News - Racing October  26, 2021

Ivan James Rallies to Win $194,810 Firecracker Derby

Ivan James (#10) runs down Tlc Dale in the $194,810 Firecracker Derby Friday night at Delta Downs.

© Coady Photography

VINTON, LA—JULY 1, 2016—Graded stakes winner Ivan James rallied to defeat Tlc Dale by a neck Friday night in the $194,810 Firecracker Derby at Delta Downs. Shez A Hot Valentine finished half-a-length back in the show position.

Ridden by jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr., Ivan James completed the 400 yards in a quick :19.352 seconds to earn a 103-speed index. Trainer Elpidio Luna, Jr. saddled the son of multiple stakes sire Ivory James to his fourth win in eight career starts.

A Texas home-bred for owner/breeder Jorge Meraz, Ivan James picked up $97,405 for the Firecracker win to become his sire's leading money earner with $395,817 in the bank. Last year's Sam Houston Futurity(G2) winner is out of the Dashin Bye mare First Dashin Bye. He was also third in Grade 2 Firecracker Futurity at 2.

The winning connections of Ivan James accept the Firecracker Derby stakes trophy Friday night at Delta Downs. © Coady Photography
Tlc Dale came into the June 10th Firecracker Derby trials off a win in the Grade 3 $191,000 Sam Houston Derby. The son of leading second crop sire The Louisiana Cartel was the Firecracker Derby fastest qualifier. He dueled early in the final just missing to settle for a second place payoff worth $33,118.

The bay gelding is a homebred for owner Rogelio Garza from the Okey Dokey Dale mare Hallies Dale. Adrian Huitron trains with Manuel Gutierrez getting the riding assignment aboard the $130,235 money earner.

Also a stakes winner, Shez A Hot Valentine races for owner Jaime Flores and trainer Homar Garza. Ron Hanna bred the Walk Thru Fire filly in California from the Chicks A Blazin mare Double Down Baby. Ridden by John Hamilton, the gray filly earned $19,481 to boost her career total to $98,228.

Sent to the gate at odds of 8-1, Ivan James paid $18 to win, $6.40 to place and $4.20 to show. Tlc Dale was worth $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show. Shez a Hot Valentine returned $2.80 to show.

First Fancy Prize, Brave Heart Won, Slick Melody, Not Perry Pretty, King Brett, Ricky Rockstar and Mr Joe Perry completed the field.

Delta Downs will wrap up its next-to-last week of racing on Saturday night with another 10-race program that begins at 6:15 pm. The featured race will be the $271,950 Firecracker FuturityG2).

For more information about the upcoming season visit the track’s website at or on the Facebook page, ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.

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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.

Courtesy Ses