Race Tracks > Fair Grounds Race Course
Fair Grounds race course Track Facts
- Address: 1751 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70119
- Phone: (504) 944-5515
- Website: www.fairgroundsracecourse.com
- Main Track (Dirt): 1 mile oval
- Chute distances: None
- Stretch length: 1,346 feet
- Surface Composition: Dirt
Opened in 1838, Fair Grounds Race Course the nation’s third-oldest racetrack and one of the nation’s premier racing destinations.
Notable Stakes and Listed Racing Events at Fair Grounds Race Course
- Louisiana Derby (G2) | 3-year-olds going 1-1/8 mi.
- Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) | 3-year-old fillies going 1-1/16 mi.
- New Orleans Handicap (G2) | 4-year-olds & up going 1-1/8 mi.
- Risen Star Stakes (G2) | 3-year-olds going 1-1/16 mi.
- Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes (G2) | 4-year-olds & up going 1-1/8 mi.
- Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) | 3-year-old fillies going 1-1/16 mi.
Fair Grounds Race Course Racing and Track History
As one of the oldest operating racetracks, the Fair Grounds Race Course started hosting thoroughbred races in 1838. The organizers included Bernard de Marigny, a Creole-American nobleman and former President of the Louisiana State Senate, and Henry Augustine Tayloe, a wealthy landowner whose family had long been involved in horse racing.
The track experienced some volatility in the mid-1800’s, as the track re-opened in 1852 as the Union Race Course only to close in 1857 due to increase competition with the Metairie Course. In 1863, the track was renamed to its current name and held racing during the Civil War, but it closed once more after the Metairie Course was reopened (which was being used as a temporary Confederate Army camp). Finally in 1871, former members of the Metairie Jockey Club broke away to begin holding meets at the track. Since then, Fair Grounds has been in continuous operation (aside from a period between 1908 and 1914 when racing was banned New Orleans and in 2005 after suffering heavy damage due to Hurricane Katrina).
Fair Grounds is home to several notable graded stakes races, most notably being the Grade II Louisiana Derby. The Derby is considered a major prep race for the “Run for the Roses”, as it is included in the Road to Kentucky Derby prep series and has points implications for the horses that finish in the top 4. In the race’s history, only two winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby: Black Gold (1924) and Grindstone (1996).