100th Louisiana Derby to Highlight FG Meet

Track will host 84 live days of racing in 2012-13.

The Louisiana State Racing Commission has approved an 84-day meet for Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in 2012-13 that will be highlighted by the centennial running of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II).

The meet will run from Nov. 22, 2012, to March 31, 2013 (Easter), with the milestone 100th Louisiana Derby scheduled as part of the meet’s penultimate card on March 30, five weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

The season starts with the traditional Thanksgiving Day opener Nov. 22. In the only significant change from last season’s schedule, racing will be conducted four days per week (except holiday weeks), Thursdays to Sundays, through February. In March racing expands to five days per week, Wednesdays to Sundays. In recent years the season started with five-day weeks before shifting to four-day weeks.

“Assigning more dates toward the end of the season allows us to take advantage of historically better weather in March, which we anticipate will result in a net increase in turf races,” said Fair Grounds president Tim Bryant. “We also have found, for a number of reasons, that it’s easier to attract large and competitive fields later in the meet. This shift should improve the quality of our product from day one.”

Outside of the normal weekly schedule, special holiday cards will be presented on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31, a Monday), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 21, a Monday), Mardi Gras (Feb. 12, a Tuesday), and Washington’s Birthday, also known as Presidents Day (Feb. 18, a Monday).

There will be no live racing on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, when Super Bowl XLVII will be hosted in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.