Eric Halstrom Accepts Post at Louisiana Downs

The longtime racing executive will be the track's new vice president of operations

Midwest Paddock Report

Eric Halstrom will move from Prairie Meadows to become the new vice president of operations at Louisiana Downs.

Eric Halstrom, assistant director of racing at Prairie Meadows, has accepted the position of vice president of operations at Harrah's Louisiana Downs, owned by casino giant Caesar’s Entertainment.

“I really like it here at Prairie,” Halstrom told the Midwest Paddock Report.  “The people here have been so nice. From Ann Atkin (SVP/COO) on down, management has been terrific and Derron Heldt (director of racing) has been great to work with. Really, the entire team here has been wonderful but Louisiana Downs was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

In his time at Prairie Meadows, Halstrom was tasked with finding ways to enhance the customer experience.

“We really focused hard on the customer,” he said.  “The question we asked was ‘how do we make people happier?’  We improved the facilities and stressed customer service with our staff and our numbers are showing that it has been working – and there are more enhancements on the way.  We really have a beautiful facility and is a jewel that deserves to be noticed.”

Prior to Prairie Meadows, Halstrom was at Canterbury Park and spent five years at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

“Minnesota is, and always will be, home to me,” said Halstrom. “But Louisiana is second.  It is a great place for racing, I know the horsemen and regulators and I really feel at home there.”

Halstrom will be stepping in for Trent McIntosh who moved to take over Hoosier Park after Caesar’s acquired Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park for $1.7 billion from Centaur Gaming LLC earlier this year.

With the Indiana acquisitions, Caesar’s portfolio of harness and thoroughbred tracks has grown to five. Though the transition hasn’t been finalized, Halstrom anticipates getting to Louisiana Downs shortly.

“I know that Louisiana Downs has been in good, capable hands with Trent,” said Halstrom.  “And while I’ve loved my time here and all the great people I’ve been able to work with, I am looking forward to getting down there and getting started.”

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