07/12/2011 11:56AM

Louisiana Downs: Adams enjoying a breakout year as trainer


With almost 20 days of triple-digit temperatures already recorded this year in the Ark-La-Tex, the summer of 2011 will likely go down as one of the hottest ever. Followers of Louisiana Downs, however, may well remember it as the breakout season of young trainer Preston Adams.

Less than halfway through the current meeting, Adams, 34, has sent out a dozen winners, good enough for third place in the standings behind mid-South veterans Morris Nicks and Charles Hukill.

“We are really happy with the way things are going,” Adams said earlier this week. “Things started going good for us down at Delta to begin the year when we won some races, and it has carried over.”

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Adams grew up in East Texas. He spent two years working under Bret Calhoun, who 10 years ago also was on the verge of bigger and better things outside the Lone Star State.

“I learned a lot from Bret,” Adams said. “He is a good horseman and a great guy.”

Adams also credits his relationship with owner Michael Greer as being one of the keys to his expanded success in 2011.

“I met him through a friend of a friend,” Adams said. “He has some really good ideas and a good eye for a horse. I’ve got maybe 15 or 16 head for him, and all of them we got through the claim box. He was a first-time horse owner, and we did well right off the bat and things took off from there.”

While horses in the claiming ranks have been Adams’s bread and butter this year, he also has a keen interest in the other divisions.

“We have a nice 3-year-old filly in Cat’s Production,” he said. “I picked her out of the pasture as a yearling, and she has run up $180,000 for us. She ran second in a stake [$100,000 Louisiana Showcase Filly Mile] at Evangeline the other night.”

“We also have three or four 2-year-olds,” Adams continued. “I would like to have a few more young horses, but they will come.”

Adams is heavily vested in Louisiana-breds and is well versed in the nuances of the slot-infused purses in place around the state.

“You can claim an open horse for $12,500 at Louisiana Downs and run him back for an $8,500 purse, or you can take a bred and run for almost twice that. That is why you can get a better horse for the money at Delta. With all the statebred races down there over the winter, you saw a lot of droppers shooting for the bigger purses. I was originally going to spend the winter at Fair Grounds but ended up getting some stalls at Delta instead. We did ship over and run a few in New Orleans, but mostly we raced at Delta. Things ended up working out well.”

LTBSC sale scheduled for Aug. 8

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Sales Company’s summer mixed sale will be held Monday, Aug. 8, at Hirsch Coliseum on the State Fairgrounds in Shreveport, La. The sale will begin at 10 a.m.

A total of 221 lots will be offered, with the first 122 hip numbers being yearlings. Two-year-olds, horses of racing age, and breeding stock also will be offered.

Louisiana Downs placing judge and veteran auctioneer Foster Bridewell will handle the gavel.

◗ The headliner at Louisiana Downs on Thursday will come early on the card as a 10-member cast under optional claiming conditions goes postward in the afternoon’s second event. The 1 1/16-mile affair on the turf appears to be a showdown between the Bob Shultz-trained Can’touchhisgal, who comes off four consecutive in-the-money finishes dating back to late February, and Arlington Park invader Maymeister, trained by Danny Pish.

◗ Evangeline Downs’ feature is in the more usual penultimate spot on the program as a first-level, $31,000 allowance for Louisiana-bred fillies and mares will be contested at six furlongs. Hollie Heart exits claiming company in quest of her third win in a row, while the speedy Madalanie attempts to exploit her inside post and make it 2 for 2 since being claimed by Alan Klanfer.