An excellent edition of Louisiana Cup Day at Harrah's Louisiana Downs took place on Saturday, August 3. The card featured seven stakes and purses of $420,000, highlighted by a very competitive running of the $60,000 Super Derby Prelude.
The stakes for 3-year-olds at the distance of a mile and one-sixteenth attracted seven with the top four earning a berth to the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby on Saturday, September 7, will all fees waived.
Leader of Men, a son of War Front, out of the Uaccounted For mare Refugee, had won his last three races for Wampole Racing LLC. The half-brother to Hoppertunity made his stakes debut in the Prelude, and his trainer Jodie Hodges was confident that the bay gelding was primed for a big effort. With Hector Del-Cid in the irons, Leader of Men sat off the pace, advancing steadily to overtake Trevilion by a margin of one-length. His final time for the Kentucky-bred, over the fast main track, was 1:45.96.
“He's finally starting to grown up,” said Hodges. “He's a May 28th baby; he's just a kid. I cannot thank Kevin Wampole for his support and buying great racehorses.”
This was the first stakes win for each of the connections and owner Kevin Wampole was thrilled with the performance of his 3-year-old.
“I've watched his races, and knew he could run,” said Wampole. “But he didn't know how to run. So I asked my wife if I could buy him and she said okay! He's only going to get better. This was my first stakes race; I've been buying quality horses for six years; that's what will get you here.”
Wampole and his wife, Amy, live in Haughton, Louisiana.
“It was just one of those moments when you realize you have a diamond in the rough,” said Amy. “My husband has always loved racing; so I said why not! We've been married 26 years and this has been fun for us.”
Trevilion, owned by Tigertail Ranch, ran second for trainer Victor Arceneaux and rider Diego Saenz, followed by Paynt Battle with Thomas Pompell up for Norman Stables, LLC. Rotation stumbled out of the gate, almost unseating jockey Richard Eramia, but battled to run fourth and clinch the fourth berth to the Super Derby. Fredonian ran fifth, followed by Blessed Again.
Roy W. Cobb's homebred Mr Money Bags, the morning-line choice was scratched on Saturday morning;
“He didn't seem right,” said trainer Mike Neatherlin. “Had a tummy ache, so we didn't want to take any chances.”
Leader of Men earned $36,000 and will advance to the Super Derby in pursuit of his fifth win.
The first feature of the afternoon was the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. A field of eight competed at six furlongs on the main track.
Scotty Boy, owned and trained by Ronnie P. Ward, earned his first stakes win in three starts. The gelded son of Fast Anna broke his maiden in May at Evangeline Downs and followed that with a fourth-place finish in the D. S. Shine on July 6. Regular rider Alexander Castillo guided him from off the pace, clearing the field in 1.11.46 over a fast main track.
“We train him here and were looking forward to running him at Louisiana Downs,” said Ward. “I told Alexander not to get caught up in the early speed. It was great to win this with and share it with his breeder, Fred Willis.”
Pickens, a colt by Goldencents, ran second for owners William and Corinne Heiligbrodt was second under Richard Eramia, followed by Papa's Issac and Luckenbacker.
Sent off at odds of 10-1, Scotty Boy rewarded his supporters with a win payout of $21. With today's winner's share of $30,000, his record stands at two wins from three starts and earnings of $51,750.
Next up on the card was the running of the $50,000 Louisiana Sprint with a field of seven. Defending champion Monte Man was sent off as the heavy favorite, but the victory went to Rodney L. Verret's Laughingsaintssong.
Monte Man, owned by Ivery Sisters Racing, stumbled out of the gate, but rider Colby Hernandez had clear sailing aboard Laughingsaintssong, who was making his first start at Louisiana Downs for conditioner Allen Landry. He drew clear from the far outside post, winning the six furlong sprint in 1:10.07, a margin of 5 ½ lengths over State Treasurer.
“He ran a great allowance race at Evangeline last month,” said Landry. “We didn't want to change a thing and we had been pointing for this for a while.”
Double Barrel Man ran third, and Monte Man, owned by Ivery Sisters Racing and trained by Ron Faucheux, ran fourth. Honored as Louisiana Bred Horse of the Year in 2018, the bay gelding is now just $6,000 shy of the half-million earnings mark.
