Louisiana Downs concluded its 2003 racing season Sunday with increases in on-track, off-track, and total handle. With the opening of the slots casino earlier this year, the track no longer keeps attendance records.Trainer Cole Norman won his sixth consecutive trainer's title, and Gerard Melancon was the leading jockey for the second year in a row. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who was second in the trainer's standings, was the meet's leading owner.For the meet, the track handled a total of $204,976,090, an increase of 11.8% over the 2002 season. The average total handle was $2,499,708 per day.On-track handle for the meet was $18,973,516, an increase of 3.92% over last year's total. On-track handle averaged $231,384 per day. Off-track handle for the meet was $186,002,574, an increase of 12.69% over last year. The daily average for off-track wagering was $2,268,324."We're very proud of our racing product," said Ray Tromba, vice president of racing operations. "At a time when other racetracks are experiencing declines or are trying to maintain their numbers, we grew our business. We are looking forward to the expanded racing season next year."Racing resumes at Louisiana Downs on May 14, 2004. The track will run 102 Thoroughbred dates through October 31 as well as 20 Quarter Horse dates from November 10 through December 12. The Quarter Horse meet will be the first in the track's history. A new 150,000 square-foot casino, with three new restaurants, is scheduled to open in conjunction with the race meet in May 2004.
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