‘Old School’ Handicapper Clements Wins Louisiana Downs Contest

by | 05.15.2019 | 11:42am
Rodney Clements, with check presented by Jennifer Sokol, Harrah's Louisiana Downs Racing Office Manager, and and Eric Halstrom, Vice President of Operations (Photo courtesy of Michael Greer/ Harrah's Louisiana Downs)

Opening day of the 2019  Harrah's Louisiana Downs Thoroughbred meet got under way in Bossier City, La., on Saturday, May 4. A packed house was on hand for the return of live racing and a full afternoon of Kentucky Derby festivities.

Rodney Clements of Shreveport, was hoping that his final contest entry in the Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest would snare him the $1,000 grand prize. However, he was one of countless horseplayers who selected Maximum Security to capture the Run for the Roses. After the lengthy steward's inquiry and subsequent disqualification, Clements headed home and had to wait until the following week before getting the call from Eric Halstrom, Harrah's Louisiana Downs Vice President of Operations, that he was the winner.

Clements was honored in between races on Saturday, May 11.

“It was pretty exciting and I enjoyed walking around carrying my big check,” said Clements. “I made it to the Winner's Circle without a horse!”

Harrah's Louisiana Downs is Clements'  “home track” and he enjoys watching and wagering with family members, including his wife and brother. Finding his personal game plan for picking winners has been an enjoyable challenge.

“I wanted to understand the mechanics of handicapping,” he explained. “I bought one book, which turned into two, then three and now I have a library. I have created my own 'matrix system' where I print my DRF early past performances and mark all over them. Maybe I am old school in that way, but I come to the track with my notebook.”

He had several longshots throughout the weekly contest that began Jan. 19. He selected Maximum Security to win the Florida Derby on March 30 at Gulfstream Park.

“He stuck out in my mind,” recalled Clements. “In the beginning stages of the race, it looked like he wasn't even paying attention; then he got going and left them in the dust.”

The Road to the Kentucky Derbv Handicapping Contest at Harrah's Louisiana Downs was open to the public. There was no entry fee and fans were asked to make selections on major stakes races as well as the key Kentucky Derby prep races. Each participant earned points with weekly and monthly prizes were awarded.

“The response from our horseplayers for this contest was outstanding,” said Halstrom. “We appreciate the loyalty of our local race fans and 2 we plan to be more active in the contest market.  A Caesars Entertainment contest is slated for late June with information forthcoming.”

Future contests and racing promotions will be well-received by Clements and other loyal Harrah's Louisiana Downs racing patrons.

“It was a great contest,” added Clements. “Offering free entry with daily, monthly and a grand prize gets a lot of people interested in racing. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Eric Halstrom and the marketing team to support horseplayers. Anything to bring new fans to horseracing has to be applauded!”

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