Memorial Service for Trainer Dana Whited Set for Saturday, September 22

Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is saddened to confirm the passing of trainer Dana Whited. Her sister, Gina Nagy Wilson confirmed that Whited died on Friday, September 14 from heart failure.


The 52 year-old horsewoman was born in Dodge City, Kansas and has been a respected member of the Louisiana racing industry since 2012. According to Equibase statistics, Whited saddled 851 horses, with a record of  94 win; 107seconds and 102 thirds. She won 18 races this year on the Louisiana circuit.


A memorial service will be held in the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs winner’s circle this Saturday, September 22 at 7:00 pm. The public is invited to pay their respects.


“Dana was so much more than a trainer; she was a friend to everyone,” said Chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk. “This was a shock for our racing community as Dana looked out for so many people and served as a mentor to anyone she could help.  She will be greatly missed.”


John Valene, Age 100, Passes


John Valene, age 100 of Deephaven, Minnesota passed away at home, surrounded by family, on Tuesday afternoon, August 21, 2018. He served in the US Army Air Force during WWII. John was a true entrepreneur and founded his first business in 1947 and was President and Owner of RPP, Inc.

He was an avid horseman breeding and owning many successful Louisiana-bred thoroughbreds with his son Murray under the banner of Valene Farms, a venture the pair started in 1962. In 2000 Valene Farms was the Louisiana TOBA Breeder of the year. Notable Louisiana-bred runners from the Valene Farms stables include Asta’s Foxy Lady, Doctor Mike, Ide Like A Double (Louisiana Bred Champion), Hisse, Autobeacat (Louisiana Bred Champion), Platinum Lady, and G2 Adirondack Stakes winner Designer Legs (Louisiana Bred Champion). Designer Legs brought Louisiana-breds to the national stage once again competing in the 2013 Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes.

Survivors include his children, Murray Valene (Geraldine) of New Orleans, LA, Valerie Valene (Michael Pukas) of Gypsum, CO, Scott Valene (Patrice) of Long Lake; 8 grandchildren, Kym Valene of New Orleans, Kari (Sean) Dart of Settle, Brandon Valene of Seattle, Courtney (Ari) Low of Wayzata; McKenna, Connor, Riley and Jack Valene, all of Long Lake; 5 great- grandchildren, Samantha and Jesse Dart, Ethan, Alexandra and Chase Low; nephew, Robert (Angilea) McNae of Orono. He was preceded in death by his wife Sally, his daughter Marjorie Valene Grossman, his brothers Jacob, Leo & Sam, & his sisters Rose, Helen & Mary. A special thank you to his care team: Missy, Diana, Alex and especially Barb Cummings-Ward. A gathering to honor John and celebrate his life will be held from 4:00PM – 7:00PM, Monday, August 27, 2018, at David Lee Funeral Home, 1220 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, 55391. David Lee Funeral Home Wayzata 952-473-5577

Funeral Services for Former LQHBA President Paul Ryder Set Saturday

Funeral services for former LQHBA President Paul Ryder are set Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Pineville, Louisiana
© Courtesy Gallagher Funeral Home


PINEVILLE, LA—AUGUST 10, 2018—Funeral services are set Saturday for Louisiana horseman Paul Rudy Ryder, 85, who passed away Tuesday, August 7 at the at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Services for Mr. Ryder will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday (Aug 11) at First United Methodist Church in Pineville, Louisiana. Burial will follow in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Ball, Louisiana, under the direction of Gallagher Funeral Home and Crematory.

Visitation for Mr. Ryder will be on today (Aug 10) at Store Front Church in Pineville, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Mr. Paul Ryder was a loving father, grandfather, and brother. He was a graduate of Bolton High School and earned a degree in Animal Husbandry at LSU. After graduating from college he enlisted and proudly served his country in the United States Army.

Mr. Ryder was one of the founding members of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association, served as President of the LQHBA, and was employed there as the out of state mare inspector until his passing.

He was a very accomplished RCA Rodeo cowboy as a bareback rider, bull rider, and bulldogger. Mr. Ryder owned and operated Waddle Inn and Grill and Poor Paul’s Steakhouse for many years as well as worked with Western Tact Store at Dominic’s. He also owned the first salad bar in Rapides Parish and the second steakhouse in Louisiana to sell Dry Aged Prime Beef. He will forever be missed by those that loved and knew him.

