Two turf stakes scheduled for Saturday’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone – the $125,000 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (GIII) and the $75,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes – have been moved to the following Saturday, Jan. 26, due to the likelihood that there will be no turf racing this weekend. The final decision was made at about 9:30 a.m. by Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots officials after consulting with horsemen and the stewards.
“Everyone agreed this was the right decision,” said Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager for Racing Eric Halstrom. “These are important races on our stakes schedule and our horsemen deserve every chance to run their horses on their preferred surface. While it doesn't always work out that way we think that moving these turf stakes back a week will help accomplish that goal."
Fair Grounds has been faced with an inordinate amount of rain in recent weeks. As of Wednesday morning, 5.39 inches of rain had fallen in the area in January, according to Fox 8 meteorologist Chris Franklin. The average for the entire month is 5.87 inches. Only one race, the Jan. 5 Dixie Poker Ace Stakes, has been run on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course in 2013.
Although the local forecast for the weekend is actually quite good for racing, with little chance of rain Thursday to Sunday, the ground is too heavily saturated to expect turf racing on Saturday.
The rescheduled races will make for a four-stakes program on Jan. 26, which was already scheduled to feature the $75,000 Gaudin Memorial for top sprinters and the inaugural Van Berg Stakes for 3-year-old turf sprinters.
Entries remain open for Saturday’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day program, highlighted by the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes for 3-year-olds, and the races will be drawn early this afternoon.