Jason Boulet said he feels like he grew up on the backside of the Fair Grounds.
Now he’s running it.
Boulet was named director of racing for the track on Thursday, meaning he will add overseeing stall operations, horsemen relations and racing surfaces in addition to his present position as racing secretary.
“This is kind of a dream job for me,” said Boulet, a Lafayette native whose grandfather and uncle were both trainers. “It was kind of surprise, but I’m very excited and humbled by it.”
Boulet and Bradley Bryant, who was named senior director of operations, will take on the duties by Howard “H” Withers, who retired after this year’s meet.
Bryant will supervise the slots, pari-mutuels and customer relations.
“Jason has demonstrated a strong work ethic and his invaluable experience,” Fair Grounds President Tim Bryant said. “He has a great reputation in the racing industry and knows all of the various nuances that come with it.
“Brad was integral to the success we had in the last meet due to his direct involvement in our racing areas, and I am confident he will continue to succeed in the future.”
Bryant also announced Lenny Lantz, who has more than 30 years of experience in gaming-related industries, will be the new director of facilities.
Boulet, who has been at the Fair Grounds for four years and with Churchill Downs Inc., the track’s parent company for eight, said that his chief assistant, Scott Jones, will take on more responsibility in the racing office with the idea that he will eventually assume Boulet’s old title.
Boulet said he felt that the Fair Grounds has turned the corner after addressing the concerns of both horsemen and patrons last year after the Louisiana Racing Commission delayed the track’s license renewal.
“It was pretty rocky there,” Boulet said. “But after we took care of some things, we had a good year and now we’re coming back.
“The bottoming line is that we concentrated on the backside and customer service. We want to continue that and Churchill is committed to it.”
The Fair Grounds’ 143rd season begins Nov. 19. The summer quarter horse season begins Aug. 15.