Three Fair Grounds races will have new distances in their next runnings. The Old Hickory and Pontalba Stakes will both be run at 5 1/2 furlongs instead of the past six-furlong distance, and the Black Gold Handicap will move up from 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. The Louisiana Derby is scheduled for March 11, 2001.
Fair Grounds has doubled its “Great Post Challenge” bonus—now awarding $1 million to any horse which wins both the grade II Louisiana Derby and the grade I Kentucky Derby in 2001. The bonus was worth $500,000 in 2000. The track announced its 2000-2001 stakes schedule Thursday. A total of 60 stakes races are scheduled to offer $6.95 million in purses. Another addition is the change in name of the Davona Dale Stakes to the Silverbulletday Stakes. That grade III Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. III) prep is scheduled for Feb. 17.