News - Headlines May  17, 2024

Mardi Gras Derby, Oaks Headline Saturday's Closing-Day Program at Louisiana Downs

Fastest qualifier Todalu My Darlin will head the $104,708 Mardi Gras Oaks on Saturday at Louisiana Downs.

Ann Switalski Photography


BOSSIER CITY, LA–MARCH 28, 2023–On Saturday, Louisiana Downs will bring down the curtain on its 2023 winter Quarter Horse meet with a stakes tripleheader.

Saturday's richest race, the 400-yard, $104,708 Mardi Gras Oaks (R) for Louisiana-bred sophomore fillies has drawn a field of 10, topped by fastest qualifier and 3-1 morning-line favorite Todalu My Darlin. A sorrel daughter of the Jet Black Patriot stallion You Drive I Fly trained by Robi Meche for owner Derrick Ferguson, Todalu My Darlin is coming off of a one-length victory in the second of two Mardi Gras Oaks trials on March 11.

Todalu My Darlin was an $8,000 purchase at the 2021 LQHBA Yearling Sale. The filly drew post 2 and will be ridden by Eleazar Hernandez.

Other contenders include Jesus Eden Garza's JEG Fascination, a homebred daughter of Freighttrain B trained by Jose R. Espinosa and a multiple graded stakes qualifier last year. JEG Fascination has earned $98,031 from nine starts, and the sorrel filly qualified to four futurities, including the July 16, $744,000 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) at Delta Downs.

JEG Fascination drew post 7 and will be ridden by Luis Vivanco.

Also on Saturday, 10 Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds are scheduled to match strides in the 400-yard, $104,332 Mardi Gras Derby (R).

Fausto G. Mendoza's Five Bar Jess Cartel, a son of Five Bar Cartel trained by Joel Huitron and a stakes winner during the Evangeline Downs fall meet, drew post 5 and will be ridden by Ubaldo Luna. The second-fastest qualifier, the colt ended his juvenile campaign with a neck victory in the December 17, $50,000 LQHBA Million Juvenile Invitational (R) stakes for state-bred 2-year-olds.

Saturday's stakes lineup at Louisiana Downs includes the 400-yard, $25,000 Lip-Chip Stakes for 3-year-olds and older.

RDD Empire Builder, the 9-5 morning-line choice in the field of eight, brings in a three-race win streak that includes a three-quarter length victory in the December 17, $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic Stakes (R) at Evangeline Downs. The 6-year-old son of champion Jess Louisiana Blue drew post 5 and will be ridden by Arturo Alvarez for owner RC Stables LLC and trainer Riley Aguilar.

Courtesy Ses