Watch and Wager On I'll Have Another at Fair Grounds and Fair Grounds OTB Casinos
NEW ORLEANS (Friday, June 1, 2012) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and its 10 OTB Casino locations throughout Southeast Louisiana will open early June 9 for wagering on the entire Belmont Stakes Day card from Belmont Park, where Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winnerI’ll Have Another will attempt to become Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, and the first since 1978.
All Fair Grounds facilities will be open by 10 a.m. (all times CDT), more than a half-hour before first post from Belmont at 10:35 a.m. The 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” – the Belmont Stakes – will be at approximately 5:30 p.m.
J. Paul Reddam’s I’ll Have Another – trained by Doug O’Neill and set to be ridden once again by 25-year-old rapidly ascending star jockey Mario Gutierrez – will try to end a 34-year Triple Crown drought that has seen the last 12 Derby and Preakness winners falter in the final leg.
Several top 3-year-olds are lining up for their final chance to win a Triple Crown event, including two that had excuses in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness for this opportunity. Derby show horse Dullahan was forced seven-wide into the stretch at Churchill Downs but still managed to close within two lengths of the winner, while seventh-place finisher Union Rags was squeezed at the start and steadied on the second turn, a trip that never afforded the juvenile sensation a chance to show his best.
Others considered probable for the Belmont include Paynter, a talented allowance winner trained by Bob Baffert; Optimizer, 11th in the Derby and sixth in the Preakness; Atigun, a Churchill Downs allowance winner; Unstoppable U, a recent Belmont allowance winner; Five Sixteen, to be ridden by two-time Fair Grounds leading jockey Rosie Napravnik; Guyana Star Dweej, a New York-based longshot; and Street Life, third behind Louisiana Derby runner-up Mark Valeski in Belmont’s Peter Pan Stakes.
There will be a $1 million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick Six and a $1 million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick Four.
Advance Wagering will be available on the entire Belmont Day card Friday during regular OTB hours.
Fair Grounds will offer Belmont Day simulcasting on the first and second floors of the Grandstand, as well as the OTB locations: Boutte, Chalmette, Covington, Elmwood, Gretna, Houma, Kenner, LaPlace, Metairie and Thibodaux. For details on locations and hours visit www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/otb/video-poker.
Handicapping Happy Hours
A new summer series of “Handicapping Happy Hours” kicks off on June 8, the eve of the Belmont Stakes, from 6-7 p.m. at the Metairie OTB Casino. Fair Grounds handicappers Jim Mulvihill and Brian Kohn will host the free seminar previewing the next day’s blockbuster Belmont card, while also giving out tips on Friday night’s races of interest from around the country. There will be happy hour drink specials and prize giveaways for those in attendance. Future Handicapping Happy Hour dates include June 15, the eve of the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs, and July 6, the eve of the Summit of Speed at Calder Casino & Race Course.