Clear Creek Stud to Sponsor Annual Scholarship

January 6, 2019


Val Murrell, Owner and General Manager of Clear Creek Stud LLC in Folsom, La, announced that Clear Creek Stud LLC has decided to sponsor a scholarship in the amount of $5,000. The scholarship was awarded to a student whose family is currently in the thoroughbred industry in Louisiana. A committee consisting of horse industry leaders chose a worthy recipient for the scholarship whose name will be released once she/he is notified. Clear Creek Stud LLC intends to make this an annual scholarship.

From Maidens To Eclipse Award Winners, Photographer Hodges Loves Every Image

by | 01.03.2019 | 3:34pm

Amanda Hodges Weir and Lou Hodges

Fair Grounds in New Orleans has withstood the test of time as one of the most revered racetracks in North America.  For the past forty years, track photographer Lou Hodges, Jr. has captured the racing history of the venerable establishment in his own inimitable style.

Hodges is a second-generation photographer. His dad, Lou Hodges, Sr. was a veteran of the Army Air Corps during World War II and began working under Fair Grounds track photographer Jack Blythe in 1948. When Blythe retired, Hodges took over and enjoyed a successful career, honored as a member of the Fair Grounds Press Box Hall of Fame. He passed the baton to his son in 1976.

Lou Hodges, Jr. served as track photographer at several racetracks, including Rockingham Park, Washington Park and Arlington Park prior to taking the position at Fair Grounds.

He explains the goal of the images created by Hodges Photography.

“Our technique for getting perfect race shots is to use telephoto lenses to have tight shots,” said Hodges.  “We are always looking for different angles and different compositions that will make someone who views the image look twice.”

Hodges has photographed some of the most celebrated Thoroughbreds in the six-month winter Thoroughbred meet, which culminates with the running of the Louisiana Derby, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby. He cites Rachel Alexandra, Risen Star, A Letter To Harry and Gun Runner as some of the most memorable champions he has photographed at Fair Grounds.

He became part of the first father-son Fair Grounds Press Box Hall of Fame, when he was inducted in 2014.

Several years, ago, Hodges added his daughter, Amanda Hodges Weir, to his operation.  She began shooting in New Orleans periodically in 2011, but came to the business full time in 2015.

“It’s great to work with my dad,” said Amanda. “I couldn’t ask for a better mentor. He’s patient and very encouraging.”

Hodges Photography also has the contract at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Shreveport. Ann Switalski handles the day-to-day duties for both the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred meets, with Lou coming in for the bigger race days, including Super Derby in September.

Iconic Shots

Hodges continues to add to his repertoire and create iconic images at Fair Grounds. In addition to post parade, stretch, wire and comeback shots, Lou and Amanda, with their Cannon equipment and various telephoto lenses, are always in search of shots with a “wow” factor.

Lou wanted to recreate a photo of horses rounding the far turn in front of the grandstand and accomplished that goal on Thanksgiving Day.

“It was a picture I have wanted to take for several years,” he explained. “But, several things had to be in order. I needed good weather, a long race and the ability to be on a lift high enough to get the desired angle.”

With the support of Gabe Martin, a member of the Fair Grounds facility maintenance staff, who was using a hydraulic Snorkel Lift for a light bulb replacement, Hodges stood 60 feet above the track to get his shot.

“I’m not crazy about heights, but needed to be up that high to get what I wanted,” he said.

There are many photographs he is proud of, including a beautiful sunset image of Gun Runner in the 2016 Risen Star and Calvin Borel giving Rachel Alexandra a congratulatory pat as she won the Fair Ground Oaks in 2009.

But believe it or not, as much as he enjoys the graded stakes runners and Eclipse Award-winning champions, he appreciates the maiden and allowance winners just as much.

Digital photography has added both ease and dimension to racing photography. Lou and Amanda take pride in creating composite photo arrangements for winning connections.

“We take a lot of photos for connections who may never win a graded stakes race,” he said. “To see the look on their faces when they pick up their photos is really neat and means a lot to us.”

