11/15/2005 12:00AM

Fair Grounds boosts purses

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Better-than-expected business at offtrack betting parlors in the New Orleans area has spurred a purse hike for the Fair Grounds at Louisiana Downs meet, which begins Saturday in Bossier City, La. Purses in overnight races will be increased by $1,000 during the 37-day meet, with four stakes on Jan. 14 each receiving a $50,000 boost. The Risen Star, Silverbulletday, Bayou Breeders' Cup, and Duncan Kenner are now worth $250,000 each, according to a Churchill Downs Inc. news release.

Churchill, Louisiana horsemen, and Louisiana Downs negotiated the terms of this abbreviated meet in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, at a time when the five offtrack betting facilities around New Orleans were far from fully functional. As those parlors have begun generating profits from handle, the purse structure was adapted accordingly. The CDI release predicted that average daily purse distribution at the meet would now be $315,000.