He is preceded in death by his parents A.L. Ryder and Ruby Paul Ryder and his brother Firal Ryder.

Mr. Ryder is survived by his sons, Brandon Kurt Ryder (Karla) of Alexandria, Bryan Kent Ryder (Leila) of Pineville and Stacey Blake Ryder (Rhonda) of Deville; daughter, Lisa Ryder Buckley (Thomas) of New Iberia; sister Jacquelyn Ryder Mertens of Pineville; 17 grandchildren; and 11 great – grandchildren; and a host of other family and friends.

Pallbearers honored to serve are Stacey Ryder, Brandon Ryder, Preston Ryder, Casey Ryder, Gilliam Guillot, and Scott Michiels. Honorary Pallbearers are Tony Patterson, Mike Hayes, Wayne Roberson, Lynn Richard, Donnie Mattheson, Don Kelley, Sonny Harris, Gerald McCrea, Rick Bouttee, Brad Michiels, and Robert Parker.

Obituary, David Beard

David Beard

February 10, 1936 – June 22, 2018

David Beard was a self-made man, who was proud of family, friends and employees who helped him achieve his success.  He was the President and Leader of Great American Foods that always stayed true to the lessons he learned as a child about pride and hard work, which helped him become the successful entrepreneur many came to respect and love.  David led the company and his employees through over 40 years of a successful business and provided careers for many employees an opportunity of a first job for so many more. He opened his first restaurant, David Beard’s Catfish Village, in 1969 on Highway 155 near Ore City, and the rest was history. He oversaw multiple restaurant concepts, food manufacturing, warehouse and logistical endeavours over the years.  David learned his skills, not from school, but from hard work, determination and putting quality above all else.  He was a builder and cattleman for many years and owned thoroughbred racehorses.  He was a faithful and passionate Christian man that would share his beliefs with you as well as his opinion.  David’s integrity in his business and personal life was an example to anyone who knew him.

A member of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association, he raced many successful Louisiana breds. His most successful Louisiana bred runner was Witt Ante who was selected Champion Accredited Louisiana Bred 2-Year-Old Colt or Gelding as a juvenile in 2002 and 2004 Champion Accredited Louisiana Bred Older Male. While running from ages 2 to 8, Witt Ante had a lifetime record of 59-10-9-5 with lifetime earnings of $619,420, including 6 stakes victories and placing in another 8 stakes contests.

David was preceded in death by his parents, Dayton and Pauline Beard; his sisters, Margrey Sullivan, Kathleen Hall, and Bonnie Wood; his brother, Bruce Beard; and sisters-in-law, Mary Lou Berry and Ann Morgan.  He is survived by his wife, Margie Durham-Beard; his daughters, Kathy Weeks and husband Jason, Dana Hitchcock, De-Ann “Mikki” Parrish and husband Fred, and Denise Beard; grandchildren, Tonya Spencer, Colt Spencer and wife Victoria, Fredi Parrish, Tanner Gibson, Taylor Gibson, Lane Hitchcock, Gavin Weeks and Madison Weeks; great-grandchildren, Lukas Enloe, Haven Benge, Logan Benge, Haley Benge, Colt Spencer Cohen Spencer; brother, Jerry Beard; sister, Lynda Beard-Davis and husband Billy Paul Davis; sister-in-law, Martha Sue Martin and her husband Ken; brothers-in-law, Jerry Berry and Wayne Morgan; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Monday, June 25, 2018 at the Ore City Church of Christ. Burial will follow at Coffeeville Cemetery, under the direction of Reeder-Davis Funeral Home. There will be a time of visitation from Noon until 1:30 p.m. Monday at the church.

The family wishes to thank everyone for all of your loving support and prayers during our time of sorrow. We also respectfully request, in lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Obituary: Shantel Lanerie

Shantel Lanerie

June 01, 1976 – June 22, 2018

CARENCRO ~ Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 28, 2018 at an 11:00 a.m. Liturgy of the Word in Evangeline Memorial Gardens Chapel in Carencro for Shantel Lanerie, age 42, the former Shantel Hebert, who passed away Friday, June 22, 2018 at Norton Women’s and Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.

