06/16/2004 12:00AM

Fair Grounds to file new plan


Fair Grounds Race Course will file an amended bankruptcy plan on June 23, and an auction of the track in bankruptcy court has tentatively been scheduled for Aug. 16, according to Douglas Draper, a bankruptcy attorney for Fair Grounds.

Under the new plan, Fair Grounds will go into bankruptcy court with a so-called stalking horse, a party with a known bid to acquire the track. Draper confirmed the existence of a stalking horse on Wednesday but declined to identify the party.

Attempts by both Churchill Downs Inc. and Louie Roussel, a former owner of the track, to acquire Fair Grounds have been made public, but other parties also have expressed interest.

In bankruptcy court, other interested buyers can bid against the stalking horse, which can raise its bid to counter other offers.

Fair Grounds declared bankruptcy in the spring of 2003 after the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled against the track in a longstanding suit brought by Louisiana horsemen. The suit contended Fair Grounds didn't properly fund purses with profits from video poker terminals, and this spring, a district court judge awarded damages of almost $90 million to the horsemen's group.