Louisiana Cup Day Provided Exciting Finishes and Generous Payouts

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

Norah G takes the Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Ann Switalski Photography

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

Star Moment victorious in Louisiana Cup Distaff. Ann Switalski Photography


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

Strong Promise adds Louisiana Cup Juvenile for third win in as many starts. Ann Switalski Photography

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

Tap Galore takes Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies. Ann Switalski Photography

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

Woods N Water wins Louisiana Cup Turf Classic. Ann Switalski Photography

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

X Clown upsets Louisiana Cup Sprint. Ann Switalski Photography

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




OPELOUSAS, LA –Evangeline Downs hosted the annual celebration of the Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds with an exciting Louisiana Legends Night card on Saturday.  The card featured six stake races each worth $100,000 for state-bred runners and were contested over courses rated fast and firm.

Evangeline Downs honored some past Louisiana Legends throughout the evening.  Race fans were asked to nominate their own legends on Facebook.  Merrill Scherer, Ray Sibille, Ron Ardoin, Doris Hebert, Buster Leger and Harold Delahoussaye were the top nominees by the fans and were recognized during the card.



Free Like A Girl wins the Louisiana Legends Mademoiselle Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Free Like a Girl again showed her fondness for the local racing strip in her Mademoiselle win. With Jockey Tim Thornton aboard, Free Like a Girl was in midpack running down the backstretch as Wupkar and Beleout sped through early fractions of 22.50 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and a half-mile split in 46.22.  Moved outside to produce a four-wide bid, Free Like a Girl was able to collar the leaders nearing the furlong pole and pulled forward in the final 100 yards.  The winning margin was 1-3/4 lengths at the wire, with Beleout second and First I’ve Seen another 1-1/4 lengths back in third.  The Chasey Deville Pomier trainee moves to a perfect five for five over the local strip.  The final time for the 5-1/2 furlongs was 1:05.17.

Bred by Kim Renee Stover and Lisa Osborne, the 4-year-old bay filly was sired by El Deal and is out of the Flashy Bull mare Flashy Prize.  Owned by the partnership of Gerald Bruno, Jr., Carl Deville, Chasey Deville Pomier and Jerry Caroom, she wins for the thirteenth time in 27 starts and earns $60,000.  Her career bankroll now stands at $930,378.

Free Like a Girl returned $3.80 to win as the wagering favorite, $3 to place and $2.10 to show.  Beleout paid $7.60 to place, $6 to show and First I’ve Seen paid $4.40 to show.



Cheapskate Diva wins the Louisiana Legends Turf Distaff Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Keith Plaisance’s Cheapskate Diva made a sharp bid for the lead turning for home and held off favored A G’s Charlotte to capture the Turf Distaff.  Away in good order under jockey Carlos Marquez, Cheapskate Diva tracked the early lead of Eve’s Delight through fractions of 24.08 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.43 seconds for the half-mile.  Cheapskate Diva made a move to take the lead at the top of the stretch and remained clear in the run to the wire to win by 2-1/2 lengths.  A G’s Charlotte made a mild bid without threatening the winner and won a photo for second by a nose over a late closing Wholelottamo.  The winner stopped the clock in a time of 1:35.80 for the mile distance.

The Joseph Felks trained runner is a 5-year-old bay mare sired by Animal Kingdom and is out of the Candy Ride (ARG) mare Beautiful Liar.  Bred by the owner, Cheapskate Diva wins for the fifth time from 15 career starts.  Earning $60,000 in the victory, her career bankroll increases to $176,640.

Cheapskate Diva returned $11.40 to win, $4.80 to place and $2.80 to show.  A G’s Charlotte returned $2.80 to place, $2.20 to show and Wholelottamo paid $2.40 to show.



Allnight Moonlight wins the Louisiana Legends Cheval Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Roger Smith’s Allnight Moonlight dug in late to win a spirited stretch battle over Mangum in the Cheval.  With Tim Thornton in the irons, Allnight Moonlight broke smoothly but was caught with a wide trip through the clubhouse turn as Calibrachoa Kid set the pace with Macho Beanie and Clear as a Bele the closest pursuers.  Mangum made a bid to take the lead at the top of the stretch, as Allnight Moonlight ranged up while still covering extra ground.  The pair squared off and battled to the wire with Allnight Moonlight winning by a neck.  It was a big gap of ten lengths back to The Boss Soss in third.  The running time for the mile was 1:39.59.

