Author: Kevin Kilroy

New Orleans, LA (November 24, 2022)—Surrounded by a spirited crowd and a festival atmosphere, Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch, and Keith Desormeaux’s  Surveillance feasted upon the field to win the 98th running of the $175,000 Thanksgiving Classic. Some handicappers might call him a horse for the course, some might say the six furlong distance suits him best, but his trainer thinks he knows why all four of the Kentucky-bred son of Constitution’s wins have come at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. 

“He loves the surface  here, he loves James (jockey Graham), or an even simpler explanation: the horse just might be Cajun,” Desormeux said in the winner’s circle.

In a field of seven sprinting across a fast main track, Chattalot broke sharply to the lead and moved through the opening fractions in 22.12 and 45.16. The filly Carribean Caper kept closest to the leader, but after maintaining a one length lead at the stretch call, Chattalot opened up late and he appeared poised to wire the field. After stalking on the rail from mid-pack, the 1.10-1 favorite Heart Rhythm battled past the filly in the homestretch, but right when he struck for the lead, the dappled-out gray Surveillance came hustling on the outside of those two to take over late and win by a half-length. Heart Rhythm rallied on terms with the winner, but settled for second. It was another two lengths back to the pacesetting Chattalot, who dug in for third. Carribean Caper rounded out the superfecta. 

“(Surveillance) can be a little bit tricky,” Graham said. “I was happy where I was sitting (coming out of the turn), and when I squeezed him, he went. He didn’t slow down much coming toward the wire.”

Surveillance’s backers cashed in their tickets for $10.80 at the windows, and with the Classic trophy in hand, Desormeaux explained how he used the recent Bet On Sunshine Stakes at Churchill Downs to ready his gelding for the win.

“Him being a tricky horse is an understatement,” Desormeaux said echoing Graham’s comment. “I know it seems different for me to run him back ten days after another stake. But the horse is really difficult to train and I actually used that stake as a prep for this race.”

With $346,367 lifetime earnings in the bank and a career record of 20-4-3-5, the honorary Cajun will no doubt sleep well in his Fair Grounds’ stall tonight.

Racing resumes at Fair Grounds’ regular 1:15 p.m. CT post time Friday through Sunday.

 

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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

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TEC Racing’s Heart Rhythm aims to do more than just win the Thanksgiving Classic: It’s CRPS Awareness Month

 

New Orleans, LA (November 21, 2022) – A new addition has been added to the horseracing fan’s bucket list – Thanksgiving Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. On Thursday, decked out in their Kentucky Derby finest but with the volume turned up to “Mardi Gras” decibels, locals young and old will descend on the horse track that has been integral to the city’s unique culture for 151 years. 

Across the country on Thanksgiving, some families gather at Grandma’s house while others plan their day around football. Nearly every racing fan among them would trade places with one of the tens of thousands who celebrate the New Orleans tradition of dressing up, stepping out and seeing the horses run on Thanksgiving Day. New Orleanian songwriter Allen Touissant sang it best: “We’ve got our own kind of thing / It’s a New Orleans thing.” 


The centerpiece of the celebration is when older sprinters line up in the gates for the 98th running of the $175,000 Thanksgiving Classic. 


“It’s crazy,” New Orleans native and trainer of Thanksgiving Classic contender Carribean Caper Al Stall Jr. said. “They come out dressed in vintage clothing and homemade hats. To me that’s a very underreported phenomenon. I think a lot of the service industry people who are off that day have been at the center of it all. They’ve been coming out and pumping big time energy into that day. It’s also a homecoming for locals and horse people who had gone out of town. There are just  a lot of factors that come into play to make it a special day.”


John Ortiz stables the morning line favorite in this year’s edition, Heart Rhythm. A newcomer to the barn, Ortiz claimed Heart Rhythm for $100,000 on behalf of owner Elliott Logan of TEC Racing this past September at Churchill Downs. In that race, he finished 6th behind foes he’ll face again in the Classic, Ready to Pounce and Surveillance.


“I think this horse will like the distance,” Ortiz said. “I think the long stretch at Fair Grounds will be good for him. His last race was 6 1/2 (furlongs) so I like that he’ll have a big kick cutting back in distance for that long stretch. We shipped him in right after the Keeneland race, I knew this is where I would go with him.”


Making his first start under Ortiz’ care, Heart Rhythm dazzled the Keeneland crowd winning a $140,000 Allowance, defeating Chattlaot, who he’ll face again in the Classic and inspiring his connections to aim for his first stakes victory. The barn’s go-to rider Rey Gutierrez will be aboard and hustling the Flat Out 4-year-old from gate one, looking to add to his impressive total of five opening weekend wins in 12 mounts. Gutierrez will don TEC Racing’s orange CRPS awareness month silks. Ortiz reports that owner Elliott Logan will be donating any winnings from the Classic, and all his horses’ races this month, to charity in hopes of finding a cure for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Logan’s daughter Taylor battles this race disease.


