As racing fans begin to salivate about the royal feast of graded stakes action coming their way Thanksgiving weekend, the state of Louisiana will offer a tasty appetizer this week.

On Thursday, the beloved and historic Fair Grounds in New Orleans kicks off its 144th season of racing. The meet runs through March 27 and is highlighted by the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26. That program also features the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), $400,000 New Orleans H. (G2), and $300,000 Muniz Memorial H. (G2).

Louisiana Derby Preview Day on February 20 features the $400,000 Risen Star (G2) for three-year-olds, Grade 3 preps for the other major Louisiana Derby Day events and two other stakes. Road to the Derby Kickoff Day on January 16, featuring five stakes, is highlighted by the $200,000 Lecomte (G3) for three-year-olds.

Other multiple stakes days during the meet include Louisiana Champions Day on December 12; Santa Super Saturday, featuring six open stakes, on December 19; and the December 26 program which offers three turf stakes.

Starlight Racing under the lights will be held on five Fridays during the meet: November 20, December 18, January 22, February 26, and March 11.

The most significant race of opening week is arguably Saturday’s featured $40,000 conditioned allowance for fillies and mares on the turf. Eden Prairie goes for her sixth win in nine attempts on Fair Grounds’ grass in the about one mile test with Florent Geroux in the saddle.

Although unplaced in her past three starts, Eden Prairie’s fondness for the local sod marks her a serious contender for the major grass stakes for fillies and mares during the meet: the $60,000 Blushing K.D. on December 19, the $60,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial on January 16, and the $60,000 Daisy Devine on February 20. Eden Prairie won the Blushing K.D. and Daisy Devine (formerly the Bayou) last season, and finished second in the Krantz Memorial.

TwinSpires.com is celebrating by offering players the chance to earn 30X points during opening week. Starting Thursday and running through Sunday, play for your chance to earn 30X Points for all of your Fair Grounds wagers during opening week:

  • Cash winning tickets totaling $30 or more on at least three days during opening week at Fair Grounds, November 19 – 22.
  • All players who wager on Fair Grounds will earn Double Points — 4 points per dollar wagered — to be credited the day after wagering.
  • Qualifying players will earn a bonus of 26 Points per dollar wagered during opening week at Fair Grounds, to be credited on or before November 24.