The annual Louisiana Cup Day at Louisiana Downs will take place Saturday, Aug. 21. First post is 2:45 pm (Central) for the seven-race card which will feature six stakes for accredited Louisiana-breds with purses of $50,000 each.
The stakes action, which gets underway in the second race of the card, features a mix of multiple-stakes winning Louisiana champions and as well as a showcase for the rising stars of the Pelican state. Here is a preview of the contentious Louisiana Cup stakes.
Stakes action gets underway in the second race, the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies. Eight accredited 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies will compete at six furlongs.
Brittlyn Stable, Inc’s homebred Charged Temp makes her first start in Louisiana after breaking her maiden on July 10 at Monmouth Park and followed that with a sixth-place finish in the $75,000 Colleen B on the turf. Jose Camejo trains the daughter of Star Guitar, three-time Louisiana Stallion of the Year. She will break from the far outside post under 2020 leading Louisiana Downs jockey rider Joel Dominguez.
Also making her Louisiana debut will be Streak of Silver who won the $100,000 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity on July 10 at Lone Star Park. Owned by Carl Moore Management, LLC, the daughter of Graydar was bred in Louisiana by Larry Romero & Cradle Song Farm. Trainer Karen Jacks retains the riding services of Lindey Wade, who currently tops the jockey standings at Canterbury Park, to pilot the gray filly.
“She’s built like a 4-year-old gelding and has matured a lot,” said Jacks. “We think highly of this filly, who is classy and smart.”
Current Louisiana leading freshman sires will be well-represented in this feature with Gerald Bruno Jr.’s Free Like a Girl representing the state’s top ranked first-crop stallion El Deal. Trained by Chasey Deville Pomier, she will make her fifth start off a solid maiden-breaking score last month at Evangeline Downs.
Iron Fist, who ranks just below El Deal with four winners this year, has sired two entrants in the field: Iron Banner, trained by Brett Brinkman for owner Menard Thoroughbreds LLC and Buckley Bunny, bred and owned by Whispering Oaks Farm, LLC. Trainer Steve Flint was impressed with her victory on June 5 at Evangeline Downs.
“She’s tough like (tennis superstar) Serena Williams,” said Flint of Buckley Bunny. “She showed dominance in her training, so much so, that I ran her against the boys in her first out. She hit the gate, but still won on a muddy track!”
Diego Saenz has the return call aboard Buckley Bunny at odds of 6-1.
The first turf stakes of the card, the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew seven fillies and mares who will travel a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course.
Net a Bear, a 5-year-old filly by Awesome Bet out of the Eddington mare Edacious Reality, owned by Maximo Lamarche and Federico Deltoro, is the 3-2 morning line favorite. She is also a multiple-stakes winner for breeders Lora Pitre and Elaine Carroll with victories in the 2019 Elge Rasberry at Louisiana Downs and Louisiana Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds and most recently the $60,000 Opelousas Stakes at Evangeline Downs on July 2.
Trainer Allen Landry will give a leg up to Tim Thornton aboard the six-time winner who has earned $322,070 in 25 starts.
“I always remind people not to forget about Net a Bear,” stated Landry. “She is a quality mare who always puts on a good performance.”
Trainer Edward Johnston, who won the last two editions of the Distaff with Is Too reported that the daughter of Midshipman, who won seven races for Baronne Farms LLC, is retired and in foal. However, he looks forward to a good effort from Offspring for breeder/ owner Oak Tree Stable. The 5-year-old mare by Into Mischief won the Red Camelia at Fair Grounds on March 6 as well as the Louisiana Legends Turf Distaff, which was run off the turf on June 5. Diego Saenz will guide the 2-1 second choice. Offspring and Net a Bear have faced each other four times this year and are tied with two wins each.
“It’s tough when some of these races come off the turf as she is better on the grass,” said Johnston. “She’s a very smart mare and Diego and I have had quite a bit of success together.”
Recent Louisiana Downs winners Fort Polk and My Little Jen are also among the contenders in the Louisiana Cup Distaff, which will run as the third race on the card.
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The fourth race of the afternoon is the $50,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. A field of nine will compete at six furlongs on the main track.
Morning line favoritism goes to Norman Stables LLC True Deal, a colt by True Deal out of the Big Brown mare Hilarious Brown. He ran second in his Evangeline Downs debut on June 5 and won by three lengths in his second start one month later. Trainer Lonnie Briley teams with rider Joe Stokes for the colt’s first stakes appearance.
Whispering Hill Farms homebred Feisty Fist broke his maiden at first asking over a sloppy track on May 20 at Evangeline Downs. The gelded son of Iron First prepped for this with a bullet five furlong drill ten days ago and trainer Steve Flint is high on his juvenile.
“Winning on a sloppy track is one thing; that was a monsoon,” stated Flint. “He ran a very good race and with his pedigree, we know he can go further. His work (on August 6) was phenomenal. We look for a very good effort from him.”
The field also includes Autumns Strong Man, a colt by Strong Mandate, owned and bred by Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables, Inc. He closed for a victory here on July 13 in a $22,000 maiden special weight for trainer Gary Husak. Jockey Emanuel Nieves has the call and will break from post position four. Tambourine Star will make his second career start for Brittlyn Stable, Inc. after running a game second on June 20 at Monmouth Park. The son of Star Guitar is trained by Jose Camejo and will be ridden by Joel Dominguez.
Post time for the Louisiana Cup Juvenile will be 4:03 pm (Central).
