pair of quality tracks in major metropolitan areas built in the 1990s in Lone Star Park, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; and Sam Houston Race Park, in Houston.

 

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Lone Star Park Concludes Season with Encouraging Handle

The Texas track experienced their highest live and export handles since 2006.

 

Lone Star Park concluded its 25th Thoroughbred Racing season July 11 handling a daily average of $1,693,866 in merged handle (Live on-track plus Export) and a daily average of $1,459,096 specifically in export, over the 48-day meet, which was their most since 2006 in both categories, not including last year’s unique pandemic season.

Average daily grandstand attendance on weekends and holidays for the meet was just over 4,000 per day, which, when compared to similar days, was only a 4% decline from 2019.

 

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OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES MONUMENTAL SHIFT IN ITS RACING CALENDAR

HOT SPRINGS, AR (June 7, 2021) – In yet another historic move for the 117-year-old track, Oaklawn will now add December race dates to its calendar and host a 66-day season from Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 – Sunday, May 8, 2022.

“For many years, horsemen have wanted to race here in December to fill a gap in their racing schedule,” said Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella, who has guided Oaklawn through the most dramatic changes in its history over the past four years. “We have completed our resort expansion, including the opening of our luxury hotel, spa and event center. Therefore, the timing is right for another expansion – to our live racing season.”

The 66-day season will be conducted largely on a Friday-Sunday basis, with some exceptions. There will be no racing Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 during the Christmas holiday and also no racing on Easter Sunday, April 17. Racing will continue to be offered on Presidents’ Day Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

Oaklawn plans to present the new proposed racing schedule to the Arkansas Racing Commission at their next meeting for approval.

“We are looking forward to the new format,” Cella said. “The additional days will provide a huge economic impact for horsemen, Arkansas Thoroughbred breeders and tourism in Central Arkansas.”

“Oaklawn’s decision to add racing days in December is wonderful news for Hot Springs and Garland County,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. The expansion of its casino and its addition of a world-class hotel this year already provided Hot Springs with an exciting new feature in its attractions menu. The additional live racing dates will further cement Oaklawn’s status as a premier economic engine for our city. We all look forward to this great new reason for everyone to visit Hot Springs.”

Purses for the season are projected to be $45 million – $50 million; the highest in America at that time of year, with all allowance races starting at $100,000.

“To be able to offer six-figure allowance races for five consecutive months is a very strong statement,” Oaklawn Racing Secretary Pat Pope said. “Between the purses and all of our new amenities, we should be part of every horseman’s annual calendar.”

The extended season and projected purse increases make it necessary for Oaklawn to restructure its stakes program, highlighted, by realigning Oaklawn’s strong 3-year-old prep races.

“We will offer 2­-year-old racing in December,” Cella said, “and we anticipate additional exciting changes in our racing program, including an aggressive 2021-2022 stakes schedule. We are working on that now and will announce those changes soon. Suffice it to say that our stakes program will continue to be designed to attract the nation’s best horses and best horsemen to Hot Springs.”

Trainers are also excited about the additional race dates.

“I love it,” Hall of Famer and 11-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen said. “The more Oaklawn, the better.”

“I’ve been an advocate for this for years,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “I think it’s a great addition and will keep our stables competitive. It’s also going to be a popular time. People are already in a festive mood around the holidays and the weather in December is usually pretty good. I think there is going to be a strong fan base. I’m 100% for it.”

“Oaklawn’s new dates allow us horsemen to participate in the most lucrative purse circuit in America without any interruptions,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “It’s now a smooth transition between Oaklawn, Churchill, and Saratoga.”

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn has been one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby. The casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Now open: a 198-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and new dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

LOYAL OWNERS KEEP TRAINER SHANE WILSON ON TOP AT LOUISIANA DOWNS

Solid Meet for the Haughton, Louisiana Horseman

 

Bossier City, LA –Some might think that praising the importance of owners in horseracing is a standard catchphrase, but not to trainer Shane Wilson. The current leading trainer at Louisiana Downs took a few minutes after a hot and sultry afternoon card to talk about how his owners sustained him through the challenges of 2020 and put him on top this season in the 2021 meet.

