08/25/2014 1:45PM

Fair Grounds to update video boards


Fair Grounds announced Monday the purchase and imminent installation of two video boards, one of several enhancements the track pledged to make this past spring when the Louisiana legislature signaled it might consider denying Fair Grounds a state-issued license to host live racing and run off-track betting parlors due to problems with the facility.

The legislature asked Fair Grounds to invest more of its profits from its slot machine operations into the racing side of the business before its 2014-2015 Thoroughbred race meet.

The track, a Churchill Downs Inc. property, said it had purchased video screens for the infield tote board and the paddock. An older screen situated next to the tote board has been broken for years and has sat unused, displaying advertising signage. The paddock video board had poor resolution, with the odds nearly impossible to read and the running of races difficult to discern.

Fair Grounds’s release said the boards would be ready for use before the Thoroughbred meet begins in late November. The infield screen will be mounted atop the tote board and measures a little more than 23 feet long and a little less than 16 feet high. The paddock board is 9 feet and 5 inches square.

The video boards are one of several areas Fair Grounds pledged to the legislature to address before the 2014-2015 meet begins. The track also promised upgrades to a turf course plagued with problems the last several years, and to improve conditions on its backstretch. Reports on those improvements could be provided at a Louisiana State Racing Commission meeting in New Orleans this week.