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Nov 25 2011 - 11:00pm
The 1924 Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold, the dual classic winner Risen Star and the 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway head a list of 12 racing immortals to be represented in the Nov. 26 Fair Grounds Legends Purse, a race featuring contemporary horses competing in the historically accurate “throwback” colors of the most popular runners in the history of the country’s third-oldest racetrack.
The “field” for the Legends Purse will also include (in alphabetical order): filly Blushing K.D., the 1997 Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks heroine; Cabildo, a six-time Fair Grounds stakes winner in the late 1960s; Grindstone, the 1996 Louisiana Derby and Kentucky Derby winner; Lecomte and Lexington, whose match races in the antebellum South at Metairie Race Course are the stuff of American racing legend; Master Derby, the first Louisiana Derby winner to take the Preakness and the first to win the New Orleans Handicap the following season; filly Pan Zareta, a 76-time winner from 1912 to 1917, buried in the Fair Grounds infield; Tenacious, winner of 11 Fair Grounds stakes in the 1950s; and filly Tiffany Lass, undefeated as a 3-year-old, including victories in the Fair Grounds Oaks and the Kentucky Oaks.
Three of the Legends – Black Gold, Pan Zareta and Whirlaway – are enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The Fair Grounds Legends Purse will be a two-turn, main track event run on the first Saturday of the 140th Thoroughbred Racing Season as part of a card that also includes the $75,000 Pago Hop Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Track announcer John G. Dooley will call the names of the legends as if competing against one another in a fantasy race. The Fair Grounds Legends Purse will be a standard pari-mutuel contest, with the only deviations from normal procedure being the silks and the race call from Dooley.
The contemporary horses will be assigned their “throwback” colors according to their morning line odds, a process to be headed by oddsmaker Mike Diliberto. The morning line favorite among the contemporary horses will bear the colors of the foremost legend in Diliberto’s estimation, and so on. The Legends Purse will be drawn with the rest of entries on Wednesday.
The Nov. 26 on-track program will include a centerfold insert depicting the silks of the Legends, along with their biographies and photos.
Make this the featured event for the day(s) on which it occurs.