08/10/2006 11:00PM

Record stakes purses at Fair Grounds


Fair Grounds Race Course, set to resume racing operations in New Orleans this November, will offer a record $7.7 million in stakes purses, the track announced Friday.

The stakes schedule includes 65 different stakes - also a record - and peaks with Louisiana Derby Day, March 10, which includes four Grade 2 races and $2.1 million in purse money. The Mervin Muniz Handicap, Fair Grounds' biggest race for older turf horses, has been moved up on the calendar to be part of Louisiana Derby Day.

Fair Grounds, which begins its meet Nov. 23, expects to offer average daily purses of at least $350,000, the highest ever at the New Orleans track.