Fair Grounds

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New Executives Named at Fair Grounds

Austin Miller and Eric Halstrom have been appointed president and vice president of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, parent company Churchill Downs Inc. announced Oct. 27. Halstrom additionally was named general manager of racing.

Valenzuela Wins 4,000th Race

Valenzuela Wins 4,000th Race

Patrick Valenzuela, whose career as a jockey has been both troubled and brilliant, won his 4,000th race Oct. 9. His milestone victory came at Louisiana Downs aboard Burst of Light in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming event.

Conner Named FG Marketing Director

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Mark Conner, a 16-year veteran of the gaming industry, has been named the new director of marketing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

CDI: 2007 Challenges, 2008 Opportunities

CDI: 2007 Challenges, 2008 Opportunities

Churchill Downs Inc. is asking for patience in seeing financial rewards from what it termed an $80 million investment into the advance deposit wagering industry in 2007, and promises to act on opportunities for the company's progress in 2008.

Pyro Makes Statement in La. Derby Win

Pyro Makes Statement in La. Derby Win

The doubters said that Pyro's last-to-first victory in the Risen Star (gr. III) was not as good as it looked. There won't be much for the skeptics to say after the Pulpit colt's latest performance, a commanding three-length score in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) March 8 at Fair Grounds, a victory that cemented the Steve Asmussen trainee as one of the top two 3-year-olds in the country.

Proudinsky Tops Daytona at Fair Grounds

Proudinsky Tops Daytona at Fair Grounds

Last December, Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky lost the San Gabriel Handicap (gr. IIT) to the Dan Hendricks-trained Daytona by just three-quarters of a length. But roles were reversed March 8, as Proudinsky nipped Daytona in the stretch of the $600,000 Mervyn Munitz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).

NO 'Cap: Circular Quay Nips Grasshopper

NO 'Cap: Circular Quay Nips Grasshopper

Sometimes change is a good thing. Just ask trainer Todd Pletcher, who not only added blinkers to his struggling 4-year-old colt Circular Quay, but shipped him back to Fair Grounds, the site of his only win in eight previous starts. The moves paid off, as Circular Quay outfought a stubborn Grasshopper in a terrific stretch duel to take the $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) by a half-length March 8.

Louisiana Derby Should Provide Answers

Louisiana Derby Should Provide Answers

With less than two months until the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), it is time that some of the highly-touted 3-year-olds begin to answer our questions. Many of those answers will be provided March 8 at Fair Grounds, when nine top challengers will do battle in the $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

Daytona Heads Mervyn Muniz Memorial 'Cap

Daytona Heads Mervyn Muniz Memorial 'Cap

Dan Hendricks saddled Daytona to four consecutive stakes victories in the past five months, his most recent being the Feb. 9 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT). In the March 8 Mervyn Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds, the trainer looks to extend that streak and add another graded win to his runner's resume.

Grasshopper Good to Go in New Orleans

Grasshopper Good to Go in New Orleans

The $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) is shaping up just like the Feb. 9 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) did, and that's fine as far as Neil Howard is concerned. The trainer sends 4-year-old Grasshopper to the March 8 event looking for the same form the colt showed in his Mineshaft victory - and Howard fully expects similar results.

Pyro Early Favorite in Louisiana Derby

Pyro Early Favorite in Louisiana Derby

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Pyro, who stamped himself as a leading Triple Crown contender after his win in last month's Risen Star Stakes (gr. III), is the 7-5 morning-line choice in a field of nine 3-year-olds entered in the March 8 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds.

Grasshopper Tackles Mineshaft

Grasshopper Tackles Mineshaft

Todd Pletcher trainee Magna Graduate has not scored a win since April 2007 and the Neil Howard-trained Grasshopper has not raced since a second-place finish in the Super Derby Sept. 22. Both are looking for a return to their winning ways in the $150,000 Mineshaft Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9.

Better Talk Now in FG Handicap

Better Talk Now in FG Handicap

The ageless Better Talk Now, winner of the 2004 John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) and a graded-stakes winner each of the last five years, heads the field for the $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT), part of Louisiana Derby (gr. II) Preview Day Feb. 9 at Fair Grounds.

Pyro, Z Fortune Head Risen Star

Pyro, Z Fortune Head Risen Star

Winchell Thoroughbreds' homebred Pyro will make his 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Risen Star Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Feb. 9, but don't think the Steve Asmussen trainee lacks experience. Prior to a Feb. 5 move over the Louisiana oval, his last two works were impressive bullets fired in company with 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin.

Fair Grounds Winners Pay Well

Fair Grounds Winners Pay Well

The four ungraded $100,000 stakes races at Fair Grounds' "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day" were all about gate-to-wire wins and solid payoffs, as all but one of the winners paid more than $10 while setting or contesting the pace to do so at the Louisiana track Jan. 12.

Blackberry Road Favored in Lecomte

Blackberry Road Favored in Lecomte

Dogwood Stable's Blackberry Road may be the 7-2 morning line choice for the $100,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III), but he'll face two unbeaten runners, a graded stakes winner, and an impressive 9 1/4 length victor when a field of nine heads to the post at the Fair Grounds Jan. 12.

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