Fair Grounds Race Course
& Slots has boosted the purses of eight open-company races on its
2012-2013 stakes schedule released today, marking the third straight
year the average stakes purse has increased at the New Orleans
season the track raised purses on 19 stakes events.
The 84-day 141st Thoroughbred Racing Season – running Nov. 22, 2012 to March 31, 2013 – will feature 56 stakes cumulatively worth
$7,435,000, highlighted by the milestone 100th running of
the $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII) on March 30. The average stakes
purse at Fair Grounds will be worth $132,768 and half of the stakes, 28
of 56, will carry six-figure amounts.
The majority of the stakes increases went to five of the track’s 10 graded stakes.
first two legs of Fair Grounds’ three-race graded stakes series for
3-year-olds received significant boosts. The Risen Star Stakes (GII)
will be worth $400,000 (a $100,000 increase) and the Lecomte Stakes
(GIII) will be run for $200,000 (a $25,000 bump).
important graded events for older horses – the Mineshaft Handicap
(GIII) on the main track and the Fair Grounds Handicap (GIII) on turf
– were raised to $150,000 apiece (from $125,000 each last season). The
Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap (GIII), which precedes the Fair Grounds
Handicap in a three-race graded stakes series for older turf horses, is
now worth $125,000 (up from $100,000).
The Thanksgiving Handicap for top sprinters will carry a six-figure purse for the first time. The 87th running of Fair Grounds’ traditional
opening day feature will be worth $100,000 (up from $75,000).
given $25,000 bumps were the top two main-track events for fillies and
mares – the New Orleans Ladies, now at $150,000, and the Tiffany
Lass Stakes, now worth $100,000.
emphasis that past three years has been on improving the overall
quality of racing at Fair Grounds and these increases are another part
of that strategy,” said Fair Grounds President Tim Bryant. “Owners and trainers should know that if they bring their very best horses to
New Orleans they will have every chance to be rewarded.”
Larry Jones as the prime
example of a horseman who reaped the benefits of relocating to Fair
Grounds. After several seasons elsewhere, Jones filled 44 stalls in
last meet and led all trainers with nearly $1.5 million in earnings and
six stakes wins (plus two lucrative runner-up finishes in the Risen
Star and Louisiana Derby).
New Stakes Added
new stakes that have yet to be named were added to bolster options in
divisions that have become increasingly competitive in recent seasons.
Both are 5 ½-furlong turf sprints for 3-year-olds, to be run in
races from last season’s stakes schedule are not returning – five from
Claiming Crown XIII, which was hosted at Fair Grounds for the first
time in December, and the Kudzu Juvenile for Alabama-breds, which has
been discontinued by the Alabama Thoroughbred Breeders Racing
Ten Graded Stakes
Fair Grounds stakes schedule is highlighted by 10 stakes that were
graded last season – five Grade II and five Grade III. The Grade II
are the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds, the Fair
Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies, the New Orleans Handicap for older
horses and the Mervin H. Muniz Memorial Handicap for older turf horses.
Grade III events are the Lecomte Stakes for 3-year-olds, the Rachel
Alexandra Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the Mineshaft Handicap for
older horses, and both the Fair Grounds Handicap and the Colonel E.R.
Bradley Handicap for older turf horses.
The North American Graded Stakes committee will meet in December to determine gradings for 2013.
“We are hopeful the esteemed committee will agree that Fair Grounds deserves a Grade I race,” said
Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manger for Racing. “This year
Believe You Can became the fifth Fair Grounds Oaks
winner in the race’s last eight runnings to also win the Kentucky Oaks.
We’re proud to be the winter home for some of the nation’s finest horses
and believe it’s
just a matter of time until Fair Grounds is rewarded with a Grade I
Seven Starlight Dates Announced
Grounds also announced seven Starlight Racing dates for the
Thoroughbred season. The popular social events feature
live music, DJs, drink specials and live racing under the lights on
select Friday nights. The 2012-2013 dates are Dec. 28, Jan. 18, Feb. 1
(the weekend of Super Bowl XLVII in
New Orleans), Feb. 22, March 1, March 8 and March 15.
Bands and DJs will be announced once the lineup is finalized. For
information on private parties and corporate events at Starlight Racing, contact Group Sales at (504) 948-1285.