After missing races for various reasons throughout the year, Caribbean Caperr’s fitness will be tested. Facing males for the first time, so will her talent. 


“For fillies to beat males, it takes talent,” Stall said. “For whatever reason, history tells you that fillies sprint pretty well against the boys. Safely Kept won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Meafara got nipped in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in Miami. Kimari was like 4-1 against the boys this past year. At short distances it seems like speed is speed.”


If she can return to her 2021 form, she could very well be the heir to last year’s winner Just Might’s Thanksgiving Classic crown. Caribbean Caper went a perfect five-for-five as a 3-year-old, but she has been kept off the track for most of her 4-year-old campaign, running just once and losing by 4 1/2 lengths to Fille d’Espirit on Aug 16 at Colonial Downs. 


“Trying to find a race back for a horse who has no conditions is really, really tough,” Stall said. “We entered her all over and we couldn’t get a race to fill. I’m talking Horseshoe Indianapolis, Thistledown and Ellis Park. We ran her in that race at Colonial Downs and knew she would need it.  Then we pointed to the TCA at Keeneland and everything was 100%. Woke up the morning of the race and she had a 102.1 fever. Nothing was wrong with her, so she got over that in no time at all.” 


Starting from post six in this field of seven, she’ll get a chance to let the break unfold before Colby Hernandez decides to use her early or stalk near the lead. She is 4-1 on the morning line. Stall looks to win this race for the fourth time in the past seven years. Yockey’s Warrior won it twice in 2016 & 2017. Bobby’s Wicked One more recently in 2019.


Steve Asmussen has won the Classic six times, and his 3-year-old Bloom Racing Stable and David A Bernsen’s Chattalot will try to replicate his win across the track as a 2-year-old in the Sugar Bowl. The lone need-the-lead runner in the field, Chattalot will break from gate four under jockey Adam Beschizza. The 6-1 morning-line 3-year-old is a perfect two-for-two at Fair Grounds. Steve Asmussen’s entry would not only give him his seventh Classic, but also one more win towards 10,000. He has 9,944 as of Monday Nov 21. 


New Orleanian Tom Amoss has won this race three times. BCWT Ltd’s Long Weekend is in his care, but with Amoss currently on suspension, Chris Richard takes over the training duties of in the interim. The son of Majesticperfection will likely be duking it out with Chattalot on the front end.  


“Tom’s main concern for this horse is he wants him to break sharp,” assistant trainer Kinnon LaRose said. “When this horse breaks sharp and is on the front end or close to the front end that’s where he’s done his best running. That’s what we’ve been focusing on these last couple of weeks is getting his mind right and trying to get him to break sharp from the gate and be forward in the race.”


For just shy of a month, Long Weekend held the fastest 6-furlong time of Fair Grounds’ 2021 – 2022 meet. On that day in February he was able to get the early jump on the field and cruise through soft early fractions before emboldening down the stretch and emptying his tanks to run the final 2 furlongs in 23.64 seconds. He hasn’t been back to the winner’s circle since. Marcelino Pedroza Jr. will climb aboard after riding him at Horseshoe Indianapolis in his last two races. The seven-time winner drew post five and was made the second-favorite by Mike Diliberto at 7-2. 


If there is a horse-for-the-course in the field, those honors would go to Big Chief Racing LLC Rocker O Ranch L’s Surveillance. Fair Grounds was the site of his spring 2022 coming-out party, going two-for-two on the main track along with a score sprinting on the turf. That accounts for all three of his career wins. After a string of five in-the-money finishes, this 5-year-old by Constitution ran 5th last out on Nov 16 in the Bet On Sunshine at Churchill. Trainer Keith Desourmeaux calls upon last year’s leading rider James Graham. Made 9-2 by Diliberto, Surveillance drew post three.


Lotthenbach Stable’s Ready to Pounce proved he belongs in stakes company after earning a 93 Brisnet Speed figure, his fastest, and finishing in second ahead of Surveillance and Heart Rhythm in Sept at Churchill. The More Than Ready 4-year-old is trained by Neil Pessin and will be ridden by Jareth Loveberry from gate two. He is 6-1 on the morning line.


Drawn to the far outside in gate seven, Richard Davis’ 3-year-old colt Simply Wicked enters the Classic after winning a conditional allowance event at Delta Downs on Oct 7. Stakes-placed as a 2-year-old, this son of Wicked Strong was able to run down Chattalot in a 5 furlong contest at Delta in February. Tabbed at 10-1, the Robertino Diodoro-trainee will be piloted by David Cohen.