 

“Many horsemen struggled last year during the (COVID-19) pandemic,” explained Wilson. “Sitting out for six months was a hardship on trainers, but I’m blessed with great clients who supported us. Thankfully, we were able to keep our whole stable intact.”

 

Several clients, including Wayne T. Davis, Joe Hackler and David Fontenot have been with Wilsonfor over 14 years.

 

“I began training in 1997 and am fortunate to have some loyal owners who trust me and love to see their horses run,” he added. “From the stakes company as well as the claiming level, with the support of my owners, we continue to be competitive.”

 

This is the second year in a row that Wilson set up shop at the Bossier City racetrack. He does not hesitate when asked about his allegiance to Louisiana Downs.

 

“David Heitzmann (Louisiana Downs Director of Racing) communicated with the horsemen through the shutdown in 2020,” said Wilson. “He was the first to set a plan and give us a projected opening date.”

Louisiana Downs was able to open their 84-day meet on its regular (Kentucky Derby) opening date this year,  and Wilson has been pleased with way the season has progressed.

“The track surfaces are very good, and they have made some improvements to the paddock and other areas of the complex. Having Camel and Ostrich Racing (on May 30) and these Family Sundays has brought in new fans. Promotions are part of it, but to me, they are working hard to sell horseracing as their core product.”

Wilson worked summers at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, starting when he was 15 mucking stalls and hot walking for trainer Jack Van Berg. His brief foray to college did not last as he realized that he wanted to pursue a career in racing. He served as assistant to Sam David for seven years before going out on his own.

Aside from his racing ties, Wilson has another notable connection to Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. He met his wife, Becky, the daughter of horseman Jim O’Brien, here. The couple has two sons. Peyton is 20 years-old and his brother, Connor, 17, both help their dad out when they are not inschool.

His stable star is the multiple-stakes winning Mocito Rojo, a 7-year-old son of Mutadda. Wilson claimed the Kentucky-bred for owner Wayne T. Davis for $10,000 in a December 2016 maiden race at Delta Downs. He has amassed a record of 20 wins from 37 starts and earnings of $882,863. In 2019, Mocito Rojo won the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes (G3) at Lone Star Park and the Lukas Classic Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. He has won back-to-back races this meet at Louisiana Downs.

“He’s an amazing animal,” said Wilson. “I like to say he keeps winning despite his trainer.”

But the truth is Wilson has not shied away from changing things up for the intrepid runner.

“He got a little lackluster in his route races, so I shortened him to six furlongs this year (on May 18),” said Wilson.

He won that sprint in 1:09.78 and returned on June 6, taking on four rivals in a seven furlong allowance optional claimer, in which he won in 1:21.70. The speedy Kentucky-bred just missed breaking the track record of 1:21.60 set on July 4, 1984.

“I told (jockey) Jose Guerrero to really let him go,” recalled Wilson. “I felt adding a track-record setting performance might help his stud career. When Jose saw the final time, he looked at me and said, “I thought you were kidding!”

Track record aside, Wilson has true admiration for Mocito Rojo, who will hopefully surpass the  million dollar earnings mark in his career.

“I have watched every one of his 37 races,” admitted Wilson. “He was so little and skinny as a 3-year-old. This $10,000 claimer has taken us places we’ve never gone!”

Wilson will send both Mocito Rojo and 3-year-old Rightandjust to the Iowa Festival of Racing Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3 at Prairie Meadows. Rojo is nominated to the $100,000 Iowa Sprint and Rightandjust, a colt by Awesome Again, also owned by Davis, will point to the $250,000 Iowa Derby.

Wilson turned 50 this year and came to an interesting revelation on his training objectives.

“When I was younger, it was all about winning,” he stated. “Now I enjoy the mornings when I can watch them train and really learn more about each of their personalities. Figuring out the puzzlefor each horse at different levels keeps it fun !”

 

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

As of June 15, Shane Wilson leads his fellow conditioners with 16 wins from 52 starts. Joe Duhon, Joey Foster and Karl Broberg are tied for second place with 12 wins each. Last year’s winning trainer Steve Asmussen, follows closely with 11 victories since the meet began on Saturday, May 1.

