Oaklawn Trims Purses at Start of Meet

Approximate 15% reduction in overnight purses from first condition book.

Overnight purses have been reduced in advance of the start of the Oaklawn Park meet, a 57-day run which will begin Jan. 22. The Arkansas track is making the move due to limiting attendance because of social distancing requirements because of COVID-19. The news was first reported by Mary Rampellini of Daily Racing Form, who reported average daily purses will be about $600,000 instead of the originally projected $700,000, for about a 15% reduction. Stakes purses will not be altered.

An Oaklawn spokesperson confirmed the track’s first condition book is being reprinted with the new overnight purse structure.

Fair Grounds Announces Second Purse Increase of the Meet

Fair Grounds Announces Second Purse Increase of the Meet

Continued Strong Business Prompts Another Daily Bump

New Orleans (January 8, 2021) – For the second time in the young 2020-21 meet, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 10% purse increase across the board. Much like the first, the boost was inspired by strong simulcast handle during the first seven weeks of the 149th racing season, which includes solid bettor response to the newly implemented traditional early and late Pk5 wagers.

“Despite losing multiple days of turf racing, handle has remained quite strong,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “Condition book four will be released the beginning of next week, and we’re happy to be in a position to raise purses for a second time. We’d once again like to thank the owners, trainers and fans who have been supporting our day-to-day racing product.”

As a result of the increase, which will go into effect for condition book #4 (which starts February 3, 2021), purses on allowance races will be bumped up $5,000, the mid-level races will be boosted by $3,000, while all other races will receive a $2,000 hike. Maiden special weight races will now be worth $55,000. The purse increase includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races.

Entries for the Wednesday, February 3 card will be drawn one week earlier on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.


Pursuant to the Arkansas Department of Health directive, Oaklawn plans to conduct the 2021 live meet with limited spectators. The 57-day season runs from Friday, Jan. 22 – Saturday, May 1.

“We’ve been working on plans covering numerous scenarios and we’re happy to announce we will be welcoming back race fans in 2021, albeit on a limited basis,” General Manager Wayne Smith said. “We know that the fans are what make Oaklawn so special, but our main concern is for the safety and well-being of our guests and team members. We appreciate the support we have received from the Arkansas Department of Health in developing this plan. We will be working with them throughout the live season and will adjust as needed.”

In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, Oaklawn has submitted a plan to allow a limited number of spectators at the races during the 2021 live race meet highlighted by the following:

• General admission into the Grandstand will not be allowed initially in 2021.
• Entrance into the Grandstand will strictly be for guests with a racing credential and/or reservation for that day’s races. Doors will open at 11 am.
• Current seasonal box seat holders and current Oaklawn Jockey Club members may enter the Grandstand with weekly reservations required. Detailed correspondence to be sent separately to these individuals.
• Restaurants inside the Grandstand, following Arkansas Department of Health directives, will be open to the public with weekly reservations required.
• Simulcast will be open Wednesday–Sunday, 11 am–8 pm to limited capacity with weekly reservations required.
• Social distancing will be enforced.
• All guests and team members will be required to have non-invasive temperature checks as they enter the facility. Anyone presenting a temp at/over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted inside the building.
• All guests and team members will be required to wear masks at all times.
• Smoking will not be allowed anywhere inside the facility, including the casino.

Restaurant reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4710.

Simulcast reservations may be made starting January 18 by calling 501-363-4320.

For additional details and future updates, please visit

Fair Grounds Announces Purse Increase

Strong Early Business Prompts Daily Bump

New Orleans (December 13, 2020) – Inspired by strong simulcast handle during the first three weeks of the 149th racing season, which includes solid bettor response to the newly implemented traditional early and late Pk5 wagers, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced a 10% purse increase across the board.

“We’re extremely excited to announce a 10% increase to our daily purse structure,” Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones said. “Based on the strong early handle returns and continued support from our owners and horseman, we are in a position to raise purses.”