On this day, you would not believe it if someone told you that horse racing didn’t hold the same spot in American hearts as it did throughout the first half of the 20th century. Whoever finds their way to the winner’s circle will be showered with cheers from a sea of Thanksgiving’s most stylish revelers. 


Thanksgiving festivities begin early with a first post at noon CT. The Thanksgiving Classic is scheduled for 3:30 pm CT and it is programmed as race eight of the nine-race card. 

 

TEC Racing’s Heart Rhythm is here to do more than win the Thanksgiving Classic: It’s CRPS Awareness Month


Trainer John Ortiz will be at Fair Grounds on Thanksgiving to watch the newest member of his barn run in the Thanksgiving Classic for one very special reason – Taylor Logan. 


“I will be there because this race is pretty important for the owner’s family,” Ortiz said. Elliott Logan (of TEC Racing) has a daughter with CRPS, a rare disease she is battling, and November is the awareness month.”


Maybe you’ve noticed them at Woodbine or at Churchill. The orange and white silks with an orange ribbon that reads “TAL” at the top and “CPRS Fighter” on the sides. Taylor is the one who designed these silks, and the jockeys and trainers are racing for her, along with the 200,000 others across the U.S. affected by this rare disease with no cure, described as the most painful in the world.   


“We’re gonna change the silks to the orange ones she designed, which is the recognition color,” Ortiz said. “We are going to run this race in her honor. It is a very painful disease she struggles with.”


Jockey Rey Gutierrez will don TEC Racing’s CRPS awareness silks in the Thanksgiving Classic.


“Whatever earnings he (Elliot Logan) makes this month he will be donating to the charity for fighting this disease,” Ortiz said. “That’s why it’s so important to win this race not just for the horse’s sake, not for the money’s sake, not for Thanksgiving’s sake, but to bring awareness so we can hopefully help find a cure. Horses can make people feel better. Sometimes we just focus on the wrong part of it, and I am glad that we have a story to share. That’s why it’s important for us to be down (at Fair Grounds).”


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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

Thanksgiving Day Crowd_2021_2

New Orleans, LA (November 19, 2022)—Proving yet again to have the most deft late-kick in Louisiana, Allied Racing Stable’s Who Took the Money won the $75,000 Scott’s Scoundrel for older state-bred routers on day two of Louisiana Champions Preview Weekend at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

In a field full of dangerous front runners, it was Big Chopper who made the lead over a track labeled sloppy. Pressed by Allied Racing’s Highland Creek through opening fractions of 23.66 and 46.77, Big Chopper capitulated the lead to Highland Creek as Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star came forward from third. As the .90-1 favorite, Who Took the Money rounded the second turn and began to unleash. Behemah Star grinded past Highland Creek for a temporary lead but he could not match strides with jockey Deshawn Parker and Who Took the Money late, as he bounded home to score by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:42.09 for 1 mile 70 yards. Behemah Star and Highland Creek dug in to hold second and third, respectively.

“That big kick, I tell you,” Deshawn Parker said. “You never think he is going to fire and then he takes off. I just do what he wants me to do. You can tap him down the backside, and he doesn’t give you nothing. As soon as you turn for home, you tap him, he just takes off.”

With this win, Who Took the Money has a 13-9-0-2 record and $392,677 to prove it. If this 4-year-old holds his form, Who Took the Money will be tough to handle on Louisiana Champions Day (Dec 10).

 

Brian’s Iron Mike Wins his First Stake in the Monte Man


Hat Racing has a serious 3-year-old who you might not have known before today. Brian’s Iron Mike, a son of Iron Fist, powered home down the rail to upset Bertie’s Galaxy in the 1st running of the 6-furlong Monte Man Stakes for older Louisiana-breds. It was his first stakes win, and his trainer Allen Landry reports he will look for his second in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint on Dec 10.

Drawn on the rail to the inside of the .90-1 favorite Bertie’s Galaxy, Brian’s Iron Mike took a hard right out of the gate, bumping that rival and forcing him to revert to off the pace tactics. Scarlettsblackjack seized the opportunity and led the field around the sloppy track in 21.53 and 44.94 seconds through the first two calls. The front half of the field bunched up at the turn, and Brian’s Iron Mike waited for an opening to make his move. First passing Takes Two to Tango who raced in third from go to whoa, Brian’s Iron Mike slid down the rail past Scarlettsblackjack, who held on for second. Winning by 1 3/4 lengths and stopping the clock at 1:10.32, the roan gelding rewarded his $2 backers with $11.60.

“He broke good,” jockey Joe Stokes said. “There was a lot of speed in the race. Coming down the lane it got a little tight but when it opened up, I asked him and he went.”

“Coming off of that long race against Who Took the Money (at Delta Downs), we knew he would be fit,” Allen Landry said. “He shows up every time.”

