08/20/2013 4:23PM

Louisiana commission sets race dates; Evangeline Downs to open earlier


Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., will start and end its 2014 meet for Thoroughbreds a week earlier than the current meet after receiving approvals from the Louisiana Racing Commission on Monday. The track will again race 84 dates, but open on April 9 and close on Aug. 30. The current season opened April 17 and is scheduled to close Sept. 7.

The commission also granted Louisiana Downs in Bossier City an 84-date Thoroughbred meet for 2014. The calendar is similar to the current season’s. The track will open May 2 and race through Sept. 21. Louisiana Downs also received approvals for a 46-date meet for Quarter Horses, from Jan. 11-March 26.

Also at the meeting, Delta Downs in Vinton was awarded a 46-date season for Quarter Horses, from April 25 to July 12.

Meet extension for Fair Grounds

Also at the meeting Monday, the commission approved the addition of two dates of Quarter Horse racing at Fair Grounds in New Orleans after the track canceled opening weekend of its Quarter Horse meet last Friday and Saturday because of the threat of severe weather. The track has added Sept. 11-12. The meet’s richest race, the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Sales Futurity, will now be run on the closing-day card Sept. 12. Trials were to have been held last Friday, but have been moved to Aug. 23.

Fair Grounds had issued a mandatory evacuation of its stable area last week because of the threat of a storm system, but a commission official said the directive was later dropped. At the time of the evacuation announcement, there were about 1,000 horses stabled at Fair Grounds.