Fair Grounds opens its 132nd season of racing Thursday with the 78th running of the Thanksgiving Handicap serving as the feature. The $60,000 event is headlined by the Steve Asmussen-trained Posse, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and has been installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite. The multiple graded stakes-winning son of Silver Deputy will make his penultimate career start on Thanksgiving Day. He is slated to run in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 before retiring to stud. Jockey Corey Lanerie, who has been aboard for each of Posse's four victories this year, including a Fair Grounds track record-setting performance for five furlongs in March, will be reunited with the 3-year-old on Thursday. Posse's biggest challenge could come from two-time Thanksgiving Handicap winner Bonapaw, who comes into the race off a sharp allowance score at Keeneland. Another challenger is Electrode, who is fresh off back-to-back wins at Louisiana Downs for trainer Cole Norman, which included a stellar victory in the Island Whirl Handicap earlier this month. Electrode will be ridden again by Carlos Gonzalez. Norman has enjoyed success shipping to Fair Grounds before, winning last year's Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap with Beau's Town. Aloha Bold, who was a troubled third behind Bonapaw at Keeneland last month, will be making his second start since being claimed by trainer Wes Hawley for $75,000 during the 2002-03 Fair Grounds meet. Eddie Martin Jr. picks up the mount on Aloha Bold, who has been working well over the local surface.
Price of Honour, winner of his last four starts for Tom Amoss, and Gracie's Dancer, who set the pace in last year's renewal of the Thanksgiving Handicap, round out the field.