With a 4-3-2 record 10 races into his career, Brian’s Iron Mike has the form to keep piling on to his $177,500 lifetime earnings.

 

Not On Herb is Piloted with Confidence to Win the Joseph R. Peluso  

The local 2-year-old colts clashed at 5 1/2 furlongs in the 1st running of the $75,000 Joseph R. Peluso Memorial, and everyone who was not on Not On Herb tore up their tickets at the end as Ivery Sisters Racing and trainer Ron Faucheux’s newest star extended his perfect record.

Blackteca rocketed out far in front and kept the early lead, clocking early splits in at 22.06 and 45.76 seconds, but Not On Herb applied the pressure throughout before making his bid at the quarter pole before drawing clear to win by 1 ½ lengths. Calicoco darted to the rail and then back out before finally getting outside 1.90-1 favorite Late September and surging past that foe for second. Late September hung on for third. Not On Herb stopped the timer in 1:05.47 for 5 ½ sloppy panels.  

“I love this horse,” trainer Ron Faucheux said. “I ran him short the first time and he showed he had the fitness to win. I told Jareth (Loveberry) to be confident in here and don’t let the 8 (Late September) get the jump on you. If you have to use him to do it, then use him. As long as we stay in front of the 8, you’ve got the race won.”

Faucheux reports he will enter the son of First Samurai in the Louisiana Champions Day Juvenile Sprint on Dec 10 where he will aim to add to his 2-2-0-0 record and his $69,000 in earnings.

Racing resumes on Thanksgiving Thursday at Fair Grounds. With an early noon C.T. first post, the 98th running of the Thanksgiving Classic will be featured as the eighth race on the nine race card. 


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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

Horse Racing at Fair Grounds

New Orleans, LA (November 18, 2022)—With stable star Ova Charged showing the way and Spirited Beauty chasing her home in second, the Brittlyn Stable Star Guitar fillies filled out the exacta in the 1st running of the 6-furlong $75,000 Happy Ticket Stakes for older Louisiana-bred females, one of three restricted stakes run on the opening day Friday program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

“She ran to our expectations of just breezing today,” trainer Jose Camejo said after the race. “We’ve been taking our time with her, giving her all summer. She went through a couple things and only worked her a couple times and she showed off today that she is the best Louisiana-bred.”

Not racing since her win last March in the Page Cortez, .30-1 Ova Charged proved she is still the top Louisiana-bred sprinter. The only fraction she didn’t lead was the first as Drop Dead Sexy shot out to the front from the outside post, stopping the quarter-mile timer in 21.78 seconds. Shuffled back after the break, Ova Charged’s rider Jose Rodriguez waited for a lane then prompted her through, quickly making the lead at 45.28, and opening up in the homestretch. Following the entire way, stablemate Spirited Beauty cruised along in second through the stretch, showing energy and shrinking the final gap to two lengths. Snowball came late for third.  Ova Charged cruised under the wire, stopping the clock at 1:11.04.

“I was thinking that if she was able to get in one race over the summer, we would enter her in the Breeders’ Cup (Filly & Mare Sprint), but we decided to just let her be a horse,” Camejo said. “But that’s something we are targeting for next year. Hopefully we keep her sound and she gets in.”

On his first day riding at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, jockey Jose Rodriguez scored a riding triple.

With a 7-6-1-0 record and $264,600 in earnings, Louisiana-bred fillies across the state are saying their prayers tonight that Ova Charged will take her unique talents out of the restricted ranks and into graded stakes waters.

 

A G’s Charlotte Runs Down Winning Romance in the Big World Stakes

The first stakes win for trainer Patricia West was a sentimental one for the connections. Named after owner Thomas Galvin’s granddaughter, their filly A G’s Charlotte stole the show in the 1st running of the $75,000 Big World Stakes at 1 mile 70 yards for older Louisiana-bred females. 

“It’s been a little bit of a challenge for her,” West said in the winner’s circle. “With her running style she is always chasing fillies and we’ve been waiting for her to get more and more mature. She got there today.”

The set-up was perfect for the 9.90-1 closer to make a late splash. Front runner Cheapskate Diva ran off under Colby Hernandez making the rounds in 23.58, 46.98, and 1:12.65 while leading by as many as 5 lengths. Betting-favorite Winning Romance let her go, but she began to reel her back in little by little, eventually grabbing the lead at the stretch call. A G’s Charlotte’s jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr. let her loose at the perfect moment to nail Winning Romance at the wire in 1:43.56, winning by a neck.

“Those were hot fractions today,” Pedroza Jr. said. “Patricia (trainer West) told me to not get her into gear too early because she would make her move. When I put her into gear, she was right, and she got there in time.”