As a result of the increase, which will go into effect for condition book #3 (which starts January 1, 2021), purses on allowance races will be bumped up $3,000, while all other races will receive a $2,000 hike. Maiden special weight races will now be worth $50,000. The purse increase includes both open races and Louisiana-bred races.

Entries for the Friday, January 1 card will be drawn on Saturday, December 26, 2020.

Bobby’s Wicked One Looks to Defend Thanksgiving Title

Fair Grounds Lover is 5-for-6 Locally


New Orleans (November 24, 2020) – Autumn Hill Farms Racing Stables Inc.’s Bobby’s Wicked One will look to rediscover his best form and try to repeat in the $125,000 Thanksgiving Classic when he starts as the one to catch in Fair Grounds’ Opening Day stakes. The 6-furlong dash is the first of 51 stakes worth $7.055 million at the 76-day meet, which will be run for the 149th time, and this year’s renewal is as deep and competitive as any in recent memory.

Bobby’s Wicked One (post four, 4-1 ML, Miguel Mena to ride), a 5-year-old son of Speightstown trained by All Stall, Jr., figures to welcome a return to a Fair Grounds main track that he’s 5-for-6 over lifetime. Last in both the Count Fleet (G3) behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Whitmore at Oaklawn Park in April and Volatile in the Aristides at Churchill Downs June 6, Bobby’s Wicked One will race fresh on Thursday. Stall opted for a planned summer freshening after the Aristides, with an eye towards Fair Grounds and a winter campaign, and Bobby’s Wicked One, who is 6-for-17 lifetime, including a win in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland in April 2019, has responded well.

“He just hasn’t been a summer horse, so it’s normal for us to give him some off time. He ran those two bad races but physically there was nothing wrong,” Stall said. “He usually wilts a bit in the heat and has proven to be a winter horse, so we’re looking forward to leading him over for another go Thursday.”

Bobby’s Wicked One put in his final piece of work with a sharp 5-furlong move in 1:00 over the local main track, the second-fastest of 45 drills at the distance. While he does enter off a five-month layoff, Stall is eagerly looking towards a title defense.

“Physically, and moving-wise, he’s come back better than ever this fall. He’s gotten that last bit of maturity in him and you’re going to see a very thick, strong horse in the paddock,” Stall said. “We weren’t able to get a prep off the bench but he’s a fresh, sharp horse, so hopefully he breaks running and we can get over to the rail. For whatever reason, he’s a very confident horse when he can get to the rail, from what Miguel has told me.”

Susan Moulton’s Manny Wah (post 5, 3-1, James Graham) may be winless in seven starts this year for trainer Wayne Catalano but you could argue he enters with the best recent form of any of his seven rivals. He comes in off a close and troubled fifth-place in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland on November 7. The 4-year-old son of Will Take Charge was third in both the Count Fleet and Aristides and is 3-for-21 lifetime. He hasn’t missed a beat since his Keeneland run, which may have surprised everyone but his trainer.

“We thought he was live as a firecracker that day and with the layout of the race we thought we were a winner, but he gave up the spot to the 7 (Whitmore) and that was it,” Catalano said. “I think we’ll be in the catbird seat (Thursday) off the speed, pull the trigger, and go baby, go.”

ERJ Racing LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, and Dave Kenney’s Landeskog (post six, 4-1, Colby Hernandez) will look to get untracked after a disappointing sixth at odds-on in Pimlico’s Oct. 3 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash (G3). The 4-year-old son of Munnings returned from a 10-month layoff and posted a decisive win in an optional-claimer at Ellis Park in August while making his first start for trainer Brad Cox but seemed to regress at Pimlico. Landeskog is 3-for-7 lifetime, and figures to be pressing Bobby’s Wicked One the entire way.

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Nitrous (post two, 7-2, Adam Beschizza) was third, beaten just a head, in the DeFrancis for trainer Steve Asmussen and will look to break a nine-race losing streak. The 4-year-old son of Tapit is 3-for-17 lifetime and has faced some of the best in the sprint division since winning the Bachelor at Oaklawn in April 2019.

