The Louisiana State Racing Commission approved a request by Louisiana Downs to run 122 dates in 2004, an increase of 42 days over the current year. The track will run 102 Thoroughbred dates from May 14 through Oct. 31 and 20 days of Quarter Horse racing from Nov. 10 through Dec. 12. The Quarter Horse meet will be the first in the track's history.
"We were extremely pleased to offer this expanded racing schedule," said Thomas A. Roberts, senior vice president and general manager of Louisiana Downs. "We are truly committed to enhancing the quality of our horse racing and plan to uphold the Harrah's standard of service and excellence."
In the first phase of expansion since being acquired by Harrah's Entertainment last year, Louisiana Downs added 905 slot machines in May, upgraded food and beverage outlets and enhanced the entire facility and stable area. The second phase, which includes a 150,000 square-foot slots facility, 1,500 slot machines and three new restaurants, is expected to be completed in May 2004 to coincide wit the opening of the expanded racing sesason.
Next year will mark the first time since 1996 that Louisiana Downs will offer more than 100 racing dates. Due to increased regional competition, the track moved its opening from late April to the beginning of July in 1997.