 

2020 leading rider Joel Dominguez is on top of the standings with 31 wins. Emanuel Nieves, who is also having an excellent meet, is in second place with 27 trips to the winner’s circle, followed by Jose Guerrero (22) and Carlos Lozada (20).

 

Wayne T. Davis is the current leading owner with 12 victories from his 27 starters. Dream Walkin Farms, Inc. and End Zone Athletics, Inc. are tied for second with seven wins each and Steve Asmussen has won six races.

 

Family Fun Day

Louisiana Downs is proud to host Family Fun Day, a family friendly event each Sunday from Noon -5:00 pm. Admission is free and in addition to the live Thoroughbred races, fans can enjoy delicacies from the best Food Trucks in the Bossier City/Shreveport Metroplex with family games and entertainment offered throughout the afternoon. Family Fun Day will be offered each Sunday through September 19.

 

Louisiana Downs Race Dates and Post Times

Live racing will be conducted Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 2:45 pm (Central)until the conclusion of the 2021 live season on Tuesday, September 21. For more information on the 84-day racing season and special events, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.

Lone Star Park Raises Overnight Purses 20%

Lone Star Park announced June 10 a 20% across-the-board overnight purse increase, effective immediately. Purses that ranged from $12,000 to $39,000 will now be worth $14,400 to $46,800.

Lone Star’s next live racing day is June 11, its first date of racing since the announced increase. Its centerpiece day of racing this weekend comes June 13 when the track hosts five stakes for either Texas-breds or progeny of Texas stallions.

The meet continues through July 11.

OAKLAWN ANNOUNCES SHIFT IN ITS RACING CALENDAR

HOT SPRINGS, AR (June 7, 2021) – In yet another historic move for the 117-year-old track, Oaklawn will now add December race dates to its calendar and host a 66-day season from Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 – Sunday, May 8, 2022.

“For many years, horsemen have wanted to race here in December to fill a gap in their racing schedule,” said Oaklawn President Louis A. Cella, who has guided Oaklawn through the most dramatic changes in its history over the past four years. “We have completed our resort expansion, including the opening of our luxury hotel, spa and event center. Therefore, the timing is right for another expansion – to our live racing season.”

The 66-day season will be conducted largely on a Friday-Sunday basis, with some exceptions. There will be no racing Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 during the Christmas holiday and also no racing on Easter Sunday, April 17. Racing will continue to be offered on Presidents’ Day Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.

Oaklawn plans to present the new proposed racing schedule to the Arkansas Racing Commission at their next meeting for approval.

“We are looking forward to the new format,” Cella said. “The additional days will provide a huge economic impact for horsemen, Arkansas Thoroughbred breeders and tourism in Central Arkansas.”

“Oaklawn’s decision to add racing days in December is wonderful news for Hot Springs and Garland County,” said Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs. The expansion of its casino and its addition of a world-class hotel this year already provided Hot Springs with an exciting new feature in its attractions menu. The additional live racing dates will further cement Oaklawn’s status as a premier economic engine for our city. We all look forward to this great new reason for everyone to visit Hot Springs.”

Purses for the season are projected to be $45 million – $50 million; the highest in America at that time of year, with all allowance races starting at $100,000.

“To be able to offer six-figure allowance races for five consecutive months is a very strong statement,” Oaklawn Racing Secretary Pat Pope said. “Between the purses and all of our new amenities, we should be part of every horseman’s annual calendar.”

The extended season and projected purse increases make it necessary for Oaklawn to restructure its stakes program, highlighted, by realigning Oaklawn’s strong 3-year-old prep races.

“We will offer 2­-year-old racing in December,” Cella said, “and we anticipate additional exciting changes in our racing program, including an aggressive 2021-2022 stakes schedule. We are working on that now and will announce those changes soon. Suffice it to say that our stakes program will continue to be designed to attract the nation’s best horses and best horsemen to Hot Springs.”

Trainers are also excited about the additional race dates.

