OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) — The 2020 Evangeline Downs horse racing season opens Friday, almost three months later than originally scheduled.
Because of the delayed start, Evangeline Downs’ racing schedule will only include 50 days instead of the planned 84 days. The summer meet is still scheduled to end Saturday, Aug. 29. It had been scheduled to begin April 8.
The opening comes a day before Harrah’s Louisiana Downs starts in Bossier City, The Advocate reported. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through Sept. 23.
Neither racetrack will be open for fans to view the racing live from the stands, but the races will be shown on televisions in restaurants and bars. Fans also will be able to wager online and at off-track betting facilities across the country, beginning with Friday’s 5:50 p.m. CDT start time for the nine-race card at Evangeline Downs.
In addition, there will be kiosks throughout the property allowing players in the casino to bet the races.
“It’s kind of building on what we started a couple of weeks ago when we were able to get the casino open,” said David Strow, Boyd Gaming vice president of corporate communications.
“It’s exciting to finally be able to resume operations at Evangeline Downs and get racing back on track. We’re in the bit of a new normal right now, so not everything is the way that we’re accustomed. But we’re exciting to be able to open our racing calendar. There are still ways for our fans to enjoy the races.”
Strow said the track is waiting on direction from the state on when fans will be allowed into the track.
“We’re waiting on direction from the state as to whether a new phase would allow us to have people in the stands and allow us to open the betting windows,” Strow said. “I can’t really speculate on that because that’s not really our call, but we’ll be ready to go when they are.”