Interment will be in Evangeline Memorial Gardens in Carencro. The Rev. Gary Schexnayder will officiate at the services.

Musical selections will be provided by Charlotte Jagneaux, accompanied by Phyllis Simar on the organ. The songs will be You Will Always Be A Child In My Eyes, Hail Mary Gentle Woman, Isaiah 49, and Wind Beneath my Wings.

Shantel was a native of Cecilia and had been a resident of Louisville, KY for the past 15 years. She was a 1994 graduate of Cecilia High School and was a 13-year dance student at Liz Trahan School of Dance. She was a devoted wife, loving mother, adored daughter and beloved friend.

Survivors include her loving husband of 21 years, Corey Lanerie of Louisville, KY; one daughter, Brittlyn Lanerie; her parents, Riley Hebert and the former Katherine Guilbeau; one brother, Rylan Hebert; one niece, Brooklyn Hebert; her mother-in-law & father-in-law, Debbie and Gerald Lanerie; and one godchild, Ashton Theriot.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, John Guilbeau and the former Nora Belle Guidry; and her paternal grandparents, Justin Hebert and the former Gladys Robin.

A rosary will be prayed at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home.

The family requests that visiting hours be observed from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Wednesday and will continue from 8:00 a.m. until service time on Thursday.

Pallbearers will be Riley Hebert, Rylan Hebert, John L. Guilbeau, Earl Estilette, Robby Albarado and Gerald Lanerie. Honorary pallbearer will be Keith Estilette.

Melancon Funeral Home, Evangeline Memorial Gardens Chapel, 4117 N. University Ave., Carencro, (337) 896-3232, is in charge of arrangements.



VisitationWednesday, June 27, 2018
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Melancon Funeral Home Chapel
4117 N. University Ave.
Carencro, Louisiana 70520Get Directions on Google Maps


RosaryWednesday, June 27, 2018
7:00 PM

Melancon Funeral Home Chapel
4117 N. University Ave.
Carencro, Louisiana 70520Get Directions on Google Maps


VisitationThursday, June 28, 2018
9:00 AM

Melancon Funeral Home Chapel
4117 N. University Ave.
Carencro, Louisiana 70520Get Directions on Google Maps


Liturgy of the WordThursday, June 28, 2018
11:00 AM

Melancon Funeral Home Chapel
4117 N. University Ave.
Carencro, Louisiana 70520Get Directions on Google Maps

Shantel Lanerie, 42, Dies; Wife Of Jockey Corey Lanerie, Mother Of Brittlyn, Waged Courageous Battle Against Cancer

Corey and Shantel Lanerie, with their daughter Brittlyn, at the Survivors Parade on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs

Shantel Lanerie, the beloved wife of Churchill Downs’ 15-time champion jockey Corey Lanerie and devoted mother of their 10-year-old daughter Brittlyn, passed away late Friday afternoon at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. She was 42.

Shantel Lanerie was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer earlier this year and had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments to battle the disease. She was admitted to the hospital Thursday to treat what was diagnosed as sepsis – a severe infection – and underwent emergency surgery that evening, according to family friend Gary Palmisano. Sadly, her courageous fight ended Friday.

Raised in Cecilia, La., Shantel was the daughter of a trainer and met her future husband when he began riding at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La. in 1991. They were married April 11, 1997.

After dominating the Texas and Louisiana horse racing circuits, Corey and his wife moved to Kentucky in the spring of 2005 and took up residence in Louisville’s Lake Forest community.

While watching her husband ride, Shantel held various positions at the track primarily before their only daughter Brittlyn was born in early 2008. She worked as a tab writer with the clocker at Lone Star Park, a mutuel clerk at Fair Grounds and a photographer’s assistant at Churchill Downs.

As Corey’s success reached new heights with the first of 15 Churchill Downs riding titles at the 2012 spring meet, Shantel and Brittlyn were often spotted and recognized in the Churchill Downs’ winner’s circle while sporting wide smiles and the most stylish fashion.

