News - Preview October  24, 2021

Louisiana Downs Hosts Quarter Horse Schooling Races On Friday

Eighteen schooling races for 2-Year-olds will get underway at 11:00 am (CST) at Louisiana Downs on Friday.

© Hodges Photography / Ann Switalski

BOSSIER CITY, LA—FEBRUARY 9, 2021—The third week of the 2021 Quarter Horse racing season at Louisiana Downs will include schooling races this Friday in addition to the regularly scheduled races on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The schooling races will be contested at the distance of 220-yards and are open to 2-year-olds paid into the first official futurity of the year, the $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2). A total of 18 heats will get underway at 11:00 am on Friday, February 12.

Delfino Lozano, IV’s homebred El Camino Cl was a schooling race winner last year for trainer Jose Sanchez, III. The son of Heza Fast Dash went on to set the fastest qualifying time in trials captured the final of the $315,166 Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2) last March.

The sorrel colt went on to compete in the Laddie and Lee Berwick Futurities at Delta Downs and completed 2020 as a finalist to the LQHBA Louisiana Million at Evangeline Downs. Sanchez, who begins training for his young horses on his farm in Stockdale, Texas, is one of many conditioners who take advantage of the schooling race experience. He has six entered on Friday morning.

“Schooling races give these babies an idea of what to expect at the racetrack and what we need to work on before the trials,” said Sanchez. “Last year, we knew that El Camino CL was a fast horse, but he was nervous in his schooling race. He won it, but that experience really helped him.”

Trainer Wendy Garcia won the 2018 Mardi Gras Futurity with Guidry Pride II, also has six youngsters entered in Friday’s schooling races.

“We teach our babies to run straight and get them used to the starting gate,” said Garcia. “But there is still so much more for these young horses to learn. Breaking in company, adjusting from the sunlight to shade and noise from the crowd are just a few of the things they do not see at the farm. I appreciate Louisiana Downs running schooling races. Our horses learn from them and are more relaxed before they make their first start”.

Orlando Orozco, who was the leading trainer at Louisiana Downs in 2017 and currently has 40 horses in training, knows that the schooling races provide strong benefits. He has several 2-year-olds entered, beginning with JRS One Sweet Gator in the first heat of the day.

“It’s a big learning experience for young horses,” said Orozco. “I have six paid into the Mardi Gras, so going to the paddock, post parade and hooking up to the pony is something new to them. Every part of race-day preparation helps.”

Trey Ellis shares that most horsemen will know early on which horses have some behavior issues and will need more schooling than others.

“Every bit of the experience matters,” explained Ellis. “The walk to the saddling paddock, breaking from the gate and dealing with the noise all play a part. You know right away which of your horses have talent and which ones will need more work.”

Friday will be a big day for the trainers of these 2-year-olds, as well as Louisiana Downs starter Jimmy Cordell and his assistants. With his 15-year-tenure at Louisiana Downs, Cordell knows that the schooling races are just part of the steps that young horses must take to be successful on the racetrack.

“It all starts with morning work,” explained Cordell. “Beginning in the second week of the season, we offered 220 yard works out of the gate. Some horses had done their early training on a farm and others right here on the racetrack. Running fast is what comes naturally but adjusting to a starting gate and running against multiple horses requires practice.”

CLICK HERE for a list of horses entered for Friday's schooling races.

A complete program, courtesy Jumonville Farms and, with owners, sire and dam's and sale information (if applicable) will be posted on StallioneSearch later this week as well as copies made available at the racetrack.

Louisiana Downs will also offer schooling races for 2-year-olds paid into the Harrah’s Futurity on Friday, February 19.

Louisiana Downs Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

Through February 8, Vann Haywood, Kenneth Roberts, Sr. and Jose D. Barron top the trainer standings as each have saddled six winners. Last year’s leading conditioner Jose Carrizales has won five races and is tied for second with Rosendo Valdez, Jr. Following closely is Trey Ellis, who won both the Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs trainer titles in 2020. He has four wins since the meet began on January 23.

David Alvarez, who topped all Quarter Horse riders in 2020 with 111 wins, is off to a great start at Louisiana Downs with 12 victories. Arturo Alvarez is second with 8 wins and Juan Garcia, Jr. follows with seven trips to the winner’s circle. Ricardo Hernandez, Jr. and Gilbert Ortiz round out the top four jockeys; each have won six races.

Rosendo Valdez, who was honored as leading owner in the 2020 Evangeline Downs Quarter Horse season, tops the leaderboard in the owner standings with four wins. Ismael Ramirez, Kris Locklear and Pedro D. Barron are tied for second place with three wins each.

Louisiana Downs 2021 Quarter Horse Racing Season

The 46-day Quarter Horse meet began on Saturday, January 23 and continues through Wednesday, April 7 with a 1:00 pm (Central) post time for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Louisiana Downs has the distinction of hosting the first official futurity of the year, the $100,000-added Mardi Gras Futurity (RG2), which will take place on Saturday, March 27. Additional stakes include the $50,000-added Mardi Gras Derby, also on March 27 and the $75,000-added Harrah’s Futurity, which will be contested on April 3. For more information, visit the track’s website, Harrah’s Louisiana

About 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 sports and simulcast racing.

Courtesy Ses