06/13/2012 12:13PM

Louisiana Downs: Foster now tied for second in trainer standings


BOSSIER CITY, La. – It is all about teamwork these days for Louisiana Downs trainer Joey Foster.

From the stable help with their distinctive bright-orange shirts and caps to Foster’s wife Cheryl who handles the books of the operation, everybody has an important role to play.

“I call it the ‘Three Good’ system,” says Foster with a grin. “Good owners, good help and, of course, good horses. Oh, and don’t forget about the biggest ‘good’ of them all – good luck in getting the other three.”

Foster’s good fortune, or more likely his and his stable’s hard work, has resulted in a break-out season of sorts for the 50-year-old Illinois native who grew up in central Arkansas. It was in nearby Hot Springs at Oaklawn Park that Foster began a career in racing that eventually carried him to Louisiana.

“I started working in racing when I was 16 and have been in it ever since,” Foster said. “This game just gets in your blood.”

Foster worked for several outfits while coming up though the training ranks but credits Gene Norman, father of multiple Louisiana Downs and Oaklawn training champ Cole Norman, as having the biggest influence.

“I worked for some good trainers over the years, but I would say that I learned the most from Mr. Norman. He seemed to just have a way with horses.”

After training doubles last Thursday and Saturday, Foster is tied for second in the standings with 13 wins after the first six weeks of the season, just one behind meet leader Tony Richey.

“We are pretty pleased with the start that we have had,” Foster said. “We had a good meet at Delta Downs over the winter and you always hope you can roll that kind of success over to another meeting.”

Foster’s bread and butter continues to be claiming races, and most of his stock are Louisiana-breds.

“Statebreds are where the money is,” he said. “You are always looking for good horses in this business. Horses that you can move up, and these days on this circuit they need to be Louisiana-breds. I’m fortunate to be comfortable with some really good clients and that allows me to be active at the claim box. We made some pretty good claims at Delta and hopefully that will carry over up here.”

Trio of allowance races Friday

Friday’s nine-race program is a solid one that includes no fewer than three competitive and very playable allowance races. The fifth race on the card is a nonwinner-other-than five-furlong sprint on the turf while the eighth is an entry-level mile and 70-yard test for Louisiana-breds on the main track. The third race of the afternoon carries no conditions and has a $26,000 purse with another $5,000 in potential Louisiana-bred bonuses. The one-mile test on the turf features the return of Go Tiger Jack, winner of the Barksdale Stakes here last summer.