08/24/2008 11:00PM

Trainer profile: Dewaine Loy


Dewaine Loy made a key change with his entire stable four years ago that has helped establish him as one of the winningest trainers at Louisiana Downs. For years, he had had followed a circuit of Oaklawn Park, Prairie Meadows, and Louisiana Downs. But in 2004, Loy decided it was necessary to make a change.

"The horses didn't acclimate well from Prairie Meadows to Louisiana Downs," he said. "It was the heat. It would take them six weeks to acclimate for the heat. It put you in a slow, sluggish start here. Now, after Oaklawn we rest up and get ready for Louisiana Downs."

The plan worked right from the start. Loy won 23 races from 110 starters at Louisiana Downs in 2004, a win rate of 20 percent. He is humming right along at the same win percentage this meet, where he ranked fourth in the standings, with 17 wins from 81 starters, through Aug. 22. Other top Louisiana Downs seasons for Loy include 2006, when he went 28 for 150.

Loy has a 30-horse stable, made up mostly of claiming horses. Clients like Danny Caldwell focus on claiming, while others provide the stable with a healthy dose of homebreds. Loy, a 36-year-old native of Bismarck, Ark., saddled his first winner as a trainer in 1999 after working as an assistant to the late Roy Carter in Nebraska. He also has been a blacksmith, and he rode broncs growing up, a background that makes him less afraid of claiming horses that might be difficult to gallop or who have certain types of foot problems.

"I love the claiming game," Loy said. "We claim from $5,000 to $35,000. It all depends on the horse. I just like to look for something we can improve. I love to claim a horse eligible for a nonwinner-of-two lifetime, or an a-other-than, or a maiden that showed some run that we can claim for $10,000 or $15,000."

Caldwell and Loy claimed Must Be He for $20,000 in June. The horse ran second in a first-level allowance one start later, then won a $5,000 starter allowance with a Beyer Speed Figure of 90 on Aug. 3.

"We put blinkers on him," Loy said. "The jock said he was just shying a little bit from horses. It really made him focus."

The next stop is a stakes start with Must Be He, who is being pointed for the $50,000 Red Earth for Oklahoma-breds at Remington Park on Aug. 31.

Another in the stable that is stakes-bound is Chadnjamie, who looked good winning a $25,000 maiden claimer for 2-year-olds on Aug. 15. He is headed to the $50,000 Razorback Futurity for Arkansas-breds at Louisiana Downs on Oct. 11. Loy won the race in 2001 with East Texas Sam.

Loy also has had good luck this meet with Hella Bella, a $10,000 claim who won a maiden special weight on Aug. 9. She is a 3-year-old filly by Precocity. Illuminque, a front-running sprinter Caldwell and Loy claimed Aug. 1, won back on Aug. 22. It was her fourth straight win, and she has been claimed out of each of those races in a streak that dates back to June 14.

"My favorite horse is a sprinter," Loy said.

Loy said his staff has been key to the meet he is having, while he also noted Carlos Gonzalez, who rides most of the barn's stock, is a big part of his operation.

"Ninety percent of my stable is speed horses, and he suits the horses," Loy said.

As did the decision four years ago to go straight from Oaklawn to Louisiana Downs.