10/12/2007 11:00PM

Louisiana ends claim 'jail'

EmailThe Louisiana Racing Commission approved a significant change to Louisiana claiming rules at its meeting in New Orleans on Friday. The new rule allows a claimed horse to run back for the price he was claimed for, or higher, and eliminates the 30-day "jail period," which requires a horse be raised at least 25 percent in claiming price.

The change is scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 20, according to Charles Gardiner, executive director of the racing commission.

The claiming change comes on the heels of the recent elimination of a state sales tax on claims at Louisiana tracks, which was provided for by legislation passed in Louisiana.

In other business Friday, the commission approved the acquisition of Louisiana Downs by a partnership of Apollo Management and Texas Pacific Group, two private equity firms that are purchasing the casino giant Harrah's Entertainment. Harrah's is the parent company of Louisiana Downs. The closing is scheduled for December.

Harrah's announced in April that its stockholders had approved the acquisition by Apollo and Texas Pacific.

Also at the meeting, the commission amended its pick four rule to open it up to fit any multiple of consecutive races, such as a pick five. The change goes into effect immediately.

The issue was addressed at the request of Fair Grounds in New Orleans. The action Friday does not change the rules in place for picks threes in Louisiana.