04/27/2004 11:00PM

La. Downs unveiling new slots parlor

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Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., will open its new 150,000-square-foot casino to the public on Friday.

The pavilion will include a 50,000-square-foot gambling area that will house 1,402 slot machines, a high-rollers area, and a customer-rewards center. The building will also include three restaurants and a bar. An entryway will connect the casino to the racetrack grandstand, which has housed the slots casino since its opening in May 2003. Plans call for the former slots area to be converted to a horse racing simulcast center.

One of three planned restaurants, The Buffet, will open Friday. Another, the Louisiana Bread Co., is scheduled to open May 7, to be followed by The Steakhouse and Grill by John Besh on May 14.

Louisiana Downs will conduct a 102-day Thoroughbred meet from May 14 through Oct. 31. The track will then hold its first Quarter Horse meeting from Nov. 11 through Dec. 12. Purses at the Thoroughbred meet will average $200,000 per day through Super Derby Day, Sept. 25, and then drop to $150,000 per day through the end of the season.

Patrick J. Pope, the track's director of racing operations, said Louisiana Downs management was "very pleased with the stall applications, and we expect to be at full capacity on opening day."