Gary Broad’s Tringale (post one, 12-1, Mitchell Murrill), second to Bobby’s Wicked One in last year’s renewal, has been working bullets in the morning for his first start since April; Brittlyn Stable Inc.’s Chublicious (post three, 20-1, Angel Suarez), fifth in the 2018 renewal; Winning Stables Inc.’s He’s Smokin Now (post seven, 20-1, Marcelino Pedroza), a restricted stakes winner at Canterbury Park earlier this year; and Erma Cobb’s Mr Money Bags (post eight, 9-2, Carlos Marquez), who won the Stonerside Sprint at Sam Houston in January, are also entered for the Thanksgiving Classic.

The Thanksgiving Classic is the eighth race on a strong 10-race Opening Day card, with a scheduled post of 3:35 p.m. CT. Weather permitting, the will be four turf races (R3,R5,R7, R9), along with an MSW for 2-year-olds (R6) that could have a direct impact on the “Road to the Derby” series, which culminates March 20, with the 108th running of the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2).

The meet kicks off at 12:00 p.m. CT and will mark the return of a traditional early and late Pick 5, which will encompass the first and last five races of the card, with the latter replacing the Black Gold 5 jackpot bet. In addition, there will be a daily early Pick 4 (R2-5), and late Pick 4 on the last four races of the day, as well as a middle Pick 4 when there are 10 or more races. A pocket schedule, along with a complete list of the stakes schedule, can be found here:


Battered By Hurricane Laura, Delta Downs Is Back in Business

By Bill Finley

Take a quick glance at the opening day card at Delta Downs and it might seem like nothing has changed. The fields for Tuesday’s races are full, perennial leading trainer Karl Broberg has seven entered and the feature is a $60,000 stakes for Louisiana-breds that has attracted horses from the stables of Tom Amoss and Steve Asmussen.

But this will be a meet unlike any other at the track that sits just a few miles east of the Texas-Louisiana border. Delta Downs was directly in the path of Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm with winds reaching 150 miles per hour that all but tore the place apart when it hit land on Aug. 27. Since then, there’s been a full-court press to get the track ready for a delayed opening day of a meet that will be conducted during the day.


Read TDN article

Top Stables Old and New Converge on Fair Grounds

Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown among several powerful new barns


New Orleans (November 20, 2020) – A deep and competitive backstretch will be that much tougher this winter when Fair Grounds opens their 149th meet Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26, as several new trainers will make their presence felt for the first time. The who’s who list is led by reigning four-time Eclipse Award winner Chad Brown, who will have 24 stalls and joins two-time defending champion Brad Cox, along with perennial powers Ron Faucheux, Tom Amoss and Steve Asmussen, in making up one of the most talented and well-stocked group of conditioners to have ever descended on Fair Grounds.

Brown, based primarily in New York for the first decade of his career, has branched out in recent years and put down roots in Kentucky this year for the first time, which created a natural progression towards Fair Grounds.


“Being in the Midwest at Churchill Downs, and with things going well, we felt it made a lot of sense to bring a division to Fair Grounds and try to establish a year-round circuit,” Brown said. “We’re optimistic that we can be competitive down there this winter.”


Brown, who has long had the deepest and most talented grass horses in the country, is familiar with Fair Grounds’ biggest turf stakes, the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2), as he shipped Bricks and Mortar in to win the race in 2019, in what helped kickstart a Horse of the Year campaign that ended with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. While he plans on taking advantage of the local turf course, he expects to be well represented on all levels.


“Right now, we’re still finalizing who we’re going to bring down there and what kind of horses fit best, regardless of what class or division it might be,” Brown said. “We’ll look over the condition book and see, on a horse-by-horse basis, what makes the most sense. If we have a lot of horses for the same condition it makes sense to separate them. And certainly, we’ll keep our clients in mind as well, as some like to race in certain spots, based on where they are located.”


Brown is based at Palm Meadows in South Florida during the winter and will still call that home, which means Whit Beckman, a Louisville native who oversaw the Kentucky division this year, will be running the shedrow at Fair Grounds.


