Fair Grounds Race Course

BET Fair Grounds live racing here!

Address: 1751 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70119

Phone: 1-504-944-5515

Website: https://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/

A map of Fair Grounds Racecourse near me

Fair Grounds Race Course Facts

Main Dirt Track: 1 mile oval

Attendance Capacity: 85,000 - 90,000

Main Dirt Track Stretch: 1,346 ft

Chute Distances: none

Turf Course: 7 furlong oval

Opened in 1838, Fair Grounds Race Course the nation’s third-oldest racetrack and one of the nation's premier racing destinations. Fair Grounds Racecourse runs August - September and November - March.

A map of Fair Grounds Racecourse near me

Opened in 1838, Fair Grounds Race Course the nation’s third-oldest racetrack and one of the nation's premier racing destinations. Fair Grounds Racecourse runs August - September and November - March.

Today's Races

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Race Type

NOTABLE FAIR GROUNDS RACING EVENTS

DATE
RACE
PURSE / RESTRICTIONS
SURFACE / DISTANCE
Nov 17
DORIS HEBERT MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 3YO/UP FILLIES & MARES
Dirt / 6 FURLONGS
JOHN VALENE MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 3YO/UP FILLIES & MARES
Dirt / 1 MILE 70 YARDS
DONOVAN L. FERGUSON MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 2YO FILLIES
Dirt / 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Nov 18
LARRY D. ROBIDEAUX MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 3YO/UP
Dirt / 6 FURLONGS
JACOB V. MORREALE MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 3YO/UP
Dirt / 1 MILE 70 YARDS
JOSEPH R. PELUSO MEMORIAL STAKES (LA)
$75,000 / 2YO
Dirt / 5 1/2 FURLONGS
Nov 23
THANKSGIVING CLASSIC
$200,000 / 3YO/UP
Dirt / 6 FURLONGS
  • G2 Louisiana Derby | 3-year-olds going 1-1/8 mi.
  • G2 Fair Grounds Oaks | 3-year-old fillies going 1-1/16 mi.
  • G2 New Orleans Handicap | 4-year-olds & up going 1-1/8 mi.
  • G2 Risen Star | 3-year-old going 1-1/16 mi.

Important Races:

  • Lecomte Stakes: Saturday, January 19
    • Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race
  • Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds: Saturday, January 19
    • Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race
  • Risen Star Stakes: Saturday, February 16
    • Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race
  • Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds: Saturday, February 16
    • Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race
  • Louisiana Derby: Saturday, March 23
    • Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race
  • Fair Grounds Oaks: Saturday, March 23
    • Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race
  • Muniz Memorial handicap at Fair Grounds: Saturday, March 23
  • New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds: Saturday March 23

WHAT TO DO AT FAIR GROUNDS RACE COURSE

Whether in the casino or the racetrack, there are plenty of places to grab a bite at the Big Easy track. The reservation-recommended Clubhouse dining room is great for more formal occasions, or there is the DeSaix Deli and Gentilly Grill in the slots parlor.The racetrack also offers a ton of great events for patrons, including live music and giveaways.

FAIR GROUNDS RACECOURSE HISTORY

New Orleans has been home to horse racing since 1852 when Union Course ran its first Harness race and opened to Thoroughbreds in 1853. In the mid-1850's, Union Course closed and gave way to Creole Course and the Metairie Trotting and Pacing Club. It was 1861 when Confederate troops converged on the race course, halted racing, and converted the site to a military encampment called Camp Walker. The first American race track to use a post parade and pari-mutuel wagering starting in the 1900's, though horse racing was halted again for eight years after the Locke Law was passed in 1908. Avoiding the wrecking ball in 1941, being rebuilt after a seven-alarm fire in 1993 and the 2005 floods of Hurricane Katrina, Fair Grounds bounced back to see some of racing's greatest horses turn in their brightest performances: from Pan Zareta to Whirlaway, Wild Again to Tiffany Lass, Risen Star to Grindstone.

Founded in 1852, the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans is as historical as it gets. The Fair Grounds has survived the Civil War, a devastating fire in New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina. Some locals (and many non-locals including me!) believe that the Fair Grounds is haunted. Why not? When a racetrack is located in one of the oldest and most haunted cities in North America, it's bound to have some ghosts walking its grounds, right?


Check some of the greatest races, and horses, to ever run at the Fair Grounds

Risen Star

Risen Star was Louisiana through and through. Although bred in Kentucky, Louis Roussel owned and trained the horse. The great Louisiana rider Eddie Delhoussaye rode the horse. Risen Star won both the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes as well as the Louisiana Derby, then a Grade 3, in 1988. He won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in 1988 before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.