Jazz Enthusiast

Hodges loves jazz music, with the late Dave Brubeck cited as one of his favorite artists. Fair Grounds is home to the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which takes place after the conclusion of the Thoroughbred racing season.  Set-up for the event is a massive undertaking and the Jazz Fest organizers move in and take control at full throttle.  One year, Lou entered the Fair Grounds press box to take an aerial photo of the infield. However, he was refused entrance by the Jazz Fest staff.

“I pointed to my picture on the wall,” said Hodges. “But my Hall of Fame status didn’t make an impact on them!”

Nonetheless, he has high regard for the annual event, preferring to enjoy the festivities from the infield versus the grandstand and elite press box.

No Signs of Slowing Down

Hodges has been a part of a remarkable and often unpredictable history at Fair Grounds. In addition to the racing glory, he has seen the racetrack go through catastrophic events, including the grandstand fire of 1993 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

You might think that after over four decades, the grind of  racetrack photography would dull his enthusiasm, but that is far from the case with Lou Hodges.

“Actually, it’s more exciting than ever,” he stated. “It used to be a maddening process in the dark room and composite photos were pretty much impossible. Now with digital photography, there is so much more we can do.”

Ryan Martin, Fair Grounds’ Racing Media Relations Coordinator works closely with Hodges Photography and appreciates Lou for both his personality and professionalism.

“Lou Hodges is a very valuable asset to the Fair Grounds team,” said Martin. “Both he and Amanda do a fabulous job in what they do and are a pleasure to work with. Whenever I need to photo to include with press releases or to post to social media, I can always count on Hodges to come through with a solid, top quality image. He has decades of experience in doing what he does and his work is a massive reflection of that. Aside from his work, Lou is a very great person who is always happy to help out. Racing is anything but short of talented photographers and Lou Hodges is no exception.”

Now 70, Hodges began shooting photos with his dad at Fair Grounds when he was just 12-years-old. He gets a kick out of some the faithful “old timers” who tease him about still “hanging around”, and enjoys working with staffers, many of whom are forty years his junior.

“I’m surrounded by young people, but can outlast them all,” enthusiastically proclaimed Hodges.

Martha Claussen has been prominent in the racing industry since 1997 as a publicist, writer and handicapper.

Songandaprayer Pensioned from Stud Duty

Songandaprayer, a grade 1 winner and sire of 38 black-type winners, has been pensioned from commercial stud duty, according to Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla., where the stallion stood in 2018.

Bred in Kentucky by Donna Wormser, the son of Unbridled’s Song was purchased by agent Buzz Chace for $470,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Pinhooker Robert Scanlon later sold the colt for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale to basketball star Bobby Hurley and his wife, Leslie.

Hurley and his wife, along with D.J. Stable, won the 2001 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1) and placed second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) with Songandaprayer. He was retired at 3 with 3-1-1 record out of eight starts and $380,480 in earnings.

Songandaprayer entered stud in Florida in 2002 at Marablue Farm, which bought D.J. Stable’s interest. He stood at Marablue for three seasons before being transferred to Hartley/DeRenzo, Walmac South (also in Florida) for a season and then was sent to Walmac Farm in Kentucky. He stood five seasons at The Stallion Station@Copper Crowne before ending his stud career at Journeyman.

Songandaprayer was Florida’s leading freshman sire in 2005 with over $1 million in progeny earnings and three black-type winners, including multiple graded stakes winner What a Song. As a sire, he had 63% winners from foals and 90 black-type performers, which included three champions. His 15 crops to race earned more than $51.5 million and averaged $58,021 per starter.



 B Connected Stakes
Delta Downs, 12-29-18, 1 mile
Three Year Olds and Upwards, Accredited Louisiana Bred, $65,000

JUST STORMIN - B-Connected Stakes - 11th Running - 12-29-18 - R08 - DED-01
Just Stormin Wins the B-Connected Stakes, December 29, 2018 at Delta Downs. Coady Photography.

