Fair Grounds Concludes Inaugural Quarter Horse Meet
NEW ORLEANS, La (August 24, 2008) - The inaugural Quarter Horse meet at Fair Grounds concluded Sunday, leaving both track officials and horsemen pleased.
"It was good to see live racing here once again, and that stimulus certainly brought significantly more people to the track than we would have seen on a simulcast day," said Fair Grounds president Randy Soth. "In addition to our fans, we owe a debt of gratitude to our area horsemen, who allowed us to operate under some unique circumstances and supported our efforts at the entry box."
A large majority of the 50 races carded in the five-day meet attracted full fields, including the maximum of 98 horses on Wednesday's 10-race card.
The only damper on the week's activities was rain showers Sunday as the remains of Tropical Storm Fay began to reach southeast Louisiana. The first four days were run under mostly sunny skies.
Juan Vasquez was the meet's leading rider with seven victories, while Janet Van Bebber led all trainers with five wins.
The meet included five stakes, including Sunday's $40,000 Vieux Carre Stakes on closing day, in which D.D. Lightsey's Snowy Alibi covered the 330 yards in a track-record 16.96 seconds, despite the sloppy going.
Snowy Alibi, ridden by Alfonso Lujan for Van Bebber, paid $7.
At Monday's meeting of the Louisiana State Racing Commission, Fair Grounds will request to expand its Quarter Horse schedule in 2009 to 10 days in either August or September.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation's third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds' 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.