Adding another win for a career record of 11-4-1-2, A G’s Charlotte surely made her namesake proud and maybe she’ll share a portion of her $124,660 lifetime earnings with her, too.            

 

Free Drop Maddy’s Ferguson Win Sets the Stage for the Rest of her Fair Grounds Campaign

Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy set the record straight on who is the 2-year-old filly to fear in Louisiana, winning the 1st running of the 5 1/2 furlong $75,00 Donovan L. Ferguson Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths. After two lackluster races at Delta Downs, the talent she displayed breaking her maiden at Churchill Downs could be questioned on paper, but trainer Bret Calhoun knew better.

“She’d been training great,” Calhoun said after the race. “I’m not sure Delta was her best surface. We were pretty confident today, and we had really targeted her for a campaign here this winter.”

Under James Graham, Cced for Steph broke out to the front and took the advantage through the first call in 22.59. Positioned to her immediate outside by jockey Rey Gutierrez, 1.40-1 betting favorite Free Drop Maddy didn’t waste any time taking over after that. She completed the second call in front in 46.51. 29.70-1 longshot Addi Bug made her big move late, flying past runners in the turn but Free Drop Maddy was long gone and had plenty left as she crossed the wire in 1:05.29. Don’tcallmepatsy kept it close early and managed to hang on for third after running in that position the entire race.

Rey Gutierrez piloted three winners on the day.

With 5 races under her belt, Free Drop Maddy racked up win number 2 to go with her 1 second and 2 thirds. That makes an impressive $165,800 earned for this juvenile by Free Drop Billy.

Live racing resumes at Fair Grounds on Saturday with a first post of 1:15 p.m. CT. Three more Louisiana-bred Stakes – the Joseph R. Peluso Memorial (race 5), the Scott’s Scoundrel (race 7) and the Monte Man (race 8) – are featured on the nine-race program.

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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

Horse Racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

The victory march begins for Jose Camejo-driven Brittlyn Stable, sending out four of stallion Star Guitar’s finest

 

New Orleans, LA (November 17, 2022)—The history of 151 years of horse racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots can be read in the stakes names, from the Colonel Power to the Rachel Alexandra (G2), the Allen Lacombe to the Buddy Diliberto. That tradition continues with the addition of six new opening weekend restricted stakes, serving as the perfect springboard for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec 10.

Brittlyn Stable seems poised to replicate last year’s record-breaking number of 22 winners, all of whom were sired by Star Guitar, but this time Evelyn Benoit and Jose Camejo will look to kick off the meet in the same fashion they ended 2021 – 2022. On closing day, Brittlyn Stable sent out sire Star Guitar’s top three runners. Behemah Star won The Star Guitar, named after his legendary sire. Ova Charged won The Page Cortez. Spirited Beauty ran a gusty third in The Shantel Lanerie. 

Opening day will see Ova Charged and Spirited Beauty face off in the $75,000 Happy Ticket. Behemah Star is entered in the $75,000 Scott’s Scoundrel. Star Guitar’s newest hit, Pursuit l’Harmonie will debut in the $75,000 Donovan L. Ferguson for 2-year-old fillies.


Friday’s spotlight will be on Louisiana-bred fillies and mares

A 6 furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up will be run in Happy Ticket’s honor. The presence of Brittlyn Stable’s Ova Charged didn’t scare away eight others from entering, including stablemate Spirited Beauty. After winning The 2021 Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint in an unforgettable battle against Cilla, Ova Charged has raced only once more, winning the Page Cortez by seven lengths over two others entered here, Snowball and Fame Feather. She has the talent to be the next graded stakes winning La-bred, durability is the only question. Installed as the 3-5 favorite by morning-line oddsmaker and Fair Grounds’ clocker Mike Diliberto, Ova Charged will be guided from post four by Jose Rodriguez. 

The Happy Ticket Stakes is Race eight on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 6:36 p.m. (all times CT). Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE8


A field of eight 3-year-olds and up will inaugurate the 1 mile 70 yards race across the main track in Big World’s honor. Allied Racing Stable’s Winning Romance is the deserving 2-1 morning line favorite. Winner of the $75,000 Shantel Lanerie in the spring, Calhoun has kept her fresh and in form. She defeated stablemate She’s Gone D’Wild in the Evangeline Distaff, and finished second to graded-stakes-aspiring Free Like a Girl on Oct 7 in the Magnolia at Delta Downs. Deshawn Parker keeps the mount and will likely be pressing or taking the early lead breaking from gate five.

