04/19/2005 11:00PM

Evangeline Downs track report

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Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino announced a 10 percent across-the-board increase in purses for the second condition book, starting April 29. The increase raises the daily average purse payout to $165,000, nearly triple the average in 2003, when the track's slot machine facility opened for business in December of that year.

"Our casino business has been outstanding this year," said Evangeline general manager Michael Howard. "We took a conservative approach in February when we wrote our first condition book, but we are very comfortable with the 10 percent across-the-board increase. It is my expectation this trend will continue."

Business has been brisk in the entry box as well, as horsemen continue to line up and run. Twelve-horse fields have come to be the norm here. Racing secretary Jason Boulet faces a test next week when Louisiana Downs, located just 150 miles away, begins its 2005 season. That track also has an ontrack slots casino and will begin its meet offering $210,000 in purse money daily.