Additionally, Shantel was famously known around the racetrack for her hospitality and delicious Cajun cooking as she often whipped up memorable meals for family and friends after the races and on “dark days” at their Louisville home.

“The Churchill Downs family is devastated by the sudden passing of Shantel Lanerie,” said Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery. “This is a very sad day. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Corey, Brittlyn, family members and numerous friends as they endure this extremely difficult time. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”

After being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, Shantel was one of 144 women that walked in the always-stirring Survivors Parade on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs and a video that told her story was shown throughout Churchill Downs on the Big Board.

Jockeys wore pink “Fight With Shantel” bands around their legs on Kentucky Oaks Day. Those bands somberly returned during Friday’s racing program at Churchill Downs.

In addition to Corey and Brittlyn, Shantel is survived by her mother and father, Katie and Riley Hebert; brother Rylan Hebert; and mother-in-law and and father-in-law Debbie and Gerald Lanerie.

At the time of Shantel’s passing, the family was surrounded by members of the Churchill Downs jockey colony, including Robby Albarado, Brian Hernandez Jr., Ricardo Santana Jr., Julien Leparoux and Samuel Camacho Jr.

A memorial service in Louisville and funeral in Louisiana is pending.

Obituary: Billy Cannon

Billy Cannon passed away peacefully in his home early Sunday morning, May 20, 2018, LSU announced. He was 80 years old.

A Baton Rouge native, Cannon was the winner of the 1959 Heisman Trophy as a halfback, and led the Tigers to the 1958 national championship. He was a longtime member of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Assoc.

He was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He was named LSU Alumnus of the Year in 2010.

“There may be no other figure in LSU sports who was more beloved and revered,” LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva said. “His loss will be felt across the world today. The LSU family mourns with the Cannon family. He will always be a Tiger and will always be in our memories.”

“To say that Billy Cannon was legendary is an understatement,” LSU President Dr. F. King Alexander said. “His talent catapulted LSU Athletics into the national limelight, but more than that, he had unwavering commitment to his alma mater. He will forever remain a part of the LSU legacy throughout the nation.”

A private ceremony for Cannon is planned for early this week, according to LSU Athletics. Details for a public remembrance will also be announced.

The Cannon family asks that donations be made to Johnny Robinson’s Boys Home and the Tiger Athletic Foundation Billy Cannon Endowed Scholarship in lieu of flowers.

“Billy Cannon was LSU football through and through. He was a legend. He will be missed and never forgotten,” LSU football head coach Ed Orgeron said.

Cannon Family statement:

“Today is profoundly sad for all of us. We know the thoughts and prayers of so many who were touched by my father’s life are with him and with us. There are no words to express how grateful we are for the outpouring of support from all over the country. It is overwhelming and comforting.”

“LSU meant more to our dad than anyone could ever know. It wasn’t the awards or the acknowledgements on the football field. It was always the love of the LSU family that meant the world to him and to all of us. There is simply no other place on earth where so many come together to love and support their own like LSU. His life was intertwined with the purple and gold, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Obituary: Dr. Sharon (Young) Buras

Dr. Sharon Young Buras, RN, CRNA, CNS, MSN, DSN, a retired Certified Nurse Anesthetist, passed away on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at home with her family by her side.

Sharon received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Southeast Louisiana University, her certificate in Anesthesia for Nurses from Charity Hospital New Orleans School of Anesthesia for Nurses, her Masters of Science in Nursing degree in Psychiatric and Community Mental Health Nursing from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, and her Doctorate of Science in Nursing degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing. She practiced Nurse Anesthesia as a member of the faculty of the Charity Hospital School of Anesthesia for Nurses. In addition, Sharon, as a Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Practitioner, also counseled children with behavioral issues in her own private practice.

Outside of her career in nursing, Sharon was a successful wife, mother, grandmother, and a very accomplished horseman. She was a rodeo rider as a youth, with quarter horse pole bending her specialty, and later a successful owner and breeder of thoroughbred race horses, winning races at Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, and Evangeline Downs.

She was a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Sharon loved going to the beach, and spending time there with her family and grandchildren. She was also a dedicated cruise boat rider, cruising several times each year with her family and friends.

