05/14/2009 11:00PM

Heitzmann rolling after shift of gears


BOSSIER CITY, La. - David Heitzmann has worn a lot of hats throughout his career at the racetrack, and he recently went from racing official to jockey agent for Pat Valenzuela and Colby Hernandez this summer at Louisiana Downs.

While he is no stranger to the agenting business, Heitzmann has been better known as a racing official during the last several years at tracks in the Midwest, including Churchill Downs Inc. properties Arlington Park and Fair Grounds, as well as the home track in Louisville.

"After I applied for and did not get the racing secretary's job at Fair Grounds last year, I felt it was time that Churchill and I parted ways," said Heitzmann. "What began as a casual conversation while I was clerk of scales at Keeneland this spring kind of evolved into where I am now."

Heitzmann said he had spoken with veteran agent Fred Aime, "and he suggested that I hook up with Pat Val at Louisiana Downs, and things just took off."

It was in similar fashion that Heitzmann joined forces with Hernandez, last year's leading rider at Evangeline Downs.

"I am good friends with Brian Hernandez Jr., who is Colby's older brother," Heitzmann said. "He said that Colby wanted to do something a little bit different, become more visible at Fair Grounds over the winter. Louisiana Downs fits better with the Fair Grounds circuit than Evangeline does."

Heitzmann went on to say that business was pretty steady for the opening three-day weekend.

"Friday and Saturday look good," he said. "Sunday was a little bit slow, because they used a lot of lower claiming races, and that is not where our clientele are now, but we will develop those relationships as the summer goes along."

Surface draws praise

Despite an unusually wet spring in the region, the racing surface continues to draw rave reviews.

"The main track as been just great," said trainer Sam David Jr., who has never been bashful about voicing his opinion about track conditions in the past. "It handled the big rain earlier this week like it was nothing. The composition drains really well and the footing has been terrific. Billy is doing a heck of a job."

David was referring to the local track superintendent, Billy McKeever, who has taken over for Brian Jabelmann, who took the same position at Fair Grounds late last year.

* Scared Psalm, second in the Hallowed Dreams Stakes at Evangeline in her last start, returns to the allowance ranks in Sunday's featured eighth race.