Freud–Crypto Cream
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Craig Drago
Trainer: Allen Landry
Jockey: Kerwin D. Clark

Redding Colliery–Stage Five Clinger
Breeder: Phyllis J. Hodges
Owner: Maggi Moss
Trainer: Thomas M. Amoss
Jockey: Gerard Melancon

Much Class
Midshipman–Asset Class
Breeder: H. Allen Poindexter, Ruth Poindexter, Veronica Hopkins & Robert Stubbs
Owner: Alejandrino Prieto
Trainer: Jose M. Camejo
Jockey: Luis Negron



VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs hosted the $65,000 B Connected Stakes on Saturday night and it was Craig Drago’s 6-year-old gelding Just Stormin who got the victory under jockey Kerwin Clark. The race was one-mile test restricted to Louisiana-bred horses who had never won a stakes race and the winner making his 46th career start.

After breaking alertly from post position eight in a field of 10, Just Stormin was sent directly to the lead by Clark and maintained that position throughout the race, setting fractional times of 23 seconds for the quarter-mile, 47.49 for the half and 1:12.81 for three-quarters. When Just Stormin turned for home his biggest challenger came calling in the form of Imindycatbirdseat under jockey Gerard Melancon.

In the final furlong Just Stormin, who is trained by Allen Landy, dug in gamely and held Imindycatbirdseat at bay while reporting home a length in front of his rival. Much Class, the 3-1 wagering favorite, finished another six lengths behind the top pair. Just Stormin covered the distance over a fast track in 1:39.78.

Overall, Just Stormin has won eight races during his career and his first-place prize of $39,000 on Saturday night raised bankroll to $246,355.

Bred in Louisiana by Tom Curtis and Wayne Simpson, Just Stormin is a 6-year-old bay gelding by Freud, out of the Cryptoclearance mare Crypto Cream.

Sent to the gate at odds of 8-1 on the tote board, Just Stormin paid $19.80 to win, $8.40 to place and $5 to show. Imindycatbirdseat returned $6 to place and $3.80 to show. Much Class paid $3.20 to show.

Delta Downs will begin its 12th week of racing next Wednesday through Saturday. There will be a special daytime program on Thursday, January 3rd. First post time that day is scheduled for 12:25 pm while the regular post time of 5:25 pm will be in effect the other three race days of the week.

For more information about racing at Delta Downs visit the track’s website at Fans can also get information about through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.

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.



Lookout Stakes
Delta Downs, 12-28-18, 1 mile
Three Year Olds and Upwards, Accredited Louisiana Bred Fillies or Mares, $65,000


MARIAH'S GALAXY - Lookout Stakes - 13th Running - 12-28-18 - R08 - DED-02
Mariah’s Galaxy is victorious in the 13th running of the Lookout Stakes at Delta Downs, December 28, 2018. Coady Photography.

Greeley’s Galaxy–Black Mariah
Breeder: Margie K. Averett
Owner: Riley Blanchet and Todd Matte
Trainer: Victor Arceneaux
Jockey: Kevin J. Smith

Salty Martini
Quiet American–French Martini
Breeder: Becky Winemiller
Owner: Tyron Benoit
Trainer: Jose M. Camejo
Jockey: Roberto Morales

Tap Dance Star
Star Guitar–Dance by Em
Breeder: Virginia Lazenby
Owner: Virginia Lazenby Racing Stable LLC
Trainer: Oscar Modica
Jockey: Gerard Melancon


VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs hosted the $65,000 Lookout Stakes on Friday night and it was Riley Blanchet and Todd Matte’s filly Mariah’s Galaxy who notched the first stakes score of her career. The winner was ridden by jockey Kevin Smith, who picked up the mount after scheduled rider Diego Saenz was injured while being unseated by one of his mounts earlier in the program.

Mariah’s Galaxy was reserved early in the one-mile Lookout as she sat in a ground-saving position behind pacesetter Fleet Halo, who set the fractional times of 24.06 seconds for the quarter-mile, 49.37 for the half, and 1:14.48 for three-quarters. When the field turned for home Smith got after his mount and she responded by running down the leader and drawing clear to win by 3-1/2 lengths over Salty Martini, who also finished well. Tap Dance Star wound up third, another length behind the runner-up.