He'd go on to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Risen Star holds the record for the second fastest Belmont Stakes ever run. The only horse to run it faster than Risen Star is his sire, Secretariat.


Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Grindstone, 1996

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Grindstone, a son of Unbridled, parlayed a first place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a second place finish in the Arakansas Derby into a Kentucky Derby win in 1996. The great Jerry Bailey rode Grindstone in both the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby wins. Unfortunately, they discovered bone chips in Grindstone's knees only 5 days after his Derby win. Grindstone retired before the 1996 Preakness Stakes.


Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, Palace Malice, 2014

The 2013 Belmont Stakes winner came back as one of the best thoroughbreds in the nation in 2014. He easily took home the New Orleans Handicap as a 6/5 shot in 2014. Palace Malice also won the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in 2014 as well as winning the Grade 3 Westchester and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap before winning the New Orleans. Trainer Todd Pletcher had Palace Malice on his toes for most of 2014. He was unbeatable until his inexplicable sixth place finish in the Whitney that August.


Grade 2 Fairgrounds Oaks, Rachel Alexandra, 2009

Although Rachel Alexandra went off at 30 cents on the dollar to win the Grade 2 Fairground Oaks in 2009, The FG Oaks was only her second race after upsetting Dream Empress and Sara Louise in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. Th Golden Rod started Rachel on a 9 race win streak that ended with a win over the boys in the 2009 Woodward Stakes. In 2009, Rachel also won the Preakness Stakes over the boys, and beat her female peers in the Kentucky Oaks. She became the Eclipse Award Winner for Horse of the Year in 2009.


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)

Fair Grounds Race Course – located in historic Mid-City on Gentilly Blvd. in New Orleans, Louisiana – has a long, complicated history that has seen it rise from the ashes of war, development, flood and fire.

The grounds upon which Fair Grounds currently sits has been the site of horse racing since before the Civil War. Union Course opened its first meet on September 25, 1852, conducting its first race for pacers. One year later on April 1, 1853, it staged the first Thoroughbred meeting.

Union Course closed down in 1857 but reopened two years later as Creole Course under the authority of the Metairie Trotting and Pacing Club. Just two years later, though, the Confederacy assumed control of the grounds and converted it into a military encampment known as Camp Walker.

Union soldiers occupied New Orleans in 1862, and Creole Race Course eventually evolved into the Mechanics and Agriculture Fair Grounds, also called the Louisiana Fair Grounds Course. During the war, it served multiple uses such as a venue for boxing, baseball, bull and bear fights, as well as horse racing.

The Metairie Jockey Club reorganized following the war and resumed racing from 1867-1872, but infighting broke out between the old and new guard. In 1871, the younger members revived the Louisiana Jockey Club, renovated the track and, on April 13, 1872, hosted the inaugural day of racing at Fair Grounds.

In 1873, pari-mutuel wagering was offered to bettors and by 1900 Fair Grounds was the only track in the country that accepted and continued the system.

During that time, Fair Grounds passed through different management hands and organizations before the Locke Law ended racing in 1908 at the New Orleans track for seven years.

Racing resumed on January 1, 1915, but four years later a fire destroyed the grandstand. It took only four days for a temporary facility to be constructed and a 54-day meet took place.

The Depression Era almost saw Fair Grounds sold off and developed into a subdivision. On January 2, 1941, the track went on the auction block and was saved at the last moment by a group of New Orleans horsemen/businessmen.

The next 40 years saw such luminaries as Whirlaway, Bill Shoemaker and John Henry compete at the track. In 1981, turf racing was introduced as the Stall-Wilson turf course was installed.

Fair Grounds was devastated by a seven-alarm fire on December 17, 1993, which completely destroyed the grandstand, but racing continued after temporary facilities were constructed.

A new grandstand and clubhouse facility opened on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1997, and Fair Grounds soon established itself as a wintering ground for major stables around the country. Champions and Triple Crown prospects all began using the track to kick off a new season of racing.

Churchill Downs Inc. bought Fair Grounds for $47 million in September 2004 but just one year later the track suffered severe damage when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Though that year’s meet was transferred to Louisiana Downs while repairs were made, Fair Grounds was back up and running for the 135 season of racing on Thanksgiving Day 2006. In 2013, the track hosted the 100th edition of the Louisiana Derby.

Today, Fair Grounds continues its century’s old tradition of offering racing and entertainment to all. The track began hosting the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1972, earning the local economy around $300 million annually as it attracts hundreds of thousands of fans each year.

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