Laughingsaintssong ($22.60) is bred by Jumonville Farms, one of the top Quarter Horse breeders in Louisiana. J.E. Jumonville was inducted into the LQHBA Hall of Fame in March.
Seven accredited Louisiana-bred fillies and mares took to the Franks Turf Course for the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff. It shaped up to be another test between defending champion Bermuda Star and Is Too, and the two talented mares did not disappoint.
The victory went to Is Too, a 4-year-old daughter of Midshipman, owned by Barrone Farms LLC, and rider Colby Hernandez in a final time of 1:42.21.
Assistant trainer Bobby Felks, saddled for trainer Ed Johnston and had tremendous admiration for the talented mare.
“We campaigned Pacific Pink (earner of over $730,000) and she was so easy,” said Felks. 'This mare can be kind of mean and had never run here before. She's better on the turf that main track; ran a very good race today.”
Is Too ($3.40) won her sixth race from 15 starts and has now won $187.40. Felks said that she may take a break until Fair Grounds.
Bermuda Star, owned by Brittlyn Stable, Inc. completed the exacta with Diego Saenz aboard, followed by Bella Cajun and Thegrayspider.
A very competitive field of 12 accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies put pm a good show in the six-furlong $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies.
First U Make Aroux ($8.60) was a debut winner for conditioner Justin Jeansonne. Owned by Cheryl and Dennis Dendy, the filly by Due Date scored on July 17 at Evangeline Downs. She made her stakes forway under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who flew in this morning from Florida.
“I watched her race and talked to the trainer earlier today,” said Prado. “It looked like she was a nice filly, so I just tried to keep her clear.”
She responded well, taking the lead at the quarter-pole and drawing off to a 2 ¼ length lead in 1:12.40.
Sarah's Passion, winner of the filly's division of the $75,000 D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity on July 5 at Evangeline Downs, ran second for trainer Ricky Courville. Joe G's was next and Schiff's Corner completed the superfecta.
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, First U Make Aroux paid $8.80. The undefeated filly will likely make her next start at Delta Downs, according to Jeansomme.
The $50,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted nine runners going a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course. It was the second time on the card that a defending champion was denied as Theoryintopractice, who ran third to In the Navy in the $75,000 Louisiana Legends Turf at Evangeline Downs, ran down his rival in the final strides.
Owned by Courtney Barousse and trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Into Mischief ran fourth in the 2018 edition of this race.
With a confident ride from Richard Eramia, the bay son of Into Mischief tracked In The Navy and early pacesetter In a Cowboy Too through early fractions of 22.00; 46.68 and 1:10.27. He made his move at the top of the stretch, drawing even with In the Navy and winning by a neck. The final time, over a firm turf course, was 1:40.87.
“I want to thank Steve, his assistant Ashley (Trosclair) and Richard,” said Barousse. “As an owner, I just pay the bills; they do all the work to get these wins.”
In the Navy, owned by Kendel D. Standlee, finished second for trainer Scott Gelner. The 5-year-old son of Midshipman was ridden by Diego Saenz.
Dynamite Dan closed for third under Joel Dominguez with Curlins on Fire completing the superfecta.
Theoryintopractice, who ran fourth in the 2018 edition of this race, has now won 12 of his 35 career efforts, compiling a bankroll of $273,415.
Eden Grey's Kitten, is the high earner in the field and will make his 40th career start. The son of Kitten's Joy is now trained by Steve Flint and will break from the rail under Gerard Melancon.
The $50,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint closed out Louisiana Cup Day with a field of eight distaffers competing at the distance of six furlongs.
It was the 7-year-old Diamond Cutter, who sprinted home like young filly, who drew off convincingly for World War IV Racing crossing the wire in 1:10.96. Trained by Dwight Viator and ridden to victory by Joel Dominguez, the mare by Salute the Sarge was making her 38th career start.
“She is such a game mare,” said Viator. “Joel put a great ride on her.”
Tensas Thought was second, followed by Galaxy Thirtysix and Play Unified. The third defending champion on the card, P Boo, faded to eighth.
Diamond Cutter, at odds of 10-1, paid $23.00 for the win. She increased her bankroll to $345,625.
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