Mariah’s Galaxy covered the distance over a fast track in a time of 1:41.40.

The win by Mariah’s Galaxy marked the sixth of her 19-race career. The winner’s prize of $39,000 raised her career bankroll to $148,130.

Mariah’s Galaxy is a 4-year-old filly by Greeley’s Galaxy, out of the Devil His Due mare Black Mariah. She was bred in Louisiana by Margie K. Averett.

Sent to the gate at odds of 9-5, Mariah’s Galaxy paid $5.60 to win, $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show. Salty Martini was worth $19.40 to place and $8.20 to show. Tap Dance Star paid $5 to show.

Delta Downs will close out its race week on Saturday night with another 10-race program and another stakes race. The featured event will be the $65,000 B Connected Stakes for 4-year-olds and upward competing at one mile. First post time is set for 5:25 pm.

For more information about racing at Delta Downs visit the track’s website at Fans can also get information about through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.

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.

Classy John, Midnight Fantasy Win Louisiana Futurity Divisions

There may have been an anxious moment or two, but in the end the heavy favorites of both divisions of the Louisiana Futurity got the job done on Saturday at the Fair Grounds.

Louisiana Futurity (Colt and Gelding Division)
Fair Grounds, 12-29-18, 6 furlongs
Two-Year-Old, Accredited Louisiana Bred, $85,700

Classy John_F_12-29-2018
Classy John, with Corey Lanerie aboard, out runs Jimi’s A Star, led by Emanuel Nieves, to win the Louisiana Futurity Colt and Gelding Division at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, LA. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr

Songandaprayer–Kitty’s Got Class
Breeder: Tom Curtis & Wayne Simpson
Owner: Valene Farms LLC
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie

Jimi’s a Star
Star Guitar–Unusual Strike
Breeder: James Boyd
Owner: James A. Boyd
Trainer: Henry B. Johnson, Jr.
Jockey: Emanuel Nieves

Cafe Du Monde
New Year’s Day–Java Jolt
Breeder: Natalie Montgomery & Jim Montgomery
Owner: Diamond Racing Inc. and Jay and Joan Janssen
Trainer: Leo G. Gabriel, Jr.
Jockey: Florent Geroux


In the colts and geldings division, Valene Farms’ Classy John held off the late advances of Jimi’s a Star to win by a diminishing three-quarters of a length. Guided by jockey Corey Lanerie, the son of Songandaprayer broke sharply and pressed pacesetter Why Not Charlie through an opening quarter in 22.05. Classy John put that rival away nearing the turn, but was asked by Lanerie at the three-sixteenths pole as Jimi’s a Star loomed a challenge on the far outside. Classy John held Jimi’s a Star, posting a final six furlong time of 1:11.67 in the slop. Café Du Monde finished a non-threatening third.

“He had me a worried for a little bit,” Lanerie said. “He went kind of quick early but he’s a fast horse and I didn’t want to take anything away from him.”

Trained by Dallas Stewart, Classy John won the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Stakes earlier in the meet and broke his maiden against open company in his career debut at Saratoga. His lone defeat took place against winners at Churchill Downs behind stakes placed Hog Creek Hustle.

“He ran great,” Stewart said. “I’m very proud of him. He’s such a nice horse. He’s been to Saratoga and ran big at Churchill. He’s just a very quality colt. A big thank you goes out to Murray and Jerry Valene for giving me the opportunity to train this horse.”

It was the third win in four career outings for Classy John, who upped his earnings to $171,650.

As the heavy 1-9 favorite, Classy John returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 while Jimi’s a Star brought back $.00 and $2.10. Café Du Monde paid $2.10 to show.

Shae’s Day and Why Not Charlie completed the order of finish.



