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Zipse At The Track

Fair Grounds goes Classic!

Chalk this one up as a great idea. On Saturday, November 26, the Fair Grounds will run a race featuring contemporary horses competing in the names and silks of many of the greatest horses to compete at the historic racetrack. Now on this very blog I have created and run some terrific fantasy races, but those played out only in my mind and on the pages of this blog. What Fair Grounds is doing is innovative and, in a word, fun.

As one who both advocates the entertainment of racing and the celebration of all the wonderful stars that make up the most colorful and rich history of any sport known to man, I am thrilled that the New Orleans track has put together the Fair Grounds Legends Purse. The undertaking provides something for the fans to get excited about while they learn more about the horses that made the Fair Grounds what it is today.


The Legends Purse, which will match stars like Whirlaway, Risen Star, Black Gold, and Pan Zareta against one another, will be a twelve-horse, two-turn affair on the dirt. Track announcer John Dooley will call the names of the legends as if competing against one another in a fantasy race. Fans will be able to bet on the race as normal, with the silks and the race call from Dooley being the elements that make it a race of legends. The race-day programs will include a centerfold insert depicting the silks of the Legends, along with their biographies and photos.

The modern horses competing will be assigned their throwback colors according to their morning line odds, a process to be headed by oddsmaker Mike Diliberto. The morning line favorite among the contemporary horses will bear the colors of the foremost legend in Diliberto’s estimation, and so on. The Legends Purse will be drawn with the rest of entries on Wednesday.

As much as I love the idea, I wanted to add an assist to Diliberto. Here’s how I rate the amazing field of New Orleans’ greatest equine superstars:


Horse Odds Comment
Whirlaway 3 to 1 Triple Crown winner, 2-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer.
Black Gold 9 to 2 Hall of Fame 1924 Kentucky Derby winner, won 18 of 35 lifetime.
Risen Star 5 to 1 Won Preakness and then Belmont by 14 ¾ in his final two starts.
Pan Zareta 6 to 1 Hall of Fame mare finished career with 76 wins in 151 starts.
Lexington 10 to 1 Legendary runner and sire of the mid-19th century
Master Derby 12 to 1 Preakness winner was a key part of an excellent 1975 3yo crop.
Lecomte 12 to 1 Lexington's great rival at New Orleans in the 1850's.
Grindstone 15 to 1 Short career colt got up to win the Kentucky Derby in his last race.
Tiffany Lass 15 to 1 Champion filly won her first 8 races including the Kentucky Oaks.
Tenacious 20 to 1 Winner of 11 stakes at the Fair Grounds in the 1950's.
Blushing K.D. 20 to 1 Louisiana filly swept the Fair Grounds and Kentucky Oaks in 1997.
Cabildo 20 to 1 Winner of six stakes at the Fair Grounds in the 1960's.


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Older Comments about Fair Grounds goes Classic!...

This is a pretty neat idea!
Woo wee! This is a cool idea...my picks would be on a trifecta Whirlaway/Master Derby/Tenacious all three totally dominated at the Fair Grounds and of course my sleeper would be Risen Star and plug him into WPS, loved that horse.
Me too, and thanks, cniema5 ... Yep, Mike, Mr Longtail's the chalk.
3-1 on Whirlaway!
Very cool, I love stuff like this! Good job with the odds Brian, I'll take Whirlaway over Risen Star and Pan Zareta.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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