News December  3, 2022

Mardi Gras Futurity Trials Set at Louisiana Downs On Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6

Eleven trials for 2-year-olds will get underway at 11:00 am with the five fastest qualifiers from each day advancing to the march 27 $400,000-est. Mardi Gras Futurity(RG2) final.

© Hodges Photography / Ann Switalski

BOSSIER CITY, LA—MARCH 1, 2022—The 2022 Quarter Horse racing season at Louisiana Downs continues this week with an expanded schedule. In addition to live racing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, special programs have been added Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6.

Trials for the $394,690 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) will be conducted this weekend with a special early post time of 11:00 am (CT). Eleven trials, at the distance of 300 yards, are set for both days with the five fastest qualifiers from each day earning a berth to the final on Sunday, March 27 (see related story).

Many of the 2-year-olds showed their potential earlier this month in 220-yard schooling races , including Adame Racing LLC's Toast To Blue. Trainer Martin Trejo saddled the son of Jess Louisiana Blue in his schooling race victory on February 12. He is out of the stakes winning Toast To Dash mare Sante Mon Amie, who won the 2010 Mardi Gras Futurity(RG2). Trejo spotted the sorrel colt in last year's LQHBA Yearling Sale and explained what caught his eye last August.

"I liked his pedigree and good, straight legs," said Trejo. "My owners signed the ticket for $22,000 and he has been in our barn for three months. He was working well before winning his schooling race (setting the second-fastest winning time of :12.257 seconds). Everything looks good."

Trejo has six juveniles entered on Saturday and five, including Toast to Blue on Sunday afternoon. He won the 2015 Mardi Gras Futurity with Magic Black Jack and looks forward to this weekend.

"I like the two-day format," added Trejo. "It would be very nice to win another Mardi Gras Futurity!"

Trainer Wendy Garcia won the 2018 Mardi Gras Futurity with Guidry Pride II and will also have a busy trial weekend. She has nine Louisiana-bred juveniles in action including Mamaigotthis, a Jet Black Patriot filly who sent the third-fastest schooling race clocking of :12.320 seconds for owner Three Musketeers. She is a half-sister to LQHBA Louisiana Million Invitational winner Apollitical Chas.

"We picked this little filly at the LQHBA Yearling Sale (for $24,000)," said Garcia. "She has shown potential from the get-go. Our team always gets our babies ready for the Mardi Gras Futurity."

Garcia and her husband, jockey Modesto Pina, have qualified finalists in eight of the last nine editions of the Mardi Gras Futurity.

"Getting young horses ready this time of year is a lot of work," she added. "I've always believed in the schooling races; they learn from a lot, and we see what needs to be done. It's going to be a good, busy weekend!"

One of the schooling race standouts, Konnan Cartel, will not run until the final trial on Sunday afternoon. Bred and owned by Luis Armando Castellanos, the gelding by Five Bar Cartel set the fastest time of :12.100 seconds in 19 schooling race heats on Saturday, February 12.

LQHBA and AQHA Racing champion trainer Kenneth Roberts, Sr. was impressed by the speed and early talent of Konnan Cartel. He's out of the Jet Black Patriot mare Jet Black Chiraq.

"He's not a real big colt, but he is out of a real nice race mare," said Roberts. "Luis bred him and felt he was ready to run early, and so far, so good."

Roberts, who has won pretty much every major championship in Louisiana, has yet to win the Mardi Gras Futurity. He will saddle two on Saturday and two more on Sunday. Konnan Cartel drew into the very last trial on Sunday's card and Roberts smiled when he was asked about running in the final qualifying trial.

"At least we'll know exactly what he has to do!"

It will be an action-packed weekend for each of the horsemen as well as the Louisiana Downs racing office. The weather forecast is excellent with temperatures in the high 70's expected.

"We are pleased with the record-setting number of nominations for this year's Mardi Gras Futurity," said David Heitzmann, director of racing at Louisiana Downs. "Our new owners have made many improvements to our facility, and we look forward to an exciting weekend of trials leading to a very competitive final for the first official futurity of 2022."

Promotions Set For Mardi Gras Trials

Family Fun on the racing apron begins at 10:30am on Saturday, March 5 with tasty bites from your favorite food trucks PLUS inflatable games for the entire family as well as live music on the track apron! Not quite an expert handicapper?

No worries! Join us for a Betting for Beginners seminar at Noon with Shreveport Bossier's own Tony Taglavore! On Saturday and Sunday, Louisiana Downs track announcer John McGary and regional racing publicist Martha Claussen will team up with paddock previews offering selections and insights into the contenders. Claussen will conduct post-race interviews with winning trial connections and special guests both afternoons.

See you Saturday at Louisiana Downs, the place to race for over 40 years!

Trials for the Mardi Gras Derby Set for Monday, March 7

Louisiana Downs will host five trials for the $50,000-added Mardi Gras Derby on Monday, March 7, beginning at 1:00 pm. The ten top 3-year-old qualifiers from the 400-yard trials will advance to the final on Sunday, March 27.

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through February 28, Martin Trejo tops the trainer standings with 14 wins. Lanny Keith has saddled 10 winners and Manuel Pizana is third with eight top finishes. Last year's leading conditioner Jose Carrizales and Manuel Macias are tied for fourth with seven wins each.

Ubaldo Luna continues to command the lead in the jockey standings with 24 winners since the meet began on January 10. Everardo Rodriguez, who topped all 2021 Quarter Horse riders in wins, is second with 19 victories. Last year's Louisiana Downs leading rider David Alvarez follows with 16 trips to the winner's circle and Arturo Alvarez rounds out the top four with 14 winners.

Geral Dewitt has taken over the lead in the owner standings with six winners to date. Joseph Landreneau, Rosendo Valdez. Jose O. Barron and Manuel Pizana are tied for second place with five wins each.

Louisiana Downs 2022 Quarter Horse Racing Season

The 46-day Quarter Horse meet began on Sunday, January 10 and continues through Wednesday, April 6. Live racing is conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with one Thursday race card added on March 31. Post time will be 1:00 p.m. (Central), except for Mardi Gras Futurity trials on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, which will begin at 11:00 am.

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.

Courtesy Ses