“I love it,” Hall of Famer and 11-time Oaklawn leading trainer Steve Asmussen said. “The more Oaklawn, the better.”

“I’ve been an advocate for this for years,” Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. “I think it’s a great addition and will keep our stables competitive. It’s also going to be a popular time. People are already in a festive mood around the holidays and the weather in December is usually pretty good. I think there is going to be a strong fan base. I’m 100% for it.”

“Oaklawn’s new dates allow us horsemen to participate in the most lucrative purse circuit in America without any interruptions,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “It’s now a smooth transition between Oaklawn, Churchill, and Saratoga.”

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn has been one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby. The casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Dec-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Now open: a 198-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa, and new dining options. Oaklawn.com, 1-800-OAKLAWN.

LOUISIANA DOWNS TO HOST CAMEL AND OSTRICH RACES ON SUNDAY, MAY 30

Live Thoroughbred  Racing Will Shift to Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday

 

Bossier City, LA – Louisiana Downs will present Camel and Ostrich Races on Sunday, May 30. The wildly popular special event,combined with live Thoroughbred racing and simulcast racing from tracks across the country, is always entertaining for the entire family.

 

The first live Thoroughbred race runs at 2:45 pm (Central) with the 100-yard camel and ostrich races taking place between the horse races.

 

Ostriches usually weigh an average of 200 pounds, but some males can tip the scales at 340 pounds. Known for their long neck and legs, ostriches also have extremely distinctive eyes, the largest of any land vertebrate, are very fast and our jockeys will have to hold on tight to the finish line.

 

A fully grown adult camel can exceed six feet in height at weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Unpredictable at best, camels can be good-tempered, patient and intelligent.  The moaning and bawling sound they make when they’re loaded up and have to rise to their feet is like the grunting and heavy breathing of a weight-lifter in action, and the crowds chime in to root for the favorite!

 

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we are thrilled to welcome back fans and host this family-friendly event,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Louisiana Downs. “We felt this would be an excellent way to kick off our new Sunday through Tuesday live racing schedule.”

 

Live Racing Schedule

Currently, live racing takes place Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Beginning, Sunday, May 30, live racing will be conducted Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday until the conclusion of the live season on Tuesday, September 21. For more information on the 84-day racing season and special events, visit https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-louisiana-downs/racing.

 

 

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.

Asmussen Breaks Single-Season Oaklawn Earnings Record

Trainer Steve Asmussen breaks his single-season Oaklawn record for purse earnings.

 

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen broke his single-season Oaklawn Park record for purse earnings when Sianara and Miner’s Queen ran 1-2, respectively, in the seventh race April 28, a maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares, 3 and up, valued at $93,000.

Asmussen’s runners collected $74,400 for the finish, pushing his total past the record $5,644,609 set in 2019 when he won 64 races, second-highest single-season total in Oaklawn history. Wednesday was the 48th day of the weather-shortened 51-day meeting that ends Saturday. Asmussen finished Wednesday with $5,686,643 in purse earnings at the meet.

 

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Oklahoma Attorney General Files Lawsuit Challenging HISA

Racing at Oklahoma’s Remington Park | Dustin Orona Photography

A federal lawsuit spearheaded by the state of Oklahoma to try and get the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) voided for alleged constitutional violations was filed Monday, meaning there are now two active legal challenges in the United States court system attempting to derail the regulatory powers of the HISA “Authority” prior to that regulatory body’s planned 2022 phase-in.

According to a press release issued by the state attorney general’s office in Oklahoma, the suit is challenging that “HISA gives a private corporation broad regulatory authority over Oklahoma’s horse racing industry, and does so with no funding mechanism, forcing the financial burden onto states. If a state refuses to pay, the state’s legislature and executive agencies would be punitively banned from collecting taxes or fees to enforce their own state regulations.”

The complaint demanding declaratory judgment and injunctive relief was filed Apr. 26 in United States District Court (Eastern Division of Kentucky) even though most of the plaintiffs are based in Oklahoma or West Virginia. The lawsuit’s timing coincides with the start of the GI Kentucky Derby week festivities in that state.

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