Cheapskate Diva, Takes Two To Tango Among State-Breds To Shine On Louisiana Cup Card At Louisiana Downs by Martha Claussen|08.06.202208.06.2022|9:49pm11:20pm Cheapskate Diva annexes stakes debut in Louisiana Cup Disfaff It was another outstanding edition of Louisiana Cup Day on Saturday at Louisiana Downs as each of the six stakes on the program showcased the quality of the Louisiana Thoroughbred. Despite temperatures in the high 90s, tremendous performances were noted throughout the afternoon with glory to several experienced runners as well as juveniles. Bisping Triumphs In Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes action got underway in the second race with the running of the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile for Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts and geldings. A field of eight competed at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track. The winner was Anna Guillot's Bisping, a son of El Deal, bred by Adcock's Red River Farm LLC & J. Adcock. He reunited with jockey Devin Magnon, who guided him from this inside post, taking command at the three-eighths pole and drawing clear. He prevailed by a margin of 3 ¾ lengths over Ranch Water in a final time of 1.05.90. “Before he ever ran, I knew he was special,” said Magnon. “We have a bond and he does everything you ask of him very professionally.” Trained by Ricky Courville, the dark bay gelding broke his maiden on May 19 at Evangeline Downs prior to running sixth in the $150,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park. “I had a race in him and took a shot,” said Courville. “We faced big horses in New York.” World War IV Racing's Ranch Water ran second for trainer Allen Landry followed by Norman Racing Stables LLC's Easy Chance. Post time favorite King's Lute completed the superfecta for owner Claiming Cajuns LLc. Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Bisping paid $9.60 for the win, which was second in three starts. With the winner's share of $40,200, his earnings stand at $58,050. Courville said that the D.S. “Shine” Young Futurity at Evangeline Downs will likely be his next start. Cheapskate Diva Thrills Her Connections In Louisiana Cup Distaff The first turf stakes of the card, the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Distaff, drew nine fillies and mares who traveled 1 1/16 miles over the firm Franks Turf Course. Cheapskate Diva was in fine form as she made her stakes debut for breeder-owner Keith Plaisance The 4-year-old filly by Animal Kingdom last ran on July 3 at Louisiana Downs, drawing off in a $25,000 turf allowance by 10 lengths under Carlos Marquez. Confidently handled Saturday, she was forwardly placed through early fractions of :23.77 and 48.39 before taking the lead at the top of the stretch and drawing clear by 1 ½ lengths. The final time, over the firm turf course was 1.41.92. The Louisiana Cup Distaff also marked the first stakes win for trainer Joseph “Bobby” Felks. “I give all the credit to Bobby,” said Marquez. “She used to be more hyper, but Bobby has worked with her and she did it easy for me today.” Plaisance also praised Felks in the post-race interview. “It was his idea to enter her in this,” said Plaisance. “Bobby felt she deserved a shot and to win over tough mares like Net a Bear and Fort Polk was amazing. My hat's off to Bobby.” Fort Polk, a 6-year-old daughter of Behindatthebar, trained by Pat Mouton for owners Steve and Pat Roe completed the exacta. Alliaceous closed for third under rider Vicente Del-Cid and longshot Eve's Delight rounded out the top four. Defending winner Net a Bear finished seventh and trainer Allen Landry felt the heat might have taken its toll on his multiple-stakes winner. “She was sweating when we hauled in this morning,” said Landry. “We will give her some time off and see how she does.” Cheapskate Diva has won four of her 10 efforts and earned $101,740. Her connections were undecided on her next start. Free Like A Girl Sensational In Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint The $67,000 Louisiana Filly and Mare Sprint showcased a field of 11 Louisiana-bred fillies and mares going six furlongs on the fast main track. Free Like a Girl returned to Louisiana Downs on Cup Day and was sent away as the 11-10 favorite in the six-furlong sprint. Bred by retired jockey Kim Renee Stover and her sister, Lisa Osborne, the daughter of El Deal, had won seven of her 14 starts for owners Gerald Bruno Jr; Carl J. Deville, Chasey Deville Pomier, and Jerry Caroom. She was honored as 2021 Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) champion 2-year-old filly and continues to progress through her 3-year-old campaign. She was back in state bred company today following starts in the Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn Park February 26 against the much heralded Secret Oath and her most recent race, a creditable third in the Iowa Oaks (G3) on July 9 at Prairie Meadows. Jockey Pedro Cotto, Jr. was content to let her break from her far inside post, track the front-running Drop Dead Sexy, and confidently circle the field. She drew clear at the eighth pole and drew clear by a margin of 6 ½ lengths in 1.10.69, “She likes being on the outside and having something to run at,” explained Pomier. “We were facing older horses and were not sure how it would pan out, but she's shown time and time again how much she loves her job.” The connections remain loyal to Cotto, who has piloted Free Like a Girl in each of her Louisiana races. “He rode for my dad when I was a kid and worked this filly as a baby,” Pomier added. “Pedro fits her and tells us that all he ever wants is to ride our filly.” Drop Dead Sexy held on for second for current leading trainer Shane Wilson and 2021 Louisiana Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner, Snowball completed the trifecta, followed by Spirited Beauty and Canada's Customs. Free Like a Girl ($4.20) has now won eight of her 15 career starts, boosting her earnings to $464,073. City Park Springs Upset In Louisiana Cup Turf Classic The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Classic attracted 11 runners going 1 1/16 miles over the Franks Turf Course. City Park, a 5-year-old son of Temple City, bred by Warran Harang, returned to the winner's circle for the first time in 2022, under very confident handling by rider Joel Dominguez. Breaking from the rail, he was eighth after the half-mile, before advancing four-wide and drawing clear in 1:41.23 over the firm turf course. Owned by MAT Investments, LLC, City Park exited a seventh-place finish in the John Henry at Evangeline Downs last month. “You can always make it happen when you are on the right horse and I had the right horse today,” said Dominguez. “The race set up well. I knew if they went fast up front, he would come running and that's what happened.” Charlie G rallied for second under rider Joe Stokes, followed by Big Chopper and Jaci's Royalty. Defending winner Carlea's Dream, ran fifth under Iram Diego. City Park was bet down to 5-1 from his 12-1 morning line and rewarded his backers with a $12.80 win payout. Trained by Eduardo Ramirez, the bay gelding has won six of his career efforts, topping the $200,000 mark in earnings this afternoon. Janet Is Ready Captures Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies Nine 2-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies competed in one of the best fields ever for the $67,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies. Several first-time winners faced off in the 5 ½-furlong main track sprint. Saddling her second winner on the Cup Day card was Chasey Deville Pomier as Janet is Ready notched the win in gate-to-wire fashion under rider Vicente Del-Cid. The race was the third victory for the daughter of Custom for Carlos, who made her debut on May 13 in a $98,000 maiden special weight at Churchill Downs. After running second in Kentucky, she broke her maiden at Evangeline Downs and won the Prairie Gold Lassie on July 8 in Iowa, at odds of 21-1. She drifted out as she approached the wire today, but still prevailed by one-length in 1:05.65, over Guitar Woman, Lady Flurry, and Nodah. Owner Gerry Bruno was on hand for the race and talked about the team behind the filly. “We bought her at the LTBA Yearling Sale ($5,500) and no one knows that I was Carl Deville's assistant at Monmouth Park when Chasey was seven, so we've been around for a long time,” said Bruno. “She was impressive today, despite drifting at the end.” Janet Is Ready could be pointed to the DS Shine – Filly Division at Evangeline Downs. Front-Running Score By Takes Two To Tango In Louisiana Cup Sprint The $67,000 Louisiana Turf Cup Sprint closed out the Louisiana Cup Day card with 11 Louisiana-breds traveling six furlongs on the main track. Takes Two to Tango, a 6-year-old son of Half Ours, added his sixth career victory for breeder-owner Melissa Cantacuzene. Jockey Luis Quinonez guided the bay gelding to the wire in 1:10.89 over the fast track and spoke about his improvement following his third-place finish in the Louisiana Legends Sprint at Evangeline Downs. “He broke very well today,” said Quinonez. “Was very alert and when I called on him, he finished well. I thank the owner for this opportunity.” Trained by J. Luis Garcia, Takes Two to Tango, has won five of his seven outs at Louisiana Downs. “He never holds back,” said Cantacuzene. “He always gives 100%.” Black Sword ran second under Vicente Del-Cid, followed by Brian's Iron Mike and Creole Charlie.