Thoroughbred Charities of America Returns as Title Sponsor of Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium

Thoroughbred Charities of America Returns as Title Sponsor

of Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium


The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) and Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) jointly announce today that TCA has returned as the title sponsor of the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the flagship program of the Retired Racehorse Project. TCA’s commitment to improving the lives and welfare of Thoroughbred racehorses both on and off the track has guided its support of the RRP since 2012.

Designed to serve the RRP’s charitable mission to increase demand for Thoroughbreds beyond racing, the Thoroughbred Makeover is a retraining competition and showcase, featuring trainers from across North America who have worked throughout the year to prepare recently retired Thoroughbred ex-racehorses to compete for more than $100,000 in ten equestrian sports. This year, competition scope has expanded to include a pilot program for recently-retired broodmares exiting the breeding industry.


“The Thoroughbred Makeover has really moved the needle in aftercare by increasing the demand for and value of Thoroughbreds in their post-racing careers,” said Erin Halliwell, executive director of TCA. “TCA is pleased to once again support this important event that has impacted the lives of thousands of Thoroughbreds.”


TCA’s support of the Thoroughbred Makeover is part of its annual grant-making activity. This year, TCA granted over $821,000 to 75 approved organizations. For over three decades, TCA has worked to support not only Thoroughbred aftercare, but also programs that provide health and human services for backstretch and farm workers.


“TCA recognized early on the potential that the RRP had to make a significant change in how we approach aftercare in this country, and we would not be here today, continuing that impact, without the early and continued supported that TCA provided,” said RRP executive director Kirsten Green. “We applaud TCA for recognizing the critical need to fund a variety of aftercare programs that are taking diverse approaches towards our shared goal of ensuring a smooth transition to life beyond racing for Thoroughbreds.”


The Thoroughbred Makeover culminates in a four-day competition as well as a symposium with educational, networking and social opportunities – but the true Makeover process begins in December of the previous year, when the retraining process officially begins on December 1. A total of 551 horses were registered for this year’s competition, and 404 made a final entry. This retention rate is the highest to date, indicating that the Retired Racehorse Project’s educational and support services are working for participating trainers.


With TCA’s support, the Thoroughbred Makeover has impacted over 4,700 horses, representing an estimated $41.1 million in private funds spent to care for the participating horses that are transitioning into riding careers. Since 2015, the RRP has also documented an 94% increase in value of horses upon retirement from racing that participate in the Makeover.


A full schedule of Thoroughbred Makeover events can be found at

About the Retired Racehorse Project: The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to producing the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the world’s largest and most lucrative retraining competition for recently-retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, produces the Master Class retraining clinic series, and presents programming at major horse expos and events around the country. The RRP maintains an educational library of content to empower more equestrians to ride a Thoroughbred.


About Thoroughbred Charities of America: TCA funds and facilitates the support of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including rehabilitation, retraining, rehoming and retirement organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; equine-assisted therapy programs; and research organizations. Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $26 million to more than 200 charities. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

National HBPA distributes Information About the Merck Banamine Recall

 Information About the Merck Banamine Recall
The following information was sent out by the American Horse Council and is being distributed by the National HBPA for informational purposes:There has been an important voluntary recall from Merck Animal Health.

On September 1, 2023, Merck Animal Health voluntarily recalled three batches of BANAMINE®/BANAMINE®-S (flunixin meglumine injection) 50 mg/mL in the United States, used for injection in cattle, swine and horses to the consumer level due to the presence of particulate matter.

Particulates were observed during routine quality testing and reviews for the following batches:

  • BANAMINE 100mL, UIN 065474, NDC 00061-0851-03, Batch 2834102, exp Oct. 2024
    • Distribution dates: March 6, 2023, to May 3, 2023
  • BANAMINE 250mL, UIN 065476, NDC 00061-0851-04, Batch 2864102, exp Nov. 2024
    • Distribution dates: June 21, 2023, to July 11, 2023
  • BANAMINE-S 100mL, UIN 065477, NDC 0061-1838-30, Batch 2834103, exp Oct. 2024
    • Distribution dates: March 20, 2023, to May 16, 2023

The batch number, also known as the lot number (LOT), and expiry date (EXP) is located at the bottom right part of the bottle label. See the attached images that includes photos of each recalled bottle.

