Cort's P.B., with Jamie Theriot aboard, sped to the early lead and then held off a late charge by Smalltown Slew for a one-length win in the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap Thursday before a record crowd at Fair Grounds Race Course.The first day of racing at Fair Grounds since Hurricane Katrina drew 8,732, the largest attendance since the current grandstand/clubhouse facility opened Nov. 27, 1997.On a 70-degree day, Thursday's attendance was 17% higher than the opening day attendance of 7,465 on Nov. 25, 2004. The 2004-05 season was Fair Grounds' first under the ownership of Churchill Downs Incorporated.Winning for the seventh time in nine starts this year, Cort's P.B. completed the six furlongs in 1:10.35 and paid $29.60, $11, and $7.40. Smalltown Slew, the 3-1 favorite ridden by Corey Lanerie, closed from eighth in the turn to take second and paid $5.20 and $3.80. Orphan Brigade was another 5 3/4 lengths further back in third in the field of 10 and paid $10.Owned by Maggi Moss and trained by Patrick Mouton, Cort's P.B. collected a winner's share of $45,000 to increase his lifetime earnings to $304,808. Making his first start since Sept. 15 at Louisiana Downs, the 6-year-old Louisiana-bred son of Huff improved his career record to 11-12-6 from 46 starts.Orphan Brigade broke on top but soon gave way to Cort's P.B. as Theriot sent his mount through at fractions of :22.03 for the quarter and the half in :45.83. Smalltown Slew was bumped at the start and fell back, then was sent five wide in the turn to take aim on the leader. Cort's P.B. had opened up a three-length advantage in the stretch as Smalltown Slew gamely closed but could not overcome the margin at the wire.