The $50,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint promises to be a very exciting race on several levels. The six furlong main track feature attracted 11 notable Louisiana-bred sprinters, including the ageless and very popular Monte Man.
Still going strong as an 8-year-old, the son of Custom For Carlos, bred by Val Murrell, is a multiple-stakes winner was claimed for just $5,000 by Ivery Sisters Racing. He has returned for the past three runnings of the Sprint, following his victory in the 2018 running of the race. He ran third last year and returns to Louisiana Downs with a record of 17 wins from 48 starts and $728,723 in earnings. Trainer Ron Faucheaux marvels at the staying power of the veteran.
“He’s still very consistent and even though his numbers may have regressed, he still has so much fight in him,” said Faucheaux. “He ran a huge race at Fair Grounds on Champions Day and his recent races haven’t taken a lot out of him.”
Jockey Gerard Melancon, who won his 5,000th career win on June 10 at Evangeline Downs, will guide the bay gelding at odds of 7-2.
Louisiana native Faucheux, who has been training since 2009, has three additional entrants in the Sprint. Bertie’s Galaxy was the 2020 Louisiana Cup Spring runner-up for owner Allen Cassedy. The 5-year son of Greeley’s Galaxy won the $70,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint on June 5 at Evangeline Downs and an allowance prep three weeks later. Diego Saenz will ride.
“He won the Louisiana Legends very impressively and drew off to another nice win after that,” added Faucheaux. “I expect another good effort on Saturday.”
His other two entrants are Winalot Racing LLC’s Half Again, a full brother to Ours to Run, who will make his stakes debut under Juan Vargas and Afleet Ascent, owned by Lane Cortez.
Owner/trainer Allen Landry has a very capable sprinter in Chu Chu’s Legacy, a son of Bind, who won the 2020 Louisiana Cup Juvenile and was an impressive winner in the $70,000 Cheval over a sloppy track on June 5 at Evangeline Downs. Jockey Joe Stokes continues a very successful association with Landry and will break from post six.
Landry’s wife Sandra named the colt after Chu Perez who worked for the couple as a groom and passed away last year. The modest $4,000 Equine Sales Mixed Sale purchase enters the Sprint with earning of $176,350 in nine starts.
The $50,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted eleven runners going a mile and one-sixteenth over the Franks Turf Course. Several proven turf stakes winners are entered with a firm turf course expected for Saturday afternoon.
Carlea’s Dream, has been installed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Owner by Carl Moore Management, the 4-year-old son of Lea out of the Corinthian mare Beat The Street was bred by Time Will Tell LLC and has won two turf races this year in Texas. Trainer Karen Jacks looks forward to his debut at Louisiana Downs.
“He’s just like his name, a dream to train,” she said. “He loves the turf, like all horses sired by Lea. His only two bad efforts were races taken off the turf. Lindey Wade had two days off from Canterbury Park, so we are lucky he will come in to ride for us.”
Other contenders include defending champion Budro Talking who closed gamely under Joel Dominguez. Owned by Jack Randall the 6-year-old son of Tale of Ekati, gave his trainer, former jockey Keith Austin his first stakes win as a conditioner. Gerald Perron’s homebred Grand Luwegee, who won the 2020 Louisiana Champions Day Turf at Fair Grounds. Maga Man makes his Louisiana Downs debut for owner/breeder Whispering Oaks Farm LLC and conditioner Steve Flint. Trainer Ron Faucheax will saddle Allen Cassedy’s Mangelsen who has won three of his last four turf starts and will take on stakes company under rider Carlos Lozada.
The $50,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint will close out Louisiana Cup Day with a field of 11 accomplished fillies.
It will be a very emotional victory for defending for the defending champion, Snowball due to the tragic and untimely passing of owner Matt Jeffrey of Tin Roof Farms LLC. He was in Canada visiting his parents earlier this month when he was stricken with a heart attack and passed away at just the age of 45. Snowball was a cherished member of the family with Jeffrey proudly explaining that his 8-year-old daughter Payton came up with her name as they spotted her at the 2017 Equine Sale of Louisiana Open Yearling Sale.
The daughter of Apriority has become an accomplished sprinter for trainer Sam Breaux, who has saddled the striking gray mare in 30 career starts. She added a sixth victory on May 14, winning the Evangeline Downs Distaff. Her career bankroll stands at $311,780. Regular rider Diego Saenz will ride the 3-1 favorite from post ten.
“This will be a very emotional race for his family,” said Breaux. “Matt loved this horse. I wasn’t sure of running her due to the passing of Matt, but his wife, Pharaby, gave her blessing. ”
Our Lost Love will return for trainer Joey Foster. Bred and Tri-Star Racing LLC. The 4-year-old daughter of Half Ours is just shy of the $300,000 earnings mark with six wins from 16 starts. Named 2020 Louisiana Thoroughbred 3-Year-old Filly of the Year, she will break just inside of Snowball with Emanuel Nieves in the saddle.
“She’s happy and training well,” said Foster. “This is such a special filly to us; she never misses a check and shows up every time we lead her over.”
Brittlyn Stable LLC’s Crescentcitypretty brings a two-race win streak into the Filly and Mare Sprint. Joel Dominguez has the call aboard the 5-year-old Bernardini mare, who is trained by Jose Camejo. Whispering Hill Farm LLC’s QuikFast Nhurry defeated Snowball on Louisiana Premier Day at Delta Downs and is a strong contender for trainer Steve Flint and rider Gerard Melancon.
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