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Louisiana Derby Day Events Schedule

Fair Grounds Race Course
Photo: CDI
A $10,000 Derby DreamBet wager, the annual Louisiana Derby Hat Contest and a book signing with retired jockey Randy Romero highlight the festivities surrounding Saturday’s Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

 

The Derby DreamBet gives one lucky winner the chance to bet $10,000 on the horse of their choice in the Louisiana Derby. Entry blanks will be available at the Clubhouse/Valet entrance until the start of Race 7. The winner will be announced on the public address system shortly thereafter and will place the wager on national television as part of the live, national Louisiana Derby broadcast on USA.

 

The Louisiana Derby Hat Contest is open to all fans in attendance and prizes include a Spa Package from My Spa By the Park in Lakeview as well as a gift certificate to Drago’s Restaurant, home of the world-famous charbroiled oysters that have delighted untold numbers of fans at this year’s Starlight Racing events.

 

Celebrity judges for this year’s Derby Hat Contest are three popular and distinctively stylish New Orleans women: Margarita Bergen, Social Editor for New Orleans Living Magazine and host of the new weekly “Toasting with Margarita” happy hours on Tuesdays at the Royal Sonesta Hotel; Dawn Brown, Fox 8 Meteorologist and co-host of that station’s Morning Call; and Panacea Theriac, also known as Miss Pussycat, the New Orleans-based artist, puppeteer and vocalist whose first museum exhibition with partner Quintron is currently on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art. 

 

Derby Hat Contest hopefuls should register in the Clubhouse/Valet lobby prior to Race 4 at 1:39 p.m. The Derby Hat Parade and judging will commence in the paddock area at 2:30 p.m., before the running of Race 6. The Derby Hat Contest is free and open to all guests and all types of hats, whether elegant or wacky.

 

For more information about the Derby Hat Contest, contact Marketing Manager Melissa Contrestano at (504) 948-1182 or Melissa.Contrestano@fgno.com.

 

The Randy Romero Book Signing gives fans an opportunity to interact with one of Louisiana’s most famous native-born jockeys. Romero retired in 1999 as the winner of more than 4,000 races, including three Breeders’ Cup events. The greatest of his wins was one that will forever live on in racing lore, a dramatic finish aboard Personal Ensign in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the undefeated Hall of Fame mare’s final race.

 

Romero also was the regular rider of champion filly Go for Wand. He was the leading rider at Fair Grounds four times and set a single-season record here with 181 wins in the 1983-84 season.

 

Romero is the subject of a new biography, Randy Romero’s Remarkable Ride, by Bill Heller. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the book signing, which is set for noon-1 p.m. near the Gift Shop and 1-2 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Clubhouse.

 

A complete list and timeline of Fair Grounds Oaks Day and Louisiana Derby Day events follows.

 

Friday—Fair Grounds Oaks Day

 

11 a.m., Gates open for Fair Grounds Oaks Day

 

Noon-2 p.m., American Cancer Society Relay for Life Kickoff Reception

The American Cancer Society is calling on all cancer survivors to don their favorite purple fashions and “help lead the fight back” with a special Kickoff to the 2010 Relay for Life Season on Fair Grounds Oaks Day. The fun begins in the Fair Grounds Clubhouse at noon with a reception featuring hor d’oeuvres and birthday cake. For more information on enjoying Oaks Day with the American Cancer Society call (504) 219-2296 or visit www.RelayForLife.org/NewOrleans.

 

1:10 p.m., Race 1 of 10

 

2:15 p.m. (Following Race 3), American Cancer Society Survivors Parade

Following the American Cancer Society’s Kickoff to the 2010 Relay for Life Season Reception, a Survivors Parade will be led through the Paddock area.

 

3:40 p.m., Race 6—The $60,000 Bienvillle Stakes

For older females at 5 ½ furlongs on turf. Featuring recent regional stakes winners Coy Cat, West Ocean and Northern Belle.

 

4:11 p.m., Race 7—The $60,000 Crescent City Oaks

For 3-year-old Louisiana-bred fillies at 1 mile and 40 yards. Featuring two-time Louisiana-bred stakes winner Shezacrazygirl, dominant Sarah Lane’s Oates winner Ladyzarbridge and a three-horse entry trained by Steve Asmussen.

 

4:42 p.m., Race 8—The $100,000 Bayou Handicap

For older females at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Featuring two of this season’s Fair Grounds stakes winners, Catgeory Seven (the Furl Sail) and Tizaqueena (the Lacombe Memorial).

 

5:14 p.m., Race 9—The Grade II, $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks

For 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles. Featuring graded stakes winner Ailalea, Jody Slew, Quiet Temper and eight other fillies hoping to earn their way to the Kentucky Oaks. Four of the last five winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May (or the last Friday in April, as is sometimes the case): Rachel Alexandra, Proud Spell, Summerly and Ashado.

