07/07/2010 12:00AM

Female riders roar into winner's circle


BOSSIER CITY, La. - There appears to be a definite women's movement going on this summer at Louisiana Downs.

Last Sunday, Cassandra Buckley became the fourth female apprentice jockey to win a race here this season. She joins Anna Roberts, Bethany Taylor, and Ashlea Trosclair. A fifth, Stephanie Sheroski, has also ridden here after making the occasional journey up from her home base of Evangeline Downs. All five were named on mounts Sunday and join Beverly Burress and Monica Stanley to make up what is believed to be the deepest women's riding contingent in the country.

Buckley's initial win came in particularly dramatic fashion. After setting most of the pace in the mile and 70-yard affair for maiden claimers aboard Handsomely, she was confronted with a late bid from favored Bee Tree with veteran Pat Valenzuela in the saddle. The two raced as a team to the wire with Buckley and Handsomely ($16.80) proving a neck the best. The win earned her a congratulatory slap on the back by Valenzuela past he wire.

Roberts has been the most successful of the quintet of young riders, having won 10 races. That figure puts her in a tie for ninth place in the standings. She is represented by veteran agent Richie Price, who also handles the business of former Louisiana Downs riding champ Carlos Gonzalez.

"Business has been good," Price said recently. "Hopefully we can keep things going."

Options for Do Dat Blues

Not all of the recent accomplishments by females at Louisiana Downs have come in the saddle.

Trainer Michelle Lovell has been firmly atop the trainer standings all meeting long and last Saturday picked up a stakes win with Do Dat Blues in the Princess Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the turf.

Do Dat Blues defeated the highly regarded and previously unbeaten Dixieland Bull and has given Lovell the enviable chore of determining where the Louisiana-bred will start next.

One option would be the $50,000 Stardust for statebreds and a return to the main track on July 31. Do Dat Blues won her maiden race on dirt in front-running style here on June 18. Another would be to keep her on the grass and take on open company once again in the $50,000 Donnie Wilhite Memorial at a mile Aug. 28.

Big field for Friday's feature

Friday's optional claiming feature for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares, slated for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew an overflow field of 11, including one also-eligible. The field will be limited to 10 starters with the turf rail out 20 feet. Those expected to vie for favoritism include Jadah Jane Miles, who just missed in a similar spot in her last start and who finished third in the Louisiana Cup Ladies Starter Stakes in May.