The Louisiana Downs barn area has offically opened and is expected to be full when the 29th meeting begins Friday, June 28. The 80-day season is scheduled to offer average daily purses of $200,000, a 56% increase over last year's meet.
Expected newcomers to Louisiana Downs are trainers Donnie Von Hemel, Stanley Roberts, Kenny Smith, and Ron Moquett. Texas-based Danny Pish and Nick Dufrene from Florida are also expected to be represented.
"The purse money was the obvious reason we wanted to return," Von Hemel said. "The summer meet purses are improving this year and we have several horses we feel that will fit very well at Louisiana Downs."
Trainer Cole Norman will be gunning for his fifth consecutive title after establishing several local records in 2001. He won 13 local stakes a year ago, saddled four regional champions, and finished fifth nationally by total wins.
Steve Asmussen ranked second in 2001 and should return with another string of strong runners. He currently is vying for the lead among trainers at Lone Star Park.