Using an injectable product that contains particulate matter may result in local irritation, swelling or infection in response to the foreign material. After intravenous administration in large animals, such as cattle or horses, particulate matter could travel to the lungs which could result in local tissue damage. To date, no adverse event reports have been received for the recalled batches.

Flunixin meglumine is a potent, non-narcotic, nonsteroidal, analgesic agent with anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity. It is approved in the US only for intravenous use in beef and dairy cattle, for intravenous and intramuscular use in horses and for intramuscular use in swine.

Customers who have received BANAMINE® and BANAMINE®-S from the batches being recalled should stop using the products and refer to their recall letter for product return instructions. Horse owners who have BANAMINE® in their barn should contact Merck or their veterinarian for help identifying the lot number and expiry date. Merck Animal Health is working with distributor partners to ensure that unused product is no longer in distribution or with customers. Merck is arranging for the return of all recalled product.

Consumers with questions regarding this recall should contact Merck Animal Health directly at 1-800-521-5767 (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. CDT).

Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA at 1-888-FDA-VETS or online at

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LTBA Preparing to Deliver Breeders Awards Via Direct Deposit

LTBA Preparing to Deliver Breeders Awards
Via Direct Deposit



The LTBA is in the process of updating their breeders awards payment system.
Starting January 1, 2024, breeders awards will be paid via direct deposit. This will benefit breeders, speeding up the process and eliminating problems of checks getting delayed or lost in the mail.


Breeders will be notified via email when funds are deposited in their bank accounts. This will replace the old system of post card notification.

The LTBA is mailing this form, or you can download the attached form.


In addition to completing and returning the direct deposit  forms to the LTBA, it is very important that all breeders inform the LTBA of the email address they use  on a regular basis.



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Live Racing Season Concluded on Tuesday, September 12


Bossier City, LA – The 50th anniversary of live racing at Louisiana Downs concluded on Tuesday, September 12 with plenty of racing highlights and fan-friendly events throughout the 61-day meet.

On September 2, Louisiana Downs proudly hosted Super Derby 41, presented by Lip Chip LLC and a bright future seems certain for winner Big Data owned by Petal Power Racing Stable and trained by Michael Lerman. It was another successful edition of Louisiana Cup Day on August 12 with young trainer Jayde Gelner winning two of the six Louisiana-bred stakes.

“My thanks go out to our amazing team and the owners, trainers, jockeys and backstretch workers  who deserve so much credit,” said Kevin Preston, Louisiana Downs owner and president. “It was my goal two years ago to make Louisiana Downs a quality racetrack and premier entertainment destination. We continue to set the bar higher and thank our fans for their support!”

The meet leaders, jockey Jose Guerrero, trainer Shane Wilson and owner Wayne T. Davis were honored for their accomplishments on the final afternoon of the racing season which began on Saturday, May 6.


Jose Guerrero Wins His First Leading Rider Title

A very competitive jockey colony dueled from opening day, but there was no denying Jose Guerrero who topped his fellow riders to earn his first leading rider title with 70 wins. He finished second in the standings last year, but with the support of leading conditioner Shane Wilson and many other trainers, he was able to draw clear in the final two weeks of the meet.


Wilson saw talent in the 28-year-old native of Mexico, since he began riding in Louisiana. He admired his ability to boot home longshots and asked Guerrero if he knew the difference between being a jockey and a skilled race rider. They sat down and watched countless videos and Guerrero impressed Wilson with his desire to learn and improve his craft.

“Now, I watch the replays on my own, and Shane and I have a brief talk in the paddock before the races,” explained Guerrero. “He has given me a lot of confidence. I thank him and all my trainers, including Patti Turner as well as Jonas Gibson, who I began riding for this year.”

Guerrero is represented by agent Steve Melancon, completed the season with a record of 70 wins from 336 starts and purses totaling $1,189,553. He will ride next at Delta Downs and Fair Grounds as the year progresses.