It’s hard to argue with Keith Plaisance’s Cheapskate Diva’s 2022 form. After breaking her maiden against $20,000 claimers on May 14 across the Evangeline Downs turf course, trainer Joseph Felks moved her through two allowance conditions and then threw her in the deep end, facing the likes of Fort Polk, Net a Bear, and A G’s Charlotte in the Louisiana Cup Distaff at Louisiana Downs. She won. That was in August and she is fresh and firing bullets coming into this one. Colby Hernandez will leg up for the first time and he will likely send to the front from post eight. 

Fort Polk, the patient stalker from Pat Mouton’s barn, has drawn the rail (Emmanuel Nieves, 7-2 ML).

The Big World Stakes is Race four on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE4


Named for Fair Grounds’ beloved, longtime mutuels manager, the $75,000 Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial offers a chance for La-bred 2-year-old fillies to shine over 5 1/2 furlongs of dirt.

In June, Mansfield Racing’s Free Drop Maddy debuted at Churchill Downs and was bet to favoritism. She ran well but finished second, then came back against stakes company at Lone Star and again the betting public fancied her chances, and they were correct. It’s been two third-place finishes since then for the $200,000 yearling purchase trained by Calhoun, including finishing three lengths shy of Janet Is Ready at Delta Downs on October 14 in the Louisiana Jewel. That duo will renew acquaintances here. Rey Guitierrez will try to return her to the winner’s circle, breaking from post seven (5-2 ML).

The ownership team of Jerry Caroom, Carl Deville, Gerald Bruno Jr, and Our Blue Streaks Stable have to be feeling on top of the world about their $5,500 purchase, Janet Is Ready. With three stakes wins under her belt, including a score against open company in the Prairie Gold Lassie at Prairie Meadows in July, she is a tough-trip across a muddy track away from stakes perfection. Tabbed as the favorite when she debuted at Churchill Downs in May, she is a half sibling to two other fine La-breds, Janets Jay Jay and Prizeless. Chasey Pomier trains, and Devin Magnon comes in from Delta to ride.  Pegged as the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, Janet Is Ready drew gate three.

Slated as Race six, post time for the Ferguson is scheduled for 5:32 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111822USA-EQB.html#RACE6


On Saturday, Nov 19 the focus shifts to Louisiana-bred colts

Brittlyn Stable’s Behemah Star will return to the main track in the $75,000 Scott’s Scoundrel for 3-year-olds and up to be run over 1 mile 70 yards. Having not won since closing day, it’s not surprising to see him at 6-1 on the morning line (Jose Rodriguez, post 2). Allied Racing Stables’ Who Took the Money is the deserving 7-5 favorite. 

Finishing third to Behemah Star in the Star Guitar Stakes after a brutal start, Who Took the Money won his next two, most recently earning a career-top speed figure in the Gold Cup Stakes at Delta. Deshawn Parker times this Calhoun-trainee’s late move perfectly, and he will have plenty of pace to close into with stablemate Highland Creek in the field (uncoupled Allied Racing entry). He doesn’t need the lead but he will definitely be pressuring the front runners: Kendel D Standlee’s Big Chopper (jockey Jareth Loveberry, trainer Scott Geldner, 15-1 ML, post 8), ​​Norman C Miller IV’s Maga Man (Joe Stokes, Norman Miller III, 12-1, post 7) , and Gerard Perron’s Grand Luwegee (Colby Hernandez, Gerard Perron, 6-1 ML, post 5). 

The Scott’s Scoundrel Stakes is Race seven on Saturday’s card. Post time is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE7


No other horse would be more fitting a winner of the inaugural 6-furlong $75,000 Monte Man Stakes for 3-year-olds and up than Allen Cassedy’s Bertie’s Galaxy. The Ron Faucheaux–trained stablemates ran first and second in last year’s Louisiana Champions Day Sprint, Monte’s Man final race. 

Bertie’s Galaxy is a 11-time winning speed demon who always runs his race, having finished in the exacta 19 out of his 25 tries. The 5-2 pre-betting favorite will look to get the jump on a field full of early speed from post 2 with Jareth Loveberry up.   

The Monte Man is Race eight on the opening day card. Post time is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE8


Louisiana-bred 2-year-old colts will look to strut their stuff in the 5 1/2 furlong $75,000 Joseph R.Peluso Stakes. The Coteau Grove-bred Kevin Stedman-owned Late September exits a mid-October win in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes at Delta Downs. Before that, he ran in the Group 2 Coventry at Royal Ascot. In Camejo’s hands, he broke his maiden in May at Churchill Downs. This world-traveler will be piloted by jockey Jose Rodriguez. 5-2 on the morning line, he’ll break from the far outside in post 8. 

Morning-line oddsmaker Mike Diliberto tabbed Ivery Sisters Racing’s Not On Herb as his 7-2 main threat. This son of First Samurai impressed his trainer Ron Faucheux by surviving a taxing duel to win on debut in October at Delta Downs. 

