Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds

Alexander Barkoff

Fair Grounds Meet to Open Thanksgiving Day

Nov. 22 opener continues 114-year tradition of live racing on Thanksgiving Day.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will continue a 114-year tradition with live racing Thanksgiving Day as the 84-day 2012-13 meet will open with a 10-race holiday card Nov. 22.

As it is for most of the meet, general admission on Thanksgiving Day will be free at the New Orleans, La., track. The opening-day feature is the Thanksgiving Handicap, which has had its purse boosted to $100,000 for the 87th renewal.

Fair Grounds has scheduled 56 stakes worth $7,435,000 for the meet, highlighted by the 100th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II), a key prep for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). Also on that March 30 card, which will offer more than $2.5 million in purses, is the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), which has produced five of the last eight winners of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

Three Fair Grounds' stakes for 3-year-olds are part of a new points-based qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby. The Louisiana Derby is one of seven races that will offer the maximum 170 points (100 for first, 40 for second, 20 for third, 10 for fourth). The Feb. 23 Risen Star Stakes (gr. II), which joins the Louisiana Derby as part of the Championship Series, will offer 85 points (50-20-10-5) and the Jan. 19 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) will be worth a total of 17 points (10-4-2-1).

Under a similar point system for 3-year-old fillies aspiring to the Kentucky Oaks, the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) will be one of the premier 170-point (100-40-20-10) stakes, the Rachel Alexandra (gr. III) will be worth 85 points (50-20-10-5), and the Silverbulletday will offer 17 points (10-4-2-1).

Fair Grounds Stakes Schedule