08/17/2003 11:00PM

Louisiana dates approved


Louisiana Downs, which installed 905 slot machines in May, received approval on Monday for an expanded Thoroughbred meet next year that will overlap with much of the racing season at neighboring Lone Star Park.

Louisiana Downs was awarded 102 dates for Thoroughbreds from May 14 to Oct. 31 in 2004, an increase of 22 dates over 2003. The track was also granted its first Quarter Horse meet, which will run 20 days from Nov. 10 to Dec. 12.

The dates are a slight change from the initial April 30-Oct. 31 application submitted by Louisiana Downs. The track amended those dates last Friday, and the new proposal pushing the start date back to May 14 was unanimously passed by the Louisiana Racing Commission on Monday.

Lone Star will begin its Thoroughbred season April 15.

Also on Monday, the commission made significant changes to two claiming rules, and both go into effect Thursday. Louisiana is reinstating "jail" for claimed horses, as a claimed horse must be raised in claiming price at least 25 percent if he runs back within 30 days of being claimed. Also, the ownership change of a claimed horse will go into effect when the horse starts rather than when steps on the track as was the previous policy.