Fair Ground Race Course & Slots has canceled the last four days of the summer Quarter Horse meet due to complications at the New Orleans, La., track caused by Hurricane Isaac.
The meet was scheduled to end Sept. 1, with the final four days postponed due to the storm that moved through the area this week. A mandatory evacuation of the Fair Grounds barn area sent about 700 horses to safer locations throughout the region.
Fair Grounds had hoped to reschedule some of the canceled races next week but the logistics of doing so have proven insurmountable.
Rather than reschedule the final four days, the rest of the meet was canceled by the track after consulting with the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Louisiana State Racing Commission, pending the commission's official approval.
According to a release from the track, storm damage at Fair Grounds included large segments of two barn roofs being blown away, toppled guard shacks and fencing, as well as extensive debris strewn about. The main track was washed out after taking on 20 inches of rain in 48 hours.
Most of New Orleans remains without electricity and surrounding areas continue to deal with catastrophic flooding, the Aug. 31 track release stated.
"With Southeast Louisiana in a state of emergency we could not expect our horsemen to ship in again for just one more start," said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager for racing. "Instead of forcing the issue under trying circumstances, everyone agreed it made sense to let these days go and run the lost races later under better conditions. We are very appreciative of the cooperation and support we have received from the horsemen and the racing commission in making this decision."
The entirety of the remaining funds in the purse account will be used for Quarter Horse races at a later date. Officials are still determining what to do about the $264,480 Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Sales Futurity final, which was scheduled for Sept. 1 with a field of 10 already qualified via trial races held Aug. 15.
Fair Grounds expects the barn area to be fixed and ready to receive horses when the barn area opens Oct. 22 for the 141st Thoroughbred racing season that begins Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22.