Louisiana Futurity (Filly and Gelding Division)
Fair Grounds, 12-29-18, 6 furlongs
Two-Year-Old, Accredited Louisiana Bred Fillies, $89,100

Midnight Fantasy_F_12-29-2018
Midnight Fantasy, with Adam Beschizza aboard, wins the 52nd running of the Louisiana Futurity – Filly Division at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr

Midnight Lute–St. Jean
Breeder: J. Adcock & Hume Wornall
Owner: Carl R. Moore Management LLC
Trainer: Joe Sharp
Jockey: Adam Beschizza

Miss Bitters
Old Fashioned–Sheila Tequila
Breeder: Stephen Brown
Owner: Mintmere Thoroughbreds, LLC
Trainer: Glenn Delahoussaye
Jockey: Colby J. Hernandez

Guilt Trip–Charming Colleen
Breeder: James McIngvale
Owner: James McIngvale
Trainer: Chris Richard
Jockey: Corey J. Lanerie

In the fillies division three races later, Carl R. Moore Management’s Midnight Fantasy was stuck between horses early, made the lead, then gave it up before taking full command nearing the turn and drawing off to a convincing ten-length score.

Trained by Joe Sharp and guided to victory by Adam Beschizza, the daughter of Midnight Lute completed thee six furlong voyage over a sloppy track in 1:11.62. Miss Bitters finished a distant second and Goodprofit rounded out the trifecta.

Completing the order of finish were Raising the Ante, Its Misty in Paris, Cohenscollegefund and Scat At Ms. Pat’s.

“She’s always had sort of an easy lead in her last couple of wins,” Beschizza said. “Today was a bit of a challenge but we’re still looking forward with her. She’s always been a filly that Joe has held in high regard and hopefully she can live up to her expectations and keep on improving.”

Midnight Fantasy won her first two starts by a combined 12¾ lengths, which took place in a state-bred maiden special weight on Opening Day and the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie Stakes.

“It was good for her to have to take back a bit and sit off another horse,” Sharp said. “Mentally she’s just been rock solid since day one. At some point she was going to have to do that so it was nice. One of these days she’ll get a fast track again, but she seems to handle whatever we throw at her so far.”

Sharp did not rule out the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes as a possible next start for Midnight Fantasy and also mentioned the $100,000 Louisiana Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes at Delta Downs on February 9.

“We’ll talk about it. It’s either (the Silverbulletday Stakes) or Delta,” Sharp said. “We’ll get her back and cool her out. Every option is open at this point.”

With a win in the fillies division of the Louisiana Futurity, Midnight Fantasy has now earned a total of $138,060. As the heavy 1-9 favorite, she returned $2.10 across the board while Miss Bitters paid $5.60 and $2.60. Goodprofit brought back $2.10.

Bred in Louisiana by J. Addock and Hume Wornall, Midnight Fantasy was purchased for $77,000 from this year’s Equine Sales of Louisiana 2-Year-Old and Horses of Racing Age Sale where she was consigned by Pike Racing.

Pregnancy Problems: How to Increase Your Chances of Delivering a Healthy Foal

By Jen Roytz

What could be that difficult about breeding? You select a stallion that suits the mare and your goals, breed your mare, then keep her fed and watered for 11 months until you’re rewarded with a healthy foal.

If only it were that simple.

There are many reasons a mare can prove difficult to get into foal, or to stay in foal. It could be as simple function of age. It could be results from a complicated delivery. Or, it could be a multitude of other reasons.

Regardless, now is the time breeders should be paying special attention to preparing their breeding stock for the upcoming season, and for those with known issues there are added safeguards and steps breeders can take she gave themselves and their horses the best chance at a successful pregnancy.

Issues that Can Impact Conception

There are many reasons a horse may have issues getting impregnated, the most basic of which are her age, not breeding her at the appropriate time during her cycle, or poor reproductive health of the mare or stallion.

A typical mare’s ovum, or egg, begins to lose viability within just five to six hours post-ovulation, and typically loses all viability within 24 hours. While a stallion’s semen typically remains viable for 48 hours, a reduced number and quality of a stallion’s semen can limit its viability to just a few hours. Age can negatively impact these timeframes for both sexes.

The mare’s body condition can also play into her chances of becoming pregnant. Most veterinarians recommend mares to rank around a 5 or a 6 on the Henneke Body Condition Score (BCS). When a mare’s weight and overall health decline, so too does their reproductive efficiency.

