“Road to the Derby” Series Highlighted on Fair Grounds’ 76-Day, 2020-21 Thoroughbred Racing Schedule
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jason Boulet, 337-781-7565, [email protected]
“Road to the Derby” Series Highlighted on Fair Grounds’
76-Day, 2020-21 Thoroughbred Racing Schedule
2020-21 STAKES SCHEDULE worth $7.13 MILLION
NEW ORLEANS (October 8, 2020) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 51 stakes worth a combined $7.055 million will be offered during the upcoming 76-day 2020-21 Thoroughbred racing season, which is set to begin Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26.
“We are proud to once again continue our growth and support of the Thoroughbred racing industry with our purse allocations and this diverse and dynamic stakes schedule” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots president Doug Shipley. “We look forward to our 149th racing season and the continuation of bringing many of the best horsemen and jockeys from around the world to enjoy the high caliber racing at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.”
The “Louisiana Derby Day” card on March 20 will feature eight stakes worth a total of $2.425 million, including the 108th running of the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds.
Previously run over nine furlongs on dirt, the distance of Louisiana Derby was extended to 1 3/16ths miles last season. The third and final local prep on the Road to the Grade I $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the race is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers. Run at 1 1/16 miles, the 53rd running of the Grade II $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies offers the same number of points en route to the Grade I $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks.
“Lengthening the distances of all three of our Road to the Derby races proved to be quite popular with the horsemen,” said Fair Grounds racing secretary Scott Jones. “The Lecomte drew 14 entries, the Risen Star had 23 entries and was split into two divisions, and the Louisiana Derby had an overflow field. Our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen a great opportunity to develop their horses and compete for excellent purses.”
A pair of nine furlong, high-impact stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program – the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Classic and the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes, to be run over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. In addition, four undercard stakes are slated for the lucrative card, including the $100,000 Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes, a 5½-furlong turf sprint, the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards.
On January 16, the “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day presented by Hotel Monteleone” features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, which was extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles last season, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 16 program, including the $125,000 Louisiana Stakes, which was elevated to Grade III status and received a $25,000 purse increase, at 1 1/16 miles, the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.
On February 13, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln” features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles last season, and the Grade II $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton, for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 50-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.
The Rachel Alexandra has produced the last two of the last three Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl and Serengeti Empress and 2014 victress Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies. Our 2020 third place finisher Swiss Skydiver has gone on to win five graded stakes, including the Alabama (G1) in advance of a runner-up finish in in the Oaks, and the Preakness (G1) against the boys. With such a stellar history of recent participants, Fair Grounds remains hopeful the Rachel Alexandra will soon achieve Grade I status is deserves.
Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 13 program — the Grade III $200,000 Mineshaft Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the Grade III $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes for at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5½ furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
The December 19 “Santa Super Saturday presented by Coca-Cola” card offers a six-pack of $75,000 stakes. Four of the races are for older horses — the Tenacious Stakes at 1 1/16ths miles, the Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, the Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The other two are six furlong events for juveniles – the Sugar Bowl Stakes for the boys and the Letellier Memorial Stakes for the girls.
Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 14. With the races run over various divisions and distances on both dirt and turf, the program features ten stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stakes is worth $100,000 with the exception of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic, which carries a $150,000 purse.
The purse for the opening day Thanksgiving Classic for older male sprinters has been increased $25,000 to $125,000. The $60,000 Shantel Lanerie, to be run on March 21, has been repurposed as a route race for older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.
The 76-day, 2020-2021 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 28. Regular post time will be 1 p.m. CT. The exceptions are Louisiana Derby Preview Day (February 13 at noon CT) and Louisiana Derby Day (March 20 at 11 a.m. CT).
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 is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 107th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2020. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
Information set forth in this press release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”) provides certain “safe harbor” provisions for forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements made in this press release are made pursuant to the Act.
The reader is cautioned that such forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time and/or management’s good faith belief with respect to future events, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statement was made. We assume no obligation to update forward-looking information to reflect actual results, changes in assumptions or changes in other factors affecting forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by the use of terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “will,” and similar words, although some forward-looking statements are expressed differently.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include the following: the effect of economic conditions on our consumers’ confidence and discretionary spending or our access to credit; additional or increased taxes and fees; public perceptions or lack of confidence in the integrity of our business; loss of key or highly skilled personnel; restrictions in our debt facilities limiting our flexibility to operate our business; general risks related to real estate ownership, including fluctuations in market values and environmental regulations; catastrophic events and system failures disrupting our operations, including the impact of natural and other disasters on our operations and our ability to obtain insurance recoveries in respect of such losses; inability to identify and complete acquisition, expansion or divestiture projects, on time, on budget or as planned; difficulty in integrating recent or future acquisitions into our operations; legalization of online real money gaming and sports wagering in the United States, and our ability to capitalize on and predict such legalization; the number of people attending and wagering on live horse races; inability to respond to rapid technological changes in a timely manner; inadvertent infringement of the intellectual property of others; inability to protect our own intellectual property rights; security breaches and other security risks related to our technology, personal information, source code and other proprietary information, including failure to comply with regulations and other legal obligations relating to receiving, processing, storing and using personal information; payment- related risks, such as chargebacks for fraudulent credit card use; compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or applicable money-laundering regulations; compliance with payment processing and payment transmission regulations; work stoppages and labor issues; difficulty in attracting a sufficient number of horses and trainers for full field horseraces; inability to negotiate agreements with industry constituents, including horsemen and other racetracks; personal injury litigation related to injuries occurring at our racetracks; the inability of our totalisator company, United Tote, to
maintain its processes accurately, keep its technology current or maintain its significant customers; weather conditions affecting our ability to conduct live racing; increased competition in the horseracing business; changes in the regulatory environment of our racing operations; declining popularity in horseracing; seasonal fluctuations in our horseracing business due to geographic concentration of our operations; increased competition in our casino business; changes in regulatory environment of our casino business; the cost and possibility for delay, cost overruns and other uncertainties associated with the development and expansion of casinos; concentration and evolution of slot machine manufacturing and other technology conditions that could impose additional costs; impact of further legislation prohibiting tobacco smoking; geographic concentration of our casino business; changes in regulatory environment for our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; increase in competition in the advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; inability to retain current customers or attract new customers to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; uncertainty and changes in the legal landscape relating to our advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming businesses; and failure to comply with laws requiring us to block access to certain individuals could result in penalties or impairment in our ability to offer advanced deposit wagering, sports wagering, or online gaming.