Lifetime Bans Upheld for Buzzer-Toting Patin Brothers

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.

 

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THORNTON, BROBERG AND END ZONE ATHLETICS CONTINUE DELTA DOWNS DOMINANCE DURING 2021-22 THOROUGHBRED SEASON

TOP HONORS WERE HANDED OUT DURING CLOSING DAY PROGRAM ON SATURDAY, MARCH 5 

 

 

VINTON, LA. –  The 2021-22 Thoroughbred season at Delta Downs wrapped up on Saturday with familiar names topping the horsemen standings. Tim Thornton won his fourth straight leading rider title while Karl Broberg notched his 11th consecutive crown in the training ranks. Broberg and Matt Johansen’s End Zone Athletics, Inc. earned their seventh leading owner title and their 10th in the last 11 years.

 

Thornton’s season included 129 wins and mount earnings of $2,782,260. The title was Thornton’s fourth consecutive since moving his tack to Vinton in late 2017. During his first full season in 2018-19, Thornton set a new track record for mount earnings in a single season with $2,894,080.

 

Delta Downs’ 2021-22 leading jockey Tim Thornton and family

Thornton, a husband and father of three, won six of the track’s 26 stakes races during the meet. His biggest score came with the Allen Landy-trained Net a Bear, who took the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Day Distaff on the track’s richest race day of the year, February 5.

 

Following Thornton in the jockey standings were Joel Dominguez (65 wins), Joe Stokes (61), Jose Guerrero (50), Alex Birzer (46), Thomas Pompell (45), Vicente Del-Cid (42), C. J. McMahon (33), Kevin Roman (29), and Gerard Melancon (28).

 

Broberg continued his dominance at Delta Downs in 2021-22 by sending out 105 winners and totaling $1,928,820 in barn earnings. Broberg nearly bettered his own records for Thoroughbred conditioners this meet as well. During the 2018-19 season his horses set the current standard with 107 wins and earnings of $2,017,120.

 

Rounding out the list of leading trainers for the Delta Downs meeting were Allen Landry (31), Eduardo Ramirez (31), Brett Brinkman (26), Dale White, Sr. (21), Sam Breaux (20), Scott Gelner (19), Benjamin Zeno (19), Greg Tracy (19), and Lee M. Thomas (19).

 

End Zone Athletics, Inc. saw 78 of their runners win and earn a total of $1,322,480. The accomplishment broke their own records set just last year when End Zone won 64 races and took home $1,186,210.

 

Rounding out the top owners for the season were Dale White, Sr. (18), Elite Thoroughbred Racing, LLC (Michele Rodriguez) (12), Israel Flores Horses LLC (10), Keith Charles (9), Adriel Gonzalez (8), Gerald L. Averett, Jr. (7), Norman Stables, LLC (7), Rylee Grudzien (7), and Sandy Badeaux (6).

 

Delta Downs now looks forward to its upcoming American Quarter Horse season which gets underway on April 29 and runs through July 16. The 46-day meeting will feature live racing each Wednesday through Saturday night with first post time set for 6:15 pm Central Time.

 

For more information about the Delta Downs Quarter Horse season, including specific race days, go to the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also follow the track on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

 

Fix to Delta’s Light Woes Might Not Arrive by End of Meet

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.

 

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Fair Grounds Not Definite on Dates Reduction

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.”

 

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Dispute Over Safety of New Lights Keeps Delta Dark at Night

By T. D. Thornton

Strenuous safety-related objections from Delta Downs jockeys about the allegedly inconsistent lighting from a new system that has been installed and tweaked over the course of several months kept the Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) from approving a return to night racing when regulators met for an emergency session to address that one item Monday morning.

Mindy Coleman, an attorney representing The Jockeys’ Guild, told commissioners on the Dec. 13 Zoom call that while the Delta-based riders recognize and appreciate the efforts track management has made to try to improve the situation, “there are still some grave concerns” with the recently installed light-emitting diode (LED) system, which was necessitated by the old lights getting wrecked by a hurricane in August 2020.

 

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Delta Downs Could Be Back Under Lights By Nov. 12

By T. D. Thornton

A two-phase fix to the allegedly unsafe new lighting system at Delta Downs is underway that could allow the Louisiana track to switch back from afternoon programs to traditional weekend night cards by Nov. 12.

The recently installed light-emitting diode (LED) system, which was necessitated by the old lights getting wrecked by a hurricane in August 2020, was only operational for three races on the first night program of the season Oct. 15 before a horse fell at the top of the stretch.

Fueled by complaints from some jockeys and trainers that areas on the turns were dangerously dark and shadowy, the remainder of that card and the Oct. 16 program were cancelled. Delta resumed racing during afternoons without lights Oct. 20-23.

 

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THORNTON, BROBERG AND END ZONE ATHLETICS CONTINUE LEADING HORSEMEN STREAKS DURING 2020-21 DELTA DOWNS THOROUGHBRED SEASON

TOP HONORS WERE HANDED OUT DURING CLOSING PROGRAM ON FRIDAY, APRIL 16 

 

 

VINTON, LA. –  The 2020-21 Thoroughbred season at Delta Downs wrapped up on Friday with familiar names topping the standings. Tim Thornton won his third straight leading rider title while Karl Broberg notched his 10th consecutive crown in the training ranks. Broberg and Matt Johansen’s End Zone Athletics, Inc. earned their sixth straight leading owner title and their ninth in the last 10 years.