Outside of age and general health-related issues, endometritis is the most common reason for infertility in mares. This condition, which is an infection or inflammation of the lining of the uterus caused by foreign contaminants such as bacteria or spermatozoa, can either be acute as a result of breeding (both artificial and natural), reproductive examination or as a result of poor conformation.

“There are simple, but important steps one can take to improve the chances of conception, including a physical examination of both the mare and the stallion, a careful and thorough reproductive exam of the mare prior to the breeding season and during the estrous cycle during which breeding is to occur and to optimize the overall health of the horse,” said Kristina Lu, VMD, an equine reproductive specialist with Hagyard Equine Medical Institute.

Early vs. Late Term Pregnancy Loss

Just as there are a number of reasons a mare can be difficult to impregnate, the same can hold true for keeping her in foal. Most pregnancy losses occur in the initial weeks and months of pregnancy.

Again, age can play a role. As mares age, they may experience uterine fibrosis, which can lead to a placenta that is less-efficient in getting nutrition to the growing fetus.

Other causes for early-term pregnancy loss can be unavoidable complications, such as genetic defects or embryonic abnormalities. They can also be due to uterine infections that may have been low-grade and undetectable at the time of breeding/conception but proliferate in the subsequent weeks and months.

Late-term losses can have their own set of culprits.

“Placentitis, umbilical cord torsion, systemic illness can all cause late, and in some cases mid-term abortion in mares,” said Lu. “Diseases such as leptospirosis, equine herpesvirus 1 or 4 and equine viral arteritis are threats to a healthy gestation as well, some of which can spread quickly through a herd and may not generate obvious clinical signs other than abortion.”

Then there are also those mares that have little trouble carrying a foal to term, only to be prone to dystocias (difficulty giving birth), which can be caused by congenital abnormalities, such as contracted limbs that prevent the foal from properly fitting through the birth canal. This, in turn, can lead to oxygen deprivation in foals.

Safeguards to Protect Both Mare and Foal

While some complications are simply unavoidable, there are safeguards and protocols that can be implemented to support the gestation and delivery of a healthy foal.

“Some simple things horsemen and women can do to protect their mares and future foals are to maintain good general health of a mare, conduct thorough reproductive examinations, monitor the mare’s reproductive tract before and after breeding, ensure regular core vaccinations, consider screening for placentitis if the mare has a previous history and consider vaccinating for herpes or leptospirosis if appropriate,” said Lu. “Breeding as close to ovulation as possible can also be of benefit. On the other hand, repeated breeding during an estrous cycle (average 21 days) may increase opportunity for endometritis in some mares.”

Above all else, staying in regular communication with your veterinarian is one of the best forms of protection one can afford their mares.

Louisiana Brothers Calvin, Cecil Borel Planning Oaklawn Comeback In 2019

Calvin Borel

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel was getting on horses Monday morning at Oaklawn in preparation for the 2019 meeting that begins Jan. 25.

A fixture in Hot Springs, Borel, 52, was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1995 and 2001, but didn’t ride at the 2018 meeting, opting to winter at Fair Grounds because of business and family reasons.

“Good to be back,” Borel said after breezing a horse for trainer Gary Thomas, a longtime client. “Feel good. I had a good summer. Can’t wait.”

Borel has 952 career victories at Oaklawn, with his first coming aboard Twice Around in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G2) in 1989. Twice Around also marked the first training victory in Hot Springs for Borel’s older brother, Cecil, who is planning a comeback at the 2019 meeting, the jockey said.

Cecil Borel, who has 105 career Oaklawn victories, including eight stakes, retired in 2014.

“He’ll be here in a couple of weeks,” Calvin Borel said. “He’s going to try and get a couple of horses and run here.”

Borel said his brother has spent the last four years watching his grandchildren grow up and fishing.

“He got tired of sitting around,” Borel said. “Just a matter of time. He hasn’t got anything else to do.”


