Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a comprehensive stakes schedule with 57 stakes worth more than $6.69 million for the 146th Thoroughbred racing season at the New Orleans oval. Opening Day is slated for Saturday, Nov. 18 and will include four overnight stakes.
The stakes schedule will mirror several past seasons with a major focus on big event days, including the meet’s centerpiece, Louisiana Derby Day, which will again include eight stakes worth $2.36 million, highlighted by the 105thrunning of the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on March 24. The Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap and the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial will also be run the same day along with four additional undercard stakes.
Leading into the Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds will also host a pair of major stakes days designed as part of The Road to the Kentucky Derby, beginning with Road to the Derby Kickoff Day presented by Hotel Monteleone on Jan. 13. The Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes will be the first race on the Fair Grounds stakes schedule to offer qualifying points for the Grade I Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. The Grade III $125,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes will complement the afternoon’s action alongside three other undercard stakes.
Five weeks later on Feb. 17, the track will host Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford Lincoln. The day’s highlight will be the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes that will offer qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby and will also include the Grade II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes, the Grade III $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap and the Grade III $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap.
Another mainstay on the Fair Grounds Stakes Schedule, Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance Service, will be held for the 27th time on Dec. 9. The day will feature 11 stakes races across varying divisions restricted to Louisiana-breds worth a total of $1.1 million.
Two new overnight stakes races will be held in honor of local mainstays who passed away in 2017. The $50,000 Richard R. Scherer Memorial Overnight Stakes will be held Dec. 2 for fillies and mares at 5½ furlongs on the turf, and the Nelson J. Menard Memorial Overnight Stakes will be run at the same distance for older fillies and mares on March 10.
The complete 2017-2018 stakes schedule can be found at: https://www.fairgroundsracecourse.com/racing-wagering/stakes.