Joel Dominguez, who was the top-ranked rider in 2020, battled gamely with Guerrero to lock up second place this year with 53 trips to the winner’s circle. Emanuel Nieves won 49 races to finish third and Angel Suarez, finished fourth with 39 victories. Suarez, who was new to the jockey colony this season, is married to fellow rider Aubrie Green. Both were very popular with trainers and horseplayers.



Threepeat for Leading Trainer Shane Wilson

It was another excellent showing for Shane Wilson who won his third leading trainer title at Louisiana Downs.

The Haughton, Louisiana resident started 210 Thoroughbreds, winning 45 races. He added 33 runner-up finishes and 25 thirds with earnings of $861,315 for the meet. In similar style to the past two seasons, he arrived with a strong group of claimers, who were ready to step up to the allowance level. Despite running less dates than 2022, Wilson was pleased with the barn’s results.

“It was a very good meet in spite of the heat,” said Wilson. “We appreciate the efforts of Louisiana Downs. Moving the post time later was good so we were not competing with the East coast tracks. Our horses are sound; (track superintendent) Billy McKeever does a great job.”

Of course, Wilson is grateful to his owners, including Wayne T. Davis, Jim and Kathy Reeves, Kevin Fontenot, Phyllis Presswood and Joe Hackler, who was his first client in 1998.

“To win races for Joe Hackler means a lot as he was the first owner to give me an opportunity,” added Wilson. “Evelyn Benoit joined us this year. Wayne Davis has been so loyal and at 94 years-old, he has told me this might be his last year as an owner. We were two ahead going into the final day and were able to stay on top. So happy that Wayne could get another title!”

It’s a family affair at the Wilson barn, with his wife Becky and younger son, Connor, sharing in the key duties. His oldest son, Peyton, is an honors engineering student at LSU.

Wilson already has a string at Remington Park and will run at Fair Grounds in New Orleans for their 2023-2024 live racing season.

Joey Foster, who has won the Louisiana Downs trainer title three times, finished second with 23  victories. Steve Asmussen won 21 races and Joe O. Duhon rounded out the top four conditioners with 16 wins.


Leading Owner Title Goes to Wayne T. Davis

Wayne T. Davis claimed his second leading owner title with 14 wins this season at Louisiana Downs. The 94-year-old from Plain Dealing, Louisiana, has formed a close association with Shane Wilson and was on hand for the final day of the 2023 meet.

“It’s not like I am the owner and Shane is the trainer,” said Davis. “We are part of a family and that’s what makes running horses so special!”

Davis, who also won the 2021 title, finished second last year.  He was pleased to accept the trophy, accompanied by Shane, Becky and Connor Wilson.

“Good people and nice horses,” added Davis.  “You can’t ask for anything more!”

L and G Racing Stable finished second with 12 wins, followed by Jonas Gibson, who won ten races, and Danny R. Caldwell with 8 winners.

Henry B. Johnson, Jr. Finishes the Season One Shy of his 1000th Milestone

Trainer Henry B. Johnson, Jr. had been in the hunt for his 1,000th career win this summer at Louisiana Downs. He had three horses entered on the final card, with one runner-up finish and two thirds. Born in Louisiana and a strong supporter of Louisiana Downs for four decades, Johnson, 82, ran 45 horses this season with six wins, five seconds and nine third-place finishes.

“It was close,” said Johnson. “After Lone Star finished, we had some deep fields and it got very competitive. I’ll go to Delta Downs next and also have some decent Texas-breds and plan on running at Sam Houston Race Park in January.”

“We thank our horsemen for their support throughout the meet,” said Matt Crawford, Louisiana Downs Racing Secretary. “It was one of the hottest summers ever, which was certainly taxing for both horses and humans. We applaud the efforts of each and every trainer and wish them continued success for the remainder of the year.”

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

Obituary: Ernest E. Kiger

Obituary for Ernest E. Kiger

Ernest E. Kiger, resident of Cut Off, passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

Visitation will be held at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church on Saturday, September 9th from 9 am until service time. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 am.

