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Opening Day Card Attracts 110 Horses
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, November 17, 2012) – Thursday’s 10-race Opening Day Presented by East Jefferson General Hospital program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots attracted a robust 110 entrants (an average of 11 per race), including a star-studded field of sprinters for the $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap. Recent Churchill Downs stakes winner Delaunay will take on two past Fair Grounds Champion sprinters, Gantry and Cash Refund, in the 87th renewal of the traditional Thanksgiving Day feature, which carries a six-figure purse for the first time.
First post for the holiday card is earlier than usual, at 11 a.m. (all times CST), and gates open at 9:30 a.m. Grandstand General Admission is free and Clubhouse General Admission is $10. All Clubhouse Dining reservations for Opening Day are sold out. However, the Grandstand Buffet on the second floor will offer a complete Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings for $29.99 (no reservations necessary).
Prior to the races, at 10:30 a.m., the national anthem will be performed by Covington OTB Manager and 2010 Fair Grounds Talent Show winner Theora Hunt with a colors presentation by the New Orleans Police Department’s mounted patrol.
The Opening Day program concludes with the fifth running of the $60,000 Mr. Sulu Stakes, showcasing a well-matched field of 10 Louisiana-breds at one mile over the Stall-Wilson turf course. Last season’s top state-bred turf horses, Louisiana Champions Day Turf hero String King and Bayou St. John Stakes winner Kissimmee Kyle, will meet in a stakes event for the fifth time in the past 12 months.
Two-time defending leading jockey Rosie Napravnik has calls in eight of the 10 races, including Delaunay in the Thanksgiving ’Cap. Two-time defending leading owner Maggi Moss is represented in three races, including both stakes (all three are to be ridden by Napravnik).
Post time for the final race on Opening Day, the Mr. Sulu, is set for 3:45 p.m.