Slated as Race 5, post time for the Peluso is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Follow this link for a list of the entire field: https://www.equibase.com/static/entry/FG111922USA-EQB.html#RACE


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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

Horse Racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

 

Purses up, takeout down as famed connections return with Kentucky Derby dreams

 

New Orleans, LA (November 14, 2022)—The nation’s third oldest racetrack, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is set to open for the 151st meet on Friday, Nov 18. Two racing days kick things off and post time will be 3 p.m. (all times Central) on Friday and 1:15 p.m. on Saturday. Opening weekend of the 80-day Thoroughbred meet includes the inaugural running of six stakes written for Louisiana-breds, serving as preps for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec 10.

The meet will feature 65 stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season. Working with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, Fair Grounds’ racing office created 12 new stakes peppered throughout the schedule, making it the richest program ever offered in Louisiana.

Christmas comes early for horseplayers as Fair Grounds has announced takeout will be lowered to 15% for the Pick 5. Also, a non-jackpot $1 Pick 6, also with a low 15% take,  has been added to the wagering menu. Everyone will get to see the payouts light up the new toteboard in the infield.

The progression of the Road to Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve prep races continues to attract top connections. Beginning with the $100,000 Gun Runner (Dec 26) for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles, the Grade 3 $200,000 Lecomte (Jan 21) stays at that same distance, then the Grade 2 $400,000 Risen Star (Feb 19) stretches out to 1 1/8 miles. It all culminates in the 1 3/16 miles Grade 2 $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (March 25).

Fair Grounds has become the sport’s destination for 3-year-olds on the Kentucky Derby trail. 3-year-olds running in these races have had phenomenal success in the “Run for the Roses.” Country House won in 2019, Mandaloun won in 2021, and Epicenter finished second in 2022 Further than that, the 2022 Kentucky Derby trifecta and four of the top six finishers of 2021 all traveled through Fair Grounds’ Derby preps.

Much of the excitement around the Derby prep races extends from the presence of perennial powerhouses Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox who will be back for 2022 – 2023. Dating back to 1994, Asmussen has won 1081 races at Fair Grounds, including last year’s Gun Runner, Risen Star, and Louisiana Derby with Epicenter, and the Fair Grounds Oaks with Echo Zulu. North America’s all-time leading trainer, Asmussen’s historic 10,000th career win will likely come during the meet.

Cox finished second in the 2021 – 2022 trainer standings but he earned the crown four years in a row starting in 2016. Last year’s string of 3-year-olds included Grade 2 $300,000 Rachel Alexandra-winner Turnerloose, as well as Kentucky Derby-runners Cyberknife, Tawny Port, and Zozos.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming our horsemen back for our 151st season at this historic racetrack,” said Racing Secretary Scott Jones. “Fair Grounds has proven to be one of the premier winter racing destinations. Once again last year, the quality of horses who stabled or came through New Orleans made a huge impact in premier races all over the country.”

Titan trainers Tom Amoss, Al Stall Jr., Bret Calhoun, Dallas Stewart, Greg Foley, and Michael Stidham all return with packed barns of stakes-caliber Thoroughbreds.

A new addition to the backside is Ken McPeek. McPeek shipped in Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll to last year’s Derby preps. With a win in the Preakness and the Belmont under his belt, he is still on the hunt for his first Kentucky Derby winner.

Beyond Kenneth McPeek, new barns include 2022 Derby-runner Barber Road’s trainer John Ortiz, Brian Williamson and Mike Tomlinson. Robertino Diodoro will have a larger presence than last year, as will Norm Casse, and Chris Davis returns following a year in Florida.

“The owners, the trainers, the jockey colony, the backside workers–there’s something special about Fair Grounds that extends from the heritage of horse racing in Louisiana,” said Racing Director Jason Boulet. “With the new tote board, the increased purses, the high profile connections and the best of the esteemed Louisiana-bred program, we are thrilled for what’s in store for our 151st year.”

Week two of racing picks back up on Thanksgiving, a well-celebrated New Orleans tradition,  with a noon starting time on a card that features the 98th running of the Thanksgiving Classic, last year won by Just Might, the winning-most stakes horse in North America in 2021. His trainer Michelle Lovell will be back after winning 9 races at a 21% clip last season.

Coming off back-to-back trainer and jockey titles, all connections will be targeting Ron Faucheux and James Graham. Faucheux consistently excels at Fair Grounds, and sitting at 283 local wins, the barn will assuredly surpass 300 this meet. No active jockey comes close to James Graham’s career 1283 wins at Fair Grounds, but there are three new yet familiar additions to this year’s colony who have had their lion’s share of success.