Ernest is survived by his wife of 38 years, Beth Talamo Kiger; children, Ernest Jr. (Wonda), Keith Kiger (Landie), Clifford Kiger, Timmy Johnfroe, Donna K. Billiot (Charley), Jennifer K. Starks (Kerry), Hollie R. Kiger (William) and Jennifer Bonvillian; 34 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; sisters, Sally K. Cheramie (Terry) and Irma K. Dardar.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Julius Kiger and Lucy Billiot Kiger; sons, Richard and Jarrod Kiger; daughter, Lori Ann Kiger; brother, Roy Kiger; sisters, Juanita K. Ungar, Bernice K. Naquin, Gustassa Verdin, Janice K. Billiot, Annie Kiger and Mary Jane K. Billiot.

Ernest was a devoted family man whom never met a stranger. Had a passion for horses and animals. Spent his entire life helping and giving to others. He was a retired Boat Captain. Ernest will be sadly missed by many.

Falgout Funeral Home is entrusted with arrangements.



Big Data Super Derby Finish. Ann Switalski photo.



Bossier City, LA – Louisiana Downs proudly hosted an afternoon of festivities culminating with the running of the $200,000 Super Derby, presented by Lip Chip LLC. The oppressive heat for the past two months took a hiatus so that the crowd could step out in their finest for a very entertaining afternoon.

It was a  breakout performance by Big Data to take Super Derby 41 and capture the first stakes of his career. Trainer Michael Lerman felt the mile and one-eighth main track stakes would be a good opportunity for the son of Cloud Computing, out of the Creative Cause mare  Moxie, who made his debut at Gulfstream Park on December 16. He broke his maiden on April 22 and advanced to the allowance level with success.

“He’s a large horse and can be a handful, but (jockey) Emisael (Jaramillo) fits him well,” said Lerman. “The race unfolded the way we anticipated, and we were thrilled with the outcome.”

Jaramillo was content to let Big Data run off the early pace set by Machine Gun Man and jockey Vicente Del Cid, who completed the first quarter-mile in :23.81 and the half-mile in :48.71.  Big Data wwas traveling well heading to the final turn and drew off to a 1 ¾ length victory in a final time of 1.51.83.

 Big Data shipped in from Gulfstream Park on Tuesday and Lerman was pleasantly surprised that the temperature had dipped this week.

“It was cooler here than Florida,” he stated. “I shipped in a  horse for the Super Derby undercard in 2006. It was an inferno that year, so this was a relief.”

Big Data, sent off as second choice in the wagering, paid $8.20 to win. He earned $120,000 for his first stake win and his record stands at 8-3-4 and lifetime earnings of $213,680.

Lerman said that Big Data will return to South Florida tomorrow and options for his next start include the Pennsylvania Derby or possibly a stakes at Churchill Downs.

“He’s on the right trajectory,” added Lerman.

Kim Boulmetis of Petal Power Racing bred Big Data and was thrilled with his victory. She owns his dam, Big Moxie, who is in foal to Cloud Computing.

“I thank Mike and his team,” she said. They did an incredible job. I have never seen an outfit treat horses so well.  I also want to commend Louisiana Downs for bringing this race back. I know the history of the Super Derby and appreciate the hard work of everyone. It’s been the most wonderful trip for us!”

That praise meant a great deal to Louisiana Downs president and owner Kevin Preston  who stated from the beginning that he intended to bring back the track’s marquee race, the Super Derby, not just as a racing championship, but an event for the Metroplex.

“Our team worked extremely hard to present a festive day with quality horse racing,” said Preston. “What was so rewarding is the response from our fans, dressing to the nines, wearing gorgeous hats and bringing family and friends for the afternoon. It’s hard to explain how rewarding it was to us to see how much they enjoyed the return of the Super Derby!

No White Flags completed the exacta under jockey C.J. McMahon. The son on Union Rags was also making his stakes debut for owner Donald D. Clark of  LG4 Racing LLC. He posted two wins at Louisiana Downs prior to his start in Super Derby 41 for  retired jockey Carl J, Woodley, who has been training since 2008.

