03/30/2010 12:00AM

Louisiana Downs to feature five big days

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Louisiana Downs has packaged most of its 30 stakes into five days for its upcoming meet, with the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby to lead an expanded program of eight stakes on Sept. 25. Louisiana Downs will open May 1, with the 84-date season to run through Sept. 26.

"We basically had been running two stakes a weekend," said Trent McIntosh, director of racing operations for Louisiana Downs. "This year, we'll have five big days."

The richest will be Sept. 25, when the Super Derby, which is back at $500,000 after being bumped up to $750,000 for 2009, highlights a $1.25 million card of stakes. The 1 1/8-mile race will share a program with two turf routes for 2-year-olds, the $100,000 Sunday Silence and the $75,000 Happy Ticket.

Louisiana Cup Day has been moved to May 22 after having been run in August. The other big stakes dates are July 3, with all four stakes to be run on turf; Aug. 28, when six stakes will serve as preps for Super Derby Day; and Sept. 6.

In all, the stakes program is worth $2.7 million, while purses are projected to average $160,000 per program.

David Heitzmann, a longtime racing official in Louisiana, has been named racing secretary for Louisiana Downs, McIntosh said. McIntosh had been serving in that role.