'New' Evangeline Construction Could Begin in 2001

Evangeline Downs officials continue with their plan to move the Lafayette, La., track up the road to Opelousas, but it appears Thoroughbred racing will be held at the current facility in 2001.

The Opelousas Daily World reported that groundbreaking probably won't occur until next year. The facility plans to move to take advantage of a law that will permit it to install slot machines, which are legal in St. Landry Parish but not in Lafayette Parish.

Allen Bares, an attorney for Evangeline Downs, told the newspaper the new track is a go. State police must first conduct a suitability study and grant a license before any construction would be begin. Other approvals are required as well.

Evangeline Downs officials have discussed putting in a mile dirt track at the new facility -- the current one has a seven-furlong track -- with a turf course to its inside.