$15,000 Harrah’s Dash Highlights Opening Day Card


Bossier City, LA – The 2019 Quarter Horse racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will commence on Saturday, January 5. The 46-day meet runs through March 20 with live action set for  Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with a 1:00 p.m. (Central) post time.


Jockey Luis Vivanco Finishes out the Year as the Top Jockey in the Country by Wins


Jockey Luis Vivanco returns to Louisiana Downs off a record year that began here last January. Riding full-time on the Louisiana circuit proved to be a perfect fit for the 36-year-old who was born in Veracruz, Mexico and began riding in the United States in 2007. He won 127 races to finish the year as the top North American Quarter Horse jockey in wins and will likely be a finalist for 2018 AQHA Champion Jockey, along with Raul Ramirez, Jr.; Ricky Ramirez and Cody Jensen.


With support of many horsemen he had ridden for in Texas and the established Louisiana connections of agent Cynthia Menard, Vivanco began 2018 at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, finishing ranked fifth with 12 wins and a respectable 48% in the money statistic.


Vivanco rode several horses for trainer Miguel Rodriguez at Louisiana Downs, running second in the $294,942 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2)  aboard TDZ Louisiana Toast.


“He’s very dedicated and down to earth,” stated Rodriguez. “Luis is willing to do whatever is asked. It’s no surprise to me that he is having the success in Louisiana. He’s very hard working; a family man and nice person.”

Vivanco faced an ultra-competitive jockey colony at Delta Downs with hopes of finishing in the top ten in the standings. He surpassed that goal significantly, challenging perennial leader John Hamilton to the wire, finishing the 46-day meet with a record of 40 wins from 216 starters, just four behind Hamilton.

Next came Fair Grounds, where Vivanco won 11 races in the ten-day season, again, finishing one win behind Hamilton.

However, he soared to his highest level at Evangeline Downs, winning the LQHBA Louisiana Million aboard Larry Boudreaux’s Mpshinning. He concluded the meet with 35 victories and tied Hamilton for leading rider honors.

“Luis is very professional,” explained trainer Josue Huitron, trainer of Mpshinning. “He works hard for us in the morning and always tries his best to win each race. We work well together.”


Vivanco and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children, Lorena, 6, and four-year-old Jesus. Home is in San Antonio, which requires a lot of time on the road as he commutes back and forth to Louisiana. His love for his wife and children provide the incentive on those long hours behind the wheel.


“It is hard on my family, but I never thought at the beginning of the year that I would find this kind of success here in Louisiana,” said Vivanco. “It’s been a dream come true and I am very grateful.”

It was also an exceptional year for Huitron, who won the Lassie and Lee Berwick Futurities at Delta Downs in addition to the LQHBA Louisiana Million at Evangeline Downs.  The 26-year-old horseman has 35 horses at Louisiana Downs.

Stake Winner Globito Tops Full Field in the $15,000 Harrah’s Dash

A field of ten quality sprinters will compete in Saturday’s $15,000 Harrah’s Dash, the first stakes of the live racing season.

Isabel Huitron’s Globito is the 9-5 morning line choice in the 250-yard feature. Trained by Josue Huitron, the 4-year-old son of Pappasito has won 8 of his 12 career efforts, including a victory in the $20,000 Evangeline Downs Dash on October 5. His most recent win came at Zia Park on December 19 when he set a new track record for the distance of 100 yards, crossing the wire in a blazing :6.446 seconds. The Texas-bred drew the rail post and will be ridden by Luis Vivanco.

“He always breaks well; that’s why he runs so well at short distances, said Huitron. “The post doesn’t make a difference; he runs hard and has beaten some very good horses.”

The high-earner in the field is Three Bar Cartel who has banked $227,910 in his 12 starts for owner Ruben Garcia Montemayor. The 4-year-old, sired by Capo de Capi, won the 2017 Dash For Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park and had a strong 3-year-old season, capturing the Retama Park Derby and running third in the Evangeline Downs Derby on December 15. Jockey Jesse Lee Levario has the call for trainer Josue Ponce, and will break from post position eight.