 

6-8 p.m., Louisiana Derby Eve Party (private event—by invitation only)

Fair Grounds hosts the annual Louisiana Derby Eve Party from 6-8 p.m. in the Black Gold Room. The guest list includes owners and trainers of all weekend stakes entrants, as well as media and racing officials. Hors d’oeuvres will be served, along with a special Louisiana Derby cocktail.

 

Saturday—Louisiana Derby Day

 

9 a.m., Dubai World Cup Simulcast

The Fair Grounds Simulcast Area and select Fair Grounds OTBs throughout the area open early at 9 a.m. for simulcasting of the Dubai World Cup races, including the UAE Derby, the Golden Shaheen, the Dubai Duty Free, the Sheema Classic and the $10 million Dubai World Cup. Top American-based older horses competing include 2009 Champion Older Turf Horse Gio Ponti and Grade I winner Richard’s Kid.

 

10:30 a.m., Gates Open for Louisiana Derby Day

Although the east end of the Grandstand will be open for Dubai World Cup simulcasting, the rest of the facility, including Clubhouse Dining, will open to the public at 10:30 a.m.

 

10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Enter Derby DreamBet

One lucky winner will get the chance to bet $10,000 of Fair Grounds’ money on the horse of their choice in the Louisiana Derby. Get your entry ticket at the Clubhouse/Valet entrance. Entries end at the start of Race 7. Winner will be announced on the public address system shortly thereafter and will place the wager on national television as part of the Louisiana Derby broadcast on USA.

 

Noon-1 p.m., Randy Romero Book Signing by the Gift Shop

Romero is the subject of a new biography, Randy Romero’s Remarkable Ride, by Bill Heller. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the book signing, which is set for noon-1 p.m. near the Gift Shop and 1-2 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Clubhouse.

 

12:10 p.m., Race 1 of 13

 

1-2 p.m., Randy Romero Book Singing in the Clubhouse

Romero is the subject of a new biography, Randy Romero’s Remarkable Ride, by Bill Heller. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the book signing, which is set for noon-1 p.m. near the Gift Shop and 1-2 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Clubhouse.

 

2:30 p.m., Louisiana Derby Day Hat Contest

Open to all fans in attendance. Prizes include a Spa Package from My Spa By the Park in Lakeview as well as a gift certificate to Drago’s Restaurant. Celebrity judges include Margarita Bergen, Social Editor for New Orleans Living Magazine, Dawn Brown, Fox 8 Meteorologist, and Panacea Theriac, also known as Miss Pussycat, the New Orleans-based artist, puppeteer and vocalist. Derby Hat Contest hopefuls should register in the Clubhouse/Valet lobby prior to Race 4. The Derby Hat Parade and judging will commence in the paddock area at 2:30 p.m., before the running of Race 6.

 

2:39 p.m., Race 6—The $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes

For older horses at six furlongs. Featuring Cash Refund, standout winner of January’s Gaudin Memorial now pointing to major sprint stakes, plus Grade II winner Kensei and Thanksgiving Handicap winner Euroears.

 

3:09 p.m., Race 7—The $60,000 Crescent City Derby

For Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles. A large and competitive field of 12 is headed by Gentilly Stakes winner Tensas Cat, trained by Steve Garner, sheriff of Hancock County.

 

3:39 p.m., Race 8—The Grade II, $300,000 New Orleans Handicap

For older horses at 1 1/8 miles. Louisiana’s premier race for older horses featuring General Quarters, from the one-horse stable of retired school principal Tom McCarthy, plus graded stakes winners like Awesome Gem, Stonehouse, Giant Oak and Hold Me Back.

 

4:10 p.m., Race 9—The Grade II, $300,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap

For older horses at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Louisiana’s premier race for turf horses featuring last month’s Fair Grounds Handicap winner Blues Street, last year’s Muniz runner-up El Caballo and Sunshine Millions Turf winner Jet Propulsion.

 

4:40 p.m., Derby DreamBet Wager

The winner of the Derby DreamBet contest will place their $10,000 wager on a horse of their choice to Win in the Louisiana Derby, in front of a live national television audience on USA.

 

4:48 p.m., Race 10—The Grade II, $750,000 Louisiana Derby

For 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles. Fair Grounds’ signature race, the richest race in Louisiana history and a key final prep for the May 1 Kentucky Derby. Featuring last month’s Risen Star Stakes winner Discreetly Mine and Lecomte Stakes winner Ron the Greek. The field of 13 includes horses from the barns of four Hall of Fame trainers: Bob Baffert, Wayne Lukas, Bill Mott and Nick Zito. Now positioned five weeks before the Kentucky Derby and lengthened to nine furlongs, the Louisiana Derby has never been more important on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

 

5:19 p.m., Race 11—The $60,000 Grindstone Stakes

For 3-year-olds at 7 ½ furlongs on turf. Featuring Daddy Forty Nine, owned by the celebrity-laced partnership including Drew Brees, Sean Payton and Jimmy Buffet.
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