Bred by Coteau Grove Farms LLC and trained by David Terre, the winner is a 3-year-old colt sired by Ransom the Moon and out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Gingertini.  A winner for the fourth time from eight career starts, the $60,000 winner’s share pushes his career bankroll to $229,000.

Allnight Moonlight rewarded his backers with a $6 win price, $4.80 to place and $3.60 to show.  Mangum paid $6.80 to place, $5.20 to show and The Boss Soss returned $6 to show.



Louisiana Liberty wins the Louisiana Legends Soiree Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Jockey Gerard Melancon and Louisiana Liberty sustained a wide rally in a last to first move to capture the Soiree.  The early fractions were steady as Highly Wicked set the pace with New Destiny and Sixth Anniversary close behind through an opening quarter mile in 24.08 seconds and a half-mile in 48.38 seconds.   Louisiana Liberty was wide down the backside at the tail of the field and began to make some headway with a bid entering the far turn, as favored Star Moment also moved into contention.  The duo moved in tandem to battle for the lead inside the final furlong, with Louisiana Liberty edging clear in the final yards to win by a half-length.  It was another 1-3/4 lengths back to Highly Wicked holding on for the show spot.  The final time for the mile was 1:40.79.

Bred by Coteau Grove Farms LLC and owned by Whispering Oaks Farm LLC (Carrol Castille), Louisiana Liberty is a 3-year-old filly sired by Cloud Computing.  She is out of the Pleasant Tap mare Pleasantly Blessed.  Winning for only the second time in 11 career starts, her career bankroll increases to $135,230.

Louisiana Liberty, trained by Steven Flint, paid $23.20 to win, $6.80 to place and $4 to show.  Star Moment returned $2.60 to place, $2.20 to show and Highly Wicked paid $4.60 to show.



Woods N Water wins the Louisiana Legends Turf Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Jockey Tommy Pompell sent Woods N Water through a narrow opening on the far turn to battle for the lead and edged clear to win the Turf.  Always in close attendance to the early pace being set by Carlea’s Dream, Woods N Water was caught in some traffic as longshot Double on the Red made a bid nearest the rail entering the far turn.  As the field approached the top of the stretch, Woods N Water kicked into another gear and burst through the pack to take the lead.  The Lee Thomas trainee pulled away to win by 1-1/2 lengths in the end, with late closing Budro Talking running second and Deer Crossing another length back in third.  The running time for the mile and a sixteenth on the turf was hand timed in 1:42.28.

Owned by Richard Painter and Dewberry Farm (John Kent III), the winner was sired by Palace and is out of the First Samurai mare Said and Done.  Bred by Orange Grove Thoroughbreds, Inc. and Richard Painter, Woods N Water is a 4-year-old bay gelding.  A winner for the sixth time in 17 starts, his career bankroll increases to $186,255.

Woods N Water returned $5.80 to win, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show.  Budro Talking paid $4.40 to place, $3.40 to show and Deer Crossing paid $3.80 to show.



Black Sword wins the Louisiana Legends Sprint Stakes. Kimmy Burrow, Coady Photography.

Black Sword captured his second stakes win of the season in the Sprint.  Jockey Vicente Del-Cid was able to work out a trip similar to his triumph in the King Creole last month with a sharp start.  Sitting just off the early fractions of 22.27 and 46.15 being set by Grunt, Black Sword ranged up to take the lead at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a convincing two-length margin over Big Chopper.  Grunt held on well to finish third just a nose better than Mike J.  The final time for the 5-1/2 furlongs was 1:04.84.

Trained by Ronnie Averett and owned by Treanor MD LLC (Leonard Treanor, MD), Black Sword is a 6-year-old dark bay or brown gelding.  Bred by Margie Averett, he was sired by Awesome Sword and is out of the Devil His Due mare Black Mariah.  A winner for the eighth time from 25 starts, his career bankroll increases to $274,705.

Black Sword returned $6.40 to win, $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show.  Big Chopper paid $4.80 to place, $3.40 to show and Grunt paid $6.80 to show.

For more information on racing at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website atwww.evdracing.com and on Twitter @evdracing.  Live racing resumes Thursday with a 5:30pm Central first post.  The racing calendar for the remainder of the 2023 season is Thursday through Saturday schedule until the end of the meet on August 12.