Surveillance’s Cajun Homecoming Bests Heart Rhythm in the Thanksgiving Classic 

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.



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

Horse Racing at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots