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Aug 13, 2010

Another purse boost for Louisiana Derby



New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - For the second straight year the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds will receive an increase in purse money. The 1 1/8- mile race for three-year-olds will be worth $1 million an increase of $250,000.

"Our goal is to make the Louisiana Derby the number one Kentucky Derby prep race and a $1 million purse puts us on par with any of them," said Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager Eric Halstrom. "When you consider the nice monthly progression of our three-year-old stakes series, comprised of three graded races that can help a horse accrue the earnings they need to make the Kentucky Derby, along with the reputation of our main track as a forgiving surface that gets horses exceptionally fit, there's no better place to get a promising three-year-old ready for the Triple Crown.

"I'm especially pleased that we were able to substantially boost the Louisiana Derby purse to this historic level without impacting any of the money committed to our hefty overnight purses."

The Louisiana Derby, which will be conducted for a 98th time on March 26, 2011, had its purse boosted this year from $600,000 to $750,000. The other two graded stakes for three-year-olds at the Fair Grounds are the Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes.

"A Louisiana Derby purse boost will make it easier for the top few finishers to amass the graded earnings they need to make the gate for the Kentucky Derby," said Donald R. Richardson, Vice President of Racing for parent company CDI. "This year it took more than $225,000 in graded earnings to be in the Kentucky Derby field, the highest cutoff ever. Next year I believe horsemen are going to be more careful about choosing to run only in the richest graded events."

The 2010 Louisiana Derby was won by Mission Impazible, who finished ninth in the Run for the Roses. Finishing second behind Mission Impazible was A Little Warm, winner of last month's Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga. Drosselmeyer was third and went on to capture the Belmont Stakes.

The track's 2010-11 live racing season will beginning Thanksgiving Day, November 25 and conclude on Sunday, March 27.

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