Two top Louisiana Downs administrators depart track’s leadership

SHAKEUP NEAR THE TOP:  The casino manager and general manager of racing have left Louisiana Downs in apparently unrelated moves this week.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

Mitch Dennison’s stay as General Manager of Racing at Louisiana Downs was, in racing terms, as quick as a five-furlong race.

Dennison resigned Tuesday, three months after being hired.

“It is,” Dennison confirmed to the Journal, when asked if it’s true he is no longer with the Downs.

“Mitch is a fantastic person, but right now I really can’t comment,” said Kevin Preston, Founder and President of Premier Gaming Group, which bought Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack in January. “We have a fantastic racing team…I had a great meeting with them (Wednesday) morning. We will not miss a beat on the racing side.”

To join Louisiana Downs, Dennison left a successful career as an assistant to Steve Asmussen, North America’s winningest thoroughbred trainer. Dennison comes from a racing family. His father is a starter at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Dennison’s mother was a horseman’s liaison, and gap attendant, at Churchill Downs.

The 34-year-old from Louisville, Ky., was well-regarded by those on the Downs’ backside. Trainers expressed appreciation of Dennison’s willingness to hear their concerns, as well as their ideas on how to improve racing at the 48-year-old track.

Kato Moy, who was recently hired as General Manager of the casino side of Louisiana Downs, is also no longer with the property.

“Kato has been a dear friend since 1992 when we started together in gaming,” Preston said. “We were together when I met my wife and he and I have been extremely close. Unfortunately, some family matters came up that he needed to address, and we are supporting him 100 percent.” 

Louisiana Downs’ current thoroughbred meet ends Sept. 27. The track announced early this year it would bring back the high-stakes Super Derby that attracted high-profile horses and horsemen during the height of the Downs’ history, but other than a Sept. 10 date, no additional information about the purse or related considerations has been revealed.

Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com