 

Thornton’s season included 122 wins and $2,337,260 in mount earnings. The Louisiana native rode five winners alone on closing day. During the 2018-19 season, Thornton’s first full meet at Delta Downs, he set the current record of $2,894,080 in earnings.

 

Thornton, a husband and father of three, won two stakes races during the meet, both with Broberg-trained and End Zone Athletics Inc.-owned horses. The trio teamed up to win the $100,000 Delta Mile Stakes with Hunka Burning Love on November 10 and the $40,000 Ragin Cajun Starter Stakes on February 10, Louisiana Premier Day.

 

Following Thornton in the jockey standings were Diego Saenz (73 wins), Joel Dominguez (64), Jose Guerrero (54), Thomas Pompell (45), Gerard Melancon (42), Joe Stokes (30), Alez Birzer (27), Kevin Smith (25), and Jansen Melancon (24).

 

Broberg continued his dominance at Delta Downs in 2020-21 by sending out 91 winners and totaling $1,651,170 in earnings. The accomplishment capped off a season that saw him win his 10th straight training title at the Vinton, Louisiana racetrack. During the Delta Downs season Broberg also finished second nationally in terms of wins with 329 victories to Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen’s 421. It was the first time since 2014 that Broberg did not lead the nation in that category.

 

 

Rounding out the list of leading trainers for the Delta Downs meeting were Scott Gelner (30), Juan Larrosa (29), Isai Gonzalez (28), Eduardo Ramirez (25), Brett Brinkman (23), Allen Landry (21), Ronnie Averett (17-tie), Thomas Amoss (17-tie), and Ronnie Averett (15).

 

End Zone Athletics, Inc. saw a record 64 of their runners win and earn a total of $868,765, which also set a new mark for owners in that category. The old record for wins, 50, and earnings, $873,545, was also set by End Zone Athletics during the 2018-19 season.

 

Rounding out the top owners for the season were Red Rose Racing (Jimmy Johnson) (15), Joe Alfredo Castillo (14), Gerald L. Averett, Jr. (12), Adriel Gonzalez (11), Dale White, Sr. (10), Norman Stables, LLC (Robert A. Norman) (9), Rylee Grudzien (7-tie), Steven Asmussen (7-tie), Juan Larrosa (7-tie), and Maggi Moss (7-tie).

 

Delta Downs now looks forward to its upcoming American Quarter Horse season which gets underway on May 10 and runs through July 31. The 46-day meeting will generally feature live racing each Monday through Thursday. However, there will be two special Friday cards and four special Saturday programs to accommodate major stakes races and trials for those events. The first post time each day will be at 3 pm Central Time.

 

For more information about the Delta Downs Quarter Horse season, including specific race days, go to the track’s website at www.deltadownsracing.com. Fans can also follow the track on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.

Stud Farms Sue Over 140-Mare Cap, Allege ‘Blatant Abuse of Power’ by The Jockey Club

By T. D. Thornton

Spendthrift Farm, Ashford Stud and Three Chimneys Farm are suing The Jockey Club in federal court over the “stallion cap” rule that went into effect in 2020, alleging that the 140-mare breeding limit now being phased in amounts to a “blatant abuse of power” that acts as an “anti-competitive restraint” and threatens to disrupt the free-market nature of the bloodstock business.

The plaintiffs contend that the stallion cap “serves no legitimate purpose and has no scientific basis” while alleging that the nine stewards of The Jockey Club who voted to adopt the rule change purportedly did so based more on a desire to satisfy their own “conflicting economic interests” rather than their organization’s stated purpose of “facilitating the soundness of the Thoroughbred breed.”

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Fair Grounds Must Pay Record Fine in Clean Water Act Settlement

By T. D. Thornton

In an attempt to resolve years of federal Clean Water Act (CWA) violations at its Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans, Churchill Downs Louisiana Horseracing Company, LLC, has agreed to pay a $2.7 million penalty–the largest civil fine ever paid by a concentrated animal feeding operation in a CWA matter.

Under the terms of the settlement announced Sept. 29 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the limited liability company that runs Fair Grounds must also implement $5.6 million in operational changes and construction projects to eliminate the unauthorized discharges of manure, urine, and wastewater from the track’s stable area.

 

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Louisiana Judge to Rule Friday on Fair Grounds Emergency Stabling

By T. D. Thornton

A temporary restraining order issued Sep. 4 has blocked a Louisiana State Racing Commission (LSRC) mandate from taking effect that seeks to force the Fair Grounds to open its backstretch stabling to as many as 500 Thoroughbreds displaced by Hurricane Laura in the last week of August. An Orleans Parish Civil District Court judge is now expected to rule on the injunction after a Sep. 11 hearing.

The news site Crescent City Sports first reported on the 57-page request for injunction filed by attorneys for the Fair Grounds, which is owned by the gaming corporation Churchill Downs, Inc. The filing stated that the LSRC “does not have the legal authority to issue the mandatory injunction” and that “issuing such an order constitutes an unconstitutional taking and violates Fair Grounds’ constitutional rights to due process.”

After the Aug. 27 hurricane wrecked infrastructure at Delta Downs, the racino announced that its property would close to assess and repair damage. The Oct. 6-Feb. 27 meet could be delayed or abbreviated.

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