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Evangeline Downs results up

10 September 2007

OPELOUSAS, Louisiana -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino recently finished its 2007 spring/summer season with across-the-board gains in several major categories, including total handle, on-track handle, purse distribution, and average field size for the 89-night meet.

Average field size again this year was the highest in the country at 10.2. Bettors proved their interest in big field racing with an average nightly handle of $1.7 million, 9 percent higher than last year's $1.5 million average. The huge increase was on top of last year's gain of more than 32 percent above the 2005 average.

Despite a reduction of three racing nights, all sources' handle reached an all-time high, with wagering totals of $149,162,803, an increase of more than $6.49 million from last year's breakthrough season. On-track handle showed gains as well, with a total of $6,168,301 wagered at the Louisiana track, compared with last year's $5,829,096.

Increased business and casino proceeds also drove purses to an all-time level. The nightly overnight purse distribution of $180,000 was more than $10,000 higher than last year's, and with the improved stakes program, more than $19.4 million was paid out to horsemen. Nineteen stakes worth more than $1.8 million were contested during the meet, which was highlighted by the $200,000 Evangeline Mile. The average field size for the 893-race meet was more than 10 runners per race, which were the largest in the U.S.

"Our entire team worked above and beyond the call of duty to make this season a success," said Steve Darbonne, Evangeline Downs' director of racing operations. "Construction of a seven-furlong turf course with a 1 1/8-mile chute is set to begin in the near future, and other improvements are also in the planning stages as we continue to strive to make Evangeline Downs the best place to race and wager."

On June 30, an all-time record handle of $2,218,014 million was wagered on Louisiana Legends Night III, a program featuring eleven stakes races worth more than $900,000 restricted to state-bred horses. This eclipsed the previous record of $2,182,506 wagered on the 2006 edition of Louisiana Legends Night.

Racing at Evangeline Downs will resume with quarter horse racing set for September 27 to December 2. The facility will also host the 2008 Quarter Horse Challenge Championships.

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