Famed pilot of Gun Runner, Monomoy Girl, The Pizza Man, and 2021 Derby-winner Mandaloun, Florent Geroux returns to Fair Grounds seeking his next world-traveling, grade-one winning mount. With two riding titles and a 22% career win rate at Fair Grounds, Geroux will be back looking to pick up where he left off in 2020 – 2021.

Hailing from the Lafayette area, Fair Grounds welcomes home Louisiana-natives Corey Lanerie and Jamie Theriot. With 5 top 5 finishes in the jockey standings, Lanerie will get live mounts. Winner of the 2007 – 2008 jockey title but absent from racing since 2018, Theriot will be donned “The Comeback Kid” as he battles to earn a seat aboard his next Breeders’ Cup winner, having ridden two for Bret Calhoun in 2010.

Other newcomers to the colony include David Cohen who rode last winter at Oaklawn Park. Coming off a successful year riding in Kentucky where he got first call on a lot of Tom Amoss horses, Edgar Morales moves his tack back south, where he rode three meets between 2017 – 2020.

Ready and waiting will be Rey Gutierrez and Jareth Loveberry who both finished in the top 10 their first season at Fair Grounds. In May career win 6,000 came for Deshawn Parker, and he’ll be back for his second local meet after riding 40 to the finish line first last year. The 2018 – 2019 title-winner Adam Beschizza, brothers Brain Hernandez Jr. and Colby Hernandez, and “Mighty” Mitchell Murrill will each vie for a spot in the top 10 of an accomplished jockey colony.

Evelyn Benoit’s ​​Brittlyn Stable ran away with the 2021 – 2022 owner’s title with every one of her 22 winners being sired by Star Guitar, the all-time leading money earner among Louisiana-breds. The trainer behind those wins, Jose Camejo, returns with many of the same formful LA-breds.

When not playing the races live at Fair Grounds, fans can enjoy the spoils of one of our 15 statewide Off Track Betting facilities, or play the races through mobile devices at Twin Spires. The official wagering service of the Kentucky Derby will also entice fans with ongoing promotional offers to potentially help pad their wagering accounts. Don’t forget to opt in!

Fair Grounds will also team with Horse Racing Nation to provide unique horseplayer content and in depth coverage. Both the Louisiana and Muniz Stakes are presented by Horse Racing Nation.

The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:15 p.m., but there will be an earlier noon first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov 24), Louisiana Champions Day (Dec 10), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec 26), Road to the Derby Day presented by Hotel Monteleone (Jan 21), Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln (Feb 18), and Louisiana Derby Day (March 25). A complete list of the racing days and stakes schedule can be found here: https://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/FGNO-42861_22-23-ThoroughbredRacingSched.PocketGuide-8.5×11-WEB_V4-HR.pdf.

 

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Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from Nov 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

 

FGNO-43470-RacingReturns_Digi-SN-1120×610

Pick 5 and Pick 6 takeout rate is set at 15% 

 

NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, October 26, 2022) – With the approval of the Louisiana State Racing Commission handed down Wednesday afternoon, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announces two horseplayer-friendly adjustments to the 2022-23 wagering menu. Takeout will be reduced on the Pick 5 from 25% to 15%. Also, a new Pick 6 at the same 15% rate will be added.

Takeout is the percentage of every wagering dollar removed before payoffs are calculated.

Racing officials at Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) and Fair Grounds have been studying successes at other tracks and working to make this change at Fair Grounds.

“We are very excited about both of these new wagering opportunities for horseplayers,” said Gary Palmisano Jr., the newly appointed Executive Director of Racing for CDI. “Fair Grounds has not had a Pick 6 in many years. After monitoring the success of this same wager at the New York Racing Association, we feel this is an interesting variation of the pool to implement and worth exploring.”

Fair Grounds offers a traditional Pick 5 where the entire pool, after the 15% takeout, is paid out to winning bettors. If there are no perfect Pick Five tickets, the entire pool will carry over to the the next racing day. On most racing days there will be two Pick Five opportunities for horseplayers – an early and a late – and on cards of 11 races or more, a third may be added.

The new Pick 6 wager will have a $1 minimum wager. It will be “non-jackpot” and 75% of the after-takeout pool will be paid to all tickets with 6 winners. The other 25% will be paid to all those with 5 of 6 winners as a consolation. If no one has 6 winners, then 75% goes to the next day as a carryover and 25% is paid to all the consolation tickets.

“The obvious goal is that this wager will create numerous carryover opportunities and draw attention to racing in New Orleans,” Palmisano Jr. added.

The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season opens on Friday, November 18 and runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:05 p.m. CT, but opening day post time is 3:00 p.m. CT. Sixty-five stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season, will be offered during the Thoroughbred meet.


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About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 15 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 151st Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 110th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 18, 2022 through March 26, 2023. More information is available online at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

FGNO-43470-RacingReturns_Digi-SN-1120×610