10/06/2004 11:00PM

Huffman to return to Fair Grounds

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Ben Huffman will return to Fair Grounds after all.

Huffman, who said in August that he would not return for a second year as racing secretary at the New Orleans track, said Thursday that officials with the track's soon-to-be owner, Churchill Downs Inc., have persuaded him to return.

"We were able to resolve some of the travel and family issues that initially led me to say I was giving up the job," said Huffman, 35.

Huffman, who also is racing secretary at Keeneland, has been a racing official since 1990. He ceded the position of Fair Grounds racing secretary to his assistant, Jason Boulet, in August, but that was when longtime Fair Grounds owner Bryan Krantz had tentatively agreed that Mike Pegram would buy a majority interest in the track. Churchill, for whom Huffman has worked since 1992, ultimately trumped Pegram's offer and is scheduled to close on the deal by Oct. 15. Boulet will remain as assistant.

Fair Grounds starts its four-month meet Nov. 25.