The Fair Grounds has restored approximately $2.7 million in purses for the upcoming thoroughbred season and revised other projections upwards after being ordered to do so by the Louisiana Racing Commission on Tuesday.
The revisions include upping the purse for the Louisiana Derby from $600,000 to $750,000 and the Louisiana Oaks from $300,000 to $400,000.
The overnight average will go from $185,000 to $210,000 per day and the total stakes amount is $5.5 million.
“Our purses aren’t all the way back,” said Mark Conner, the Fair Grounds director of marketing. “But we feel like we have done things to make the Fair Grounds a more attractive destination for our owners and trainers.”
The $2.7 million had been held in escrow by Churchill Downs Inc., the track’s parent company pending a lawsuit by a group of quarter horse owners, trainers and jockeys against CDI and the Louisiana Horsemen’s Protective and Benevolent Association claiming that they had not received funds due from video poker revenue. The lawsuit is still pending.
Conner added that the purses are determined by a formula of estimating revenue from pari-mutuel betting, both at the track and from off-track sources throughout the country plus slots and video poker revenue and is always subject to change. Last year, the track cut 10 percent from overnight purses during the meet.
The Fair Grounds’ 143rd season begins on Nov. 21.