“We were hoping for one more race, but still happy that he finished well in his first stakes effort,” said Woodley. “I was never nervous riding, but had knots in my stomach the minute he left the paddock. Training is a lot tougher than being a jockey!

How Did He Do That ran third for owners J. Kirk and Judy Robison and trainer Steve Asmussen who won two previous Super Derby editions. Joel Dominguez had the call aboard the post time favorite. Early pacesetter, Machine Gun Man completed the superfecta followed by Tiz Donegal, Promise Me A Ride and  Donegal Arrow.

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

September Calendar of Events from the LTBA

 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association would like to share the following list of dates of interest to Louisiana horsemen and women.

Brought to you by Whispering Oaks Farm,  Breeders Sales of Louisiana and Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Click images to link to more information

September 2

  • Super Derby, Louisiana Downs


September 4

  • Labor Day


September 9

  • National Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Assoc. (TOBA) Awards ceremony.  Allied Racing Stable to be honored as the recipients of the 2022 TOBA Award for the State of Louisiana.


September 11

  • Patriot Day


September 12

  • Louisiana Downs, final day of 2023 Thoroughbred Meet


September 23

  • Fall Equinox


September 27

  • Pre-Sale Party and LTBA PAC Fundraiser, 5:30 p.m. Equine Sales Facility, Opelousas, Louisiana


September 28

  • Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana 2023 Yearling Sale followed by Mixed Session 10:00 a.m., Equine Sales Facility, Opelousas, Louisiana


Would you like to sponsor a newsletter? Reach @ 2,500 readers.Please contact Linda 504-460-5518, or Roger 504-947-4676, for cost and availability.

Do you have a date pertaining to Louisiana-breds that you would like included in an upcoming calendar? Please contact Linda 985-386-0360, linda@louisianabred.comor Roger 504-947-4676, for consideration.


Any questions or need more info call

Roger A. Heitzmann III, Secretary/Treasurer

Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association



2023 TX yearling sale topper HIP 122 b. Olivia Friesen/TTA photo.


(Grand Prairie, Texas) The hammer fell after a final bid of $110,000 on a Texas-bred Practical Joke colt to lead the way at the 2023 Texas Summer Yearling Sale.

Cataloged as hip 122, the Practical Joke colt, who is out of the stakes-winning Imperialism mare Jan’s Perfect Star, was purchased by Al Pike, agent, Monday at Lone Star Park. The colt is a half brother to four winners from as many to race from the dam, including the stakes-winning Road Bloc (Street Sense) who won the Arm Holding Jebel Ali Sprint stakes in Dubai in March this year. Scott Mallory consigned the colt on behalf of the breeders, Michael and Linda Mazoch.

“We’re grateful to Mike and Linda Mazoch and Scott Mallory for bringing the colt to our sale and we’re proud that a Texas-bred topped our sale again this year,” TTA Sales Director Foster Bridewell said. “He was quality and presented himself well to our buyers, so when the hammer dropped it all made sense.”

A Vekoma colt, also consigned by Scott Mallory, agent, was the second highest priced yearling sold at $90,000 on Monday at the sales pavilion at Lone Star Park. Scanlon Training and Sales signed the ticket for the Louisiana-bred colt out of the winning Tale of the Cat mare Winning Saga. 

Three others reached the $80,000 mark. Hip 24, a Texas-bred Competitive Edge colt consigned by Highlander Training Center, sold for $85,000 to KDE Equine. Hip 51, a Texas-bred Competitive Edge filly also consigned by Highlander Training Center, was purchased for $80,000 by Lone Star Thoroughbreds. Straight Line Equine Sales sold Hip 110, a Louisiana-bred Spun to Run colt, for $80,000 to Whispering Oaks.

“We’re grateful to our breeders, owners, consignors, and buyers for trusting in us and coming to Texas to buy or sell,” Foster said. “We’re looking forward to seeing how these athletes develop and are already looking forward to our two-year-old sale in the spring of 2024.”

In total, 175 horses sold Monday at the 2023 Texas Summer Yearling Sale for a total $3,244,900. The average price was $18,542. The median was $11,000.

Full results are posted at