She is survived by her husband of 39 years, Floyd A Buras, Jr., her son, Floyd A Buras, III and his wife, Shelle Pullen Buras, and by her two granddaughters, Ella Buras and Joslyn Buras. Sharon was the daughter of the late Samuel Leslie Young and Bonnie Lou Bryant Young, and the sister of Samuel Young, Jr., Scott Young, Steve Young, Sloan Young, and the late Susan Young.

Services will be at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd in New Orleans, on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, with visitation at 11:00 am and Catholic Mass following at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Sharon’s GoFundMe account to help with her final expenses. To view and sign the family guestbook please visit

Funeral Home
Lake Lawn Met Funeral Home
5100 PONTCHARTRAIN BLVD New Orleans, LA 70124
(504) 486-6331

Obituary: Claude P. Williams


Claude P. Williams

November 3, 1935 – March 24, 2018


Long time thoroughbred industry professional Claude P. Williams, son of the late Hazel P. and Dempsey D. Williams Jr.,  passed away at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge Saturday March 24, after a brain injury suffered in a fall earlier in the week. He was 82.

Williams started his thoroughbred career as a freelance journalist for the Daily Racing Form in 1965.  He was a chart caller for the Daily Racing Form for 10 years, becoming a staff columnist until 1981.  He then took the job as manager of Franks Farms in Shreveport, Louisiana until 1983.

Williams purchased Louisiana Horse magazine from the late Jack Lohman in 1984 and was editor and publisher from 1984 to 1988 when his son, the late Kyle Williams, became editor.

In March of 1988, Williams became a state steward for the Louisiana Racing Commission. In November of 1989, he was appointed Executive Director of the Louisiana Racing Commission by Governor Buddy Roemer, a position he held through September of 1991.

From there he moved to Alabama to be Executive Secretary of the Birmingham Racing Commission.  He retired from that position in December of 2003. In retirement, he continued his interest in the thoroughbred industry as an author.

Service is at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at Westwood Presbyterian Church, Dothan, Alabama.

Survivors include his wife Rosemary Williams of  Dothan, Alabama; Son Keith Williams of Ponchatoula, Louisiana; Daughter Kelly Williams Odom of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; Step Son Richard Glaze of Warrior, Alabama; Step Son Alan Glaze of Hoover, Alabama; Brother Raymond L. Williams, of  Gulf Breeze, Florida; Ex-wife, Martha Williams of Springfield, Louisiana; 8 Grandchildren; 5 Great Grandchildren, and  4 Step Grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by son Kyle T. Williams, brother Lawrie G. Williams and  brother Dempsey D. Williams, III.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, Baptist Children’s Homes of Alabama or  Westwood Presbyterian Church of Dothan, Alabama.

Obituary: Leandrus James “Lee” Young

November 13, 1937  –  March 19, 2018

Leandrus “Lee” James  Young, age 80, a native of Church Point, LA and a resident of Grand Coteau, LA, passed away on Monday, March 19, 2018 at his residence surrounded by his family.

Lee was the owner and operator of Indian Hills Country Club in Opelousas for the past eight years. He enjoyed going daily to visit the members and to spend time with his family. He also was a parishioner of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Grand Coteau for many years.

Lee was well-known as a horse trainer throughout his life. In the years 1969, 1971, and 1973 he was awarded “Top Racing Horse Trainer” in the nation and then in 1968, 1972 and 1974 he was awarded second “Top Racing Horse Trainer” in the nation. In 2013, Lee’s passion and talent for training racehorses earned him the “Horse and Harmony Award”.

He was survived by his wife of 60 years, Shirley Leger Young of Grand Coteau, LA; his sons, Marty Young of Houston, TX; Troy Young of Opelousas, LA; his daughters, Lea Ann Bullara and husband, Dean, of Opelousas, LA and Shirlene Young of Lafayette, LA; his brothers, Ronald Young and wife, Annette, of Houston, TX; Sherman Young and wife, Nancy, of Church Point, LA; his sisters, Nelda Turner and husband, Bendal, of Church Point, LA and Peggy Baker and husband, Mike, of Scott, LA. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Family and friends are invited to sign and view the online guestbook at