Kas Tempting, runner-up in the 2018 Sam Houston Derby for owner Garza Laurel Partnership LLC and trainer Bobby Martinez, is another notable entrant. Sired by Tempting Dash, the 4-year-old Texas-bred will be ridden by Damian Martinez. Rogelio Marquez Jr.’s The Golden Bowl drew the far outside post and will be guided by Antonio Alberto. The 7-year-old son of Mr Eye Opener was victorious in the 2016 Develop a Plan Stakes (G3) and had several stakes placings in 2018. Oklahoma-bred One Sweet Merlot will shorten to 250-yards for the first time for owners David Jones and Mark C. Cowen. Trainer James Lackey will saddle the multiple-stakes winner and give a let up to rider Cesar Esqueda.

Here is the field for the Harrah’s Dash, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:

  1. Globito (Luis Vivanco), 9-5
  2. One Sweet Merlot (Cesar Esqueda), 10-1
  3. Kas Tempting (Damian Martinez), 10-1
  4. Tdz Fast Dasher (Noe Castaneda), 10-1
  5. Dm La Jolla (Rolando Cabrera), 8-1
  6. Fast N Famous Eagle (Everardo Rodriguez), 12-1
  7. Perrys Dynasty (Eddi Martinez), 20-1
  8. Three Bar Cartel (Jesse Levario), 5-1
  9. Lil Bro Streak (Luciano Duenez), 15-1
  10. The Golden Bowl (Antonio Alberto), 9-2

The Harrah’s Dash will be run as race six with an approximate post time of 3:00 pm.

Louisiana Downs 2019 Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule


The Louisiana Downs live Quarter Horse racing season includes 12 stakes highlighted by the first official championship for 2-year-olds, the $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity.

January 5         $15,000 Harrah’s Dash                       4 YO & Up                            250 yards

January 12       $15,000 Marathon Stakes                   4 YO & Up                            870 yards

January 19       $25,000 Billy Montgomery                3 YO LA-Bred                       350 yards

January 26       $15,000 Swift Stakes                          4 YO & Up                            350 yards

January 26       $25,000 Party Girl Stakes                   4 YO & Up F&M LA-Bred   350 yards


February 2       $25,000 Magnolia Stakes                   3 YO & Up LA-Bred             870 yards

February 9       $15,000-added LAD Maiden Stake   3,4 &5 YO LA-Bred               350 yards

February 16     $25,000 Mr Jess Perry                       4 YO & Up LA-Bred             330 yards


March 16         $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity 2 YO LA-Bred                       300 yards

March 16         $50,000-added Mardi Gras Derby      3 YO LA-Bred                       400 yards

March 16         $15,000 Leverne Perry Memorial       3 YO & Up                            400 yards


March 20         $75,000-added Harrah’s Futurity       2 YO                                      300 yards


To see a complete list of race dates and post times, click here.


About Harrah’s 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 s

Bad Bedding? Straw Hard On Equine Lungs

by | 12.27.2018 | 11:21am

Straw bedding and dry hay can be risk factors for inflammatory airway disease (IAD) in performance horses, a new study shows.

Julie Dauvillier, Fe ter Woort and Emmanuelle van Erck‐Westergren, who represent the Equine Sports Medicine Practice in Waterloo, Belgium, studied the role of fungi in IAD. Horses affected with IAD generally have poor performance, a cough and excess mucus in the airways.

The researchers used 731 horses that were used for racing, sport and leisure riding in their study. The trio collected data, observed environmental conditional and collected samples from bronchoalveolar lavages and tracheal washes. Fungal cultures were positive in 55 percent of the horses; horses that had fungal elements in their tracheal wash samples were twice as likely to have IAD.

Horses bedded on straw were 90 percent more likely to have fungi in their tracheal wash than those bedded on other materials; horses bedded in wood shavings had only a 40 percent risk of fungi in their wash.

Hay and straw are naturally contaminated with fungal spores during harvest; storage can increase fungus proliferation. Steaming did help reduce the fungal particles hay, but soaking did not decrease the amount of fungal spores dramatically.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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