08/27/2008 12:00AM

First-ever turf race Boulet's parting gesture


A special holiday Monday night program will conclude the season of racing at Evangeline Downs and will also mark the end of Jason Boulet's term as racing secretary. Boulet will soon assume the same position at Fair Grounds in preparation for the New Orleans track's mid-November opening.

"This place and I kind of grew up together," Boulet said. "I leave here with a bit of a heavy heart, but it is also a good time. Handle is up, field sizes are up, and I am fortunate to have such a great opportunity present itself at Fair Grounds."

Much of Boulet's legacy will be about the vast number of horses he and his staff have assembled for the nightly programs. The track has proclaimed itself "Home of the biggest fields" through its marketing efforts, due in large part to Boulet's positive relationship with local horsemen. Field sizes this season remain in the double-digit range in a time where many tracks are struggling to fill programs.

Harvey Lourd, Boulet's current assistant, will handle the racing secretary duties during the upcoming Quarter Horse meeting that runs from Sept. 18 through Nov. 22. The next Thoroughbred meeting begins in April 2009.

The track's first-ever turf race is scheduled for Monday.

"We have offered a couple of grass races for horseman to look at," said Boulet. "We'll see which one shapes up as the best. It will open the program Monday night.

"I have been waiting for the turf for three seasons now," Boulet added. "I look at this as my going-away present."