STRONG INCREASES IN HANDLE IN THE 2017 THOROUGHBRED MEET AT HARRAH’S LOUISANA DOWNS

Former Jockey Beverly Burress Posting Solid Stats as an Owner and Trainer

Bossier City, LA – The 2017 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs got underway on May 6.  Officials made some changes in the live race day schedule in hopes of boosting handle and have already noted significant increases.   

Through the first 16 days of racing, total handle on live races was up 23%. The change the in the racing schedule from Wednesdays-Saturdays in 2016 to a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday format in 2017 has been extremely successful and impactful.

“The change to Monday and Tuesday racing was made in an effort to avoid competition from the major racing that takes place on the weekends,” said Trent McIntosh, Louisiana Downs assistant general manager. “We were confident we would likely see an increase, but Mondays and Tuesdays have been even stronger than expected.”

One other very positive note is the escalation in field size in 2017.  With gains in handle on Monday and Tuesday as well as additional horses showing up in the entry box in 2017, Louisiana Downs will be adding one race per day each Monday and Tuesday for the remainder of the meet.

“We have seen increases in field size, horse population and handle, so beginning June 12, an additional race per day (on Monday and Tuesday) will be carded at Louisiana Downs,” added McIntosh. “To say it has been a fun and successful start to the meet would be an understatement.”

 

Beverly Burress Makes Smooth Transition from Jockey to Trainer at Louisiana Downs

Becoming a jockey was a dream come true for Beverly Burress, who was born in Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in Jones, Oklahoma. Both her dad, Bobby Burress and uncle, Billy, had ridden the Louisiana circuit before embarking on second careers as trainers.

She got her license in 2005 and rode for eight years. Burress had an excellent start as an apprentice, winning 29 races at Remington Park and 30 as a bug rider at Oaklawn Park.

“I am the all-time winningest female apprentice at Oaklawn,” said Burress.

Her second year in the saddle, 2006, was her best. She won 66 races and $1.1 million in purses.

However, after she lost her bug, she was injured in a spill, and had a difficult time getting named on horses.

“The injury was tough, and then I felt that I had to prove to trainers that I could still win races,” admitted Burress.

Burress continued to ride until 2013, piloting her final mount on September 22, 2013.  She had a pretty good reason for hanging up her tack​.​

“I was four months pregnant with my son,” she said.

Burress, 32, and her husband, jockey Juan Larrosa, are proud parents of Juan, Jr, who is now 3-years-old. She took out her training license in 2016, and saddled her first winner last November at Delta Downs. It is a true family affair as Juan rides and their son runs the shedrow, barefoot and beloved by the horses!

Burress is off to a very good start in 2017 and has won four races from seven starts at Louisiana Downs.  Plus, she is currently tied for leading owner with Patti Turner and Red Rose Racing.

“We are very hands-on,” said Burress of her stable. “Our day begins at 4:00 am and on race days, we don’t leave until after 6 pm, but we love doing what we do.”

And whereas many second or third generation horsemen and women might prefer to impart their own imprint on their training program, Burress loves getting input from her family members.  In addition to her dad, grandfather and uncle, her sister, Christy Hamilton began as an exercise rider and is now an assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. Christy was previously married to Thoroughbred rider, Quincy Hamilton.

“Horsemen of today don’t give enough credit to the horsemen of yesterday,” she stated. “I will always listen to my dad and uncle. Plus, I am training a horse for my 87-year-old grandfather, Billy “Chief” Burress! Gospel Glamour is doing well and will probably run by the end of the month.”

She and Juan own a home in Princeton, Louisiana, chosen for its good school system.  Burress has done well with her claiming and lower level allowance runners and would love to have a few stakes-caliber horses in her barn. However, she never wants to get so big that she is unable to work one-on-one with each runner.

“I think about renaming my stable one day and calling it the “Hands On Stable”, she said. “As each horse leaves the barn and heads to the racetrack, they would pass by me holding a bucket of white paint. I would leave a nice white handprint right on their butt!”

A hard worker with a wonderful sense of humor. Hard not to root for this affable horsewoman!

 

Calling All Horseplayers!

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs will host a regional qualifying event for the $2.5 million-est. National Horseplayers Championship. The contest will be held on Saturday, June 17.

This will be a live format, with win, place and show wagers on ten selected races. The entry fee is $300 ($150 entry fee, $150 live bankroll) and the contest will be limited to 100 entries, maximum two entries per person.  All participants must be NHC Tour Members and may join online. The fee of $50 offers valuable discounts for handicapping products and entry into the four FREE remaining online tournaments in 2017.

The top two finishers will win a berth in the world’s richest and most prestigious handicapping tournament which will take place in Las Vegas, February 8-11, 2018. In addition, both winners will receive a $400 travel voucher and hotel accommodations for four nights in Las Vegas.

Registration is now open. Players needing further information may contact Tracey Blevins (tblevins@caesars.com) or Michele Ravencraft (mravencraft@ntra.com).

Race Day Promotions

Fans in attendance on Saturday, June 10 will receive a $5.00 FREE BET which can be redeemed on Saturday, June 17.  Louisiana Downs offers value for racing fans each Wednesday with Dollar Day. They will be able to enjoy $1 hot dogs, $1 beer at the Paddock as well as $1 programs. Saturday’s weekly promotion is the Family Four Pack featuring four hot dogs, four sodas, a program, and a box seat for four at the affordable price of just $16.

 

The Total Rewards program is free for horseplayers. With the swipe of their card each Saturday, members will receive valuable incentives.  These include:

  • Play $250 or more to receive a 5X multiplier
  • Play $1,000 or more to receive a 7X multiplier
  • Play $5,000 or more to receive a 10X multiplier

Participant’s multiplier cannot exceed a total balance of more than one hundred thousand (100,000) Reward Credits during one promotional day after the multiplier is applied.

 

Post Times and Stakes Schedule

Live racing will be conducted Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Saturday with a 3:15 p.m. (Central) post time through September 27.

The 84-day meet will include 14 stakes highlighted by two major events, Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday, August 5 and Super Derby Day on Saturday, September 9.  To see a complete list of the 2017 Thoroughbred stakes schedule, click here.

About Harrah’s 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.

For further information, please contact:

Trent McIntosh  |  Assistant General Manager
318-752-6980
8000 East Texas Street | Bossier City, LA 71111
www.caesars.com