Fair Grounds cuts purses, cancels four stakes

Fair Grounds release:

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announced Friday it will cut four stakes and see purse reductions in 12 other stakes as a response to an overall handle decline.

The  Tiffany Lass, Allen Lacombe, Black Gold Stakes, and New Orleans Ladies are all being canceled this year with the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade II Mervin Muniz each having their purses sliced by $100,000 apiece. The Fair Grounds Oaks will now be contested for $400,000 with the Mervin Muniz being run for $300,000.

“Given the early handle performance at the Fair Grounds 2013-14 meet, it has become necessary to make some reductions in purses,” Fair Grounds Track President Tim Bryant said in a statement. “Unfortunately, overall handle in the US dropped by almost 11% year-over-year in the month of December.  This national trend along with an experience in poor weather and fewer races run at the Fair Grounds has created this scenario.

“Rather than impact overnight purses, the Fair Grounds has decided to strategically reduce some of the purses in stakes races.  Fair Grounds has historically set aside more purses for stakes than most tracks.  While this is disappointing, we did consult with horsemen and it is the most prudent course of action.  We are hopeful trends improve so that we do not have to impact overnight purses over the remainder of the Fair Grounds 2013-14 meet.”
The races in which purses have been reduced are:

January 25: Van Berg Stakes ($75,000 to $60,000)                                   March 8: Duncan Kenner ($150,000 to $100,000)
January 25: Gaudin Memorial ($75,000 to $60,000)                                 March 15: Colonel Power ($75,000 to $60,000)
February 1: Battle of New Orleans ($75,000 to $60,000)                        March 29: Crescent City Oaks ($75,000 to $60,000)
February 1: Happy Ticket Stakes ($75,000 to $60,000)                            March 29: Crescent City Derby ($75,000 to $60,000)
February 22: Bayou Handicap ($75,000 to $60,000)                                 March 29: Fair Grounds Oaks ($500,000 to $400,000)
March 4: Mardi Gras Stakes ($75,000 to $60,000)                                    March 29: Mervin Muniz ($400,000 to $300,000)

Cancelled Stakes Races:

February 8: Tiffany Lass
March 1: Allen Lacombe
March 1: Black Gold Stakes
March 8: New Orleans Ladies