08/19/2008 11:00PM

Former track officials join Louisiana panel


BOSSIER CITY, La. - A couple of familiar names top the list of Louisiana state racing commissioners recently appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Ray Tromba, former general manager of Louisiana Downs, will represent Bossier Parish as one of the 12 board members of the commission. Tromba was at the helm of Louisiana Downs for 16 years, first as general manager and then as vice president of racing operations after the track was purchased by gaming giant Harrah's. He was instrumental in the legislative process to secure slot machines at the state's four racetracks.

Tromba currently serves as the president of the Louisiana Boardwalk, an upscale retail and entertainment district that sits on the banks of the Red River in Bossier City.

"It was not a position I actively lobbied for," Tromba said of his recent appointment. "I got a couple of calls from some people and just felt that the industry had been so good to me and my family that anything I could do to contribute was something I should do."

Jindal also appointed Bryan Krantz of Kenner, La., to the commission. Krantz is the former president and general manager of the now defunct Jefferson Downs near New Orleans, and served in the same capacity and as part owner of Fair Grounds before that track was purchased by Churchill Downs Inc.

Krantz is a member of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and the American Horse Council. He will represent the 1st Congressional District.

The other members of the commission are Keith Babb of Monroe; Anthony Bourgeois, Church Point; Neal Cormier, Lake Charles; Payton Covington, Lake Charles; Richard Holier, Opelousas; Jerry Meaux, Lafayette; Dave Roberts, Baton Rouge; Bill Robinson, Shreveport; Kenneth Romero, New Iberia; and Bob Wright, New Orleans.

Lite the Cigar tries same conditions again

Lite the Cigar, a developing 3-year-old trained by James Hudson, tops the field in Friday's statebred optional claiming feature at Louisiana Downs. A field of 11, including one also-eligible, has been entered for the one-mile affair on the turf that carries a $29,000 purse.

Lite the Cigar graduated at first asking for Hudson over the grass in early June, and most recently narrowly missed for Friday's conditions on Aug. 1. The son of Lite the Fuse has enough tactical speed to lay within striking distance throughout. Hudson has given the call to leading rider Don Simington.

Make Money Quick will be trying two turns for the first time on Friday after winning his turf debut convincingly earlier in the month. Trained by Jorge Lara, Make Money Quick led throughout in a five-furlong maiden special weight dash against open company, eventually crossing the wire almost 11 lengths in front and earning an 89 Beyer Speed Figure in the process. He should once again prove to be the one to catch. Lonnie Meche returns to the saddle.