It is the responsibility of the LAHBPA to help grow our industry and provide our horsemen the best opportunity to succeed financially and to compete with other racing jurisdictions. During the past several years it has become evident that our thoroughbred horsemen have only had the opportunity to compete for adequate purse money six months out the year (October through March). The other six months of the year, our horsemen participate, at lower purses, which prompt some to leave the state and race in other racing jurisdictions. Recognizing this dilemma and to prevent it from adversely affecting the industry, the LAHBPA worked directly with Senator LaFleur in proposing legislation that would provide a mechanism to transfer a portion of purse money from one Licensed Eligible Facility (Race Track) to another Licensed Eligible Facility (Race Track). This legislation, SB 525 was filed and ultimately passed by both houses and signed into law on May 30, 2018. The LAHBPA met directly with Boyd Gaming, the owner of Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs Race Tracks to formulate a reasonable transfer of purse monies that would benefit our horsemen and the industry during the summer months of racing. The proposed transfer would have maintained overnight purses at Delta Downs at approximately $195,000 and increased the overnight purses at Evangeline Downs to approximately $170,000 (2018 meet, EVD was $130,000). The Racing Commission denied the purse transfer on August 27, 2018 after a presentation by Louisiana Downs that included edited video and the transfer law stated with a key word omitted. The LAHBPA has asked the Commission to reconsider their decision.
It has been suggested by the LQHBA that the LAHBPA is “Cherry-Picking what facility gets what purse money.” The LAHBPA is simply working within those avenues that are available to HELP OUR MEMBERS. Boyd has agreed to transfer these purse funds to another facility that they own. They have not expressed that they are willing to transfer funds to a facility they do not own.
The proposed purse transfer does NOT change the amount of purses at Louisiana Downs. An increase in summer purses will incentivize more horsemen to participate in Louisiana racing next summer. We fully expect some of these horsemen will also participate at Louisiana Downs. Instead of increasing their efforts to successfully compete in the Bossier City gaming market, Louisiana Downs management has repeatedly sought to reduce the number of race days that they are required to run. The Louisiana HBPA has responded that we oppose a reduction in race dates. Louisiana Downs management has yet to make any proposals, other than reducing their race dates, to the Louisiana HBPA. Please contact the Racing Commissioners and urge them to approve the purse transfer.
The President and Board of the Louisiana HBPA.