“Whit has been with us a few years now and has done a terrific job with the Kentucky string this year,” Brown said. “He’s proven himself to be an excellent horseman and will be familiar with a lot of the horses we send to Fair Grounds.”


Though the list of newcomers is clearly led by Brown, there are several other nationally recognized trainers who will have a string at Fair Grounds this winter, including Norm Casse, who will have 21 stalls, while Ignacio Correas (26), Cherie DeVaux (22), Tommy Drury (6), Austin Gustafson (22), Anthony Quartarolo (14), Kelly Rubley (15), and Shane Wilson (40) are all new faces.


A smaller presence at Fair Grounds in recent years, Keith Desormeaux (25) has upped thee ante for 2020-21. He’s enjoyed local success in the past, winning the Risen Star (G2) in 2013 with 135-1 longshot Ive Struck a Nerve, while Drury could bring grade 2 winning 3-year-old Art Collector to run in next season’s handicap division.


Cox, who pulled clear late last year and won the trainer’s title with 40 wins, is the favorite to win it this year and will have the maximum allotted 44 stalls, as will Faucheux, who ran second with 34 wins. Amoss (29 wins) and Asmussen (26) also have 44 stalls, as do top-10 trainers Bret Calhoun, Joe Sharp, Al Stall, and Mike Stidham.


The jockey’s race was a meet-long battle last year, as James Graham booted home 63 winners to outlast Mitchell Murrill by one and Colby Hernandez by three, and the trio will again lead the way this year. Florent Geroux (56 wins), Brian Hernandez Jr. (44), Adam Beschizza (44), Shaun Bridgmohan (38), Gabriel Saez (35), and Miguel Mena (32) were all in the top-10 and will be back this winter as well.


Opening Day marks the first of 76 racing days as Fair Grounds will run through March 28. There will be over $7 million in stakes races, highlighted by the March 20, $1 million Louisiana Derby. A pocket schedule, along with a complete list of the stakes schedule, can be found here:




VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs racing office took entries on Tuesday for the opening day program of its upcoming 2020-21 Thoroughbred season. The 84-day stand will kick off on Tuesday, November 24 and run through April 16. First post time each day of the meet will be at 12:55 pm Central Time.

A total of 96 horses, including also eligible horses, were entered in the nine-race program to start the season. The first week of live racing will include programs on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25. The track will be dark on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday the 26th before the week wraps up with live cards on Friday and Saturday, November 27 and 28.

Following opening week, Delta Downs will settle into a Monday through Thursday schedule for the remainder of the season with the only exception being Thursday, December 24, when the track will be dark on Christmas Eve.

The opening day feature race is the $60,000 B Connected Stakes carded as the eighth event on the card. The race attracted a group of 12, which includes two also eligible horses. The top earner in the field is Thomas L. Holyfield’s 7-year-old gelding Bistraya, who has banked $235,346 during his 38-race career. Bistraya is trained by David Gomez and will be ridden by Gerardo Mora.

Race fans will be treated to one stakes race per day for the first six days of the season. In addition to the B Connected on opening day, the $60,000 Lookout will take place on Wednesday of opening week. The $100,000 Treasure Chest takes center stage on Friday, and the $100,000 Delta Mile will headline the action on Saturday. On Monday, November 30 it will be the $100,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes before the $100,000 My Trusty Cat spotlights the Tuesday, December 1 card.

For more information about the upcoming season, including the entire stakes schedule, visit the track’s website Fans can also get information about the track through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.




NEW ORLEANS, LA., (November 17, 2020) – The Fair Grounds Race Course announced today that it will not open its 2020 – 2021 race season on Thanksgiving Day to the general public. The course anticipates making a subsequent announcement in December as to when the general public will be allowed to attend.


Said President Doug Shipley, “We are happy to be able to present the Fair Grounds’ 149th racing season, featuring over $7 million in stakes, and continue this longstanding New Orleans tradition despite these unprecedented times. Out of an abundance of caution given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and working with State and Local authorities, we will not be opening the season to the general public at this time, with only licensed horsemen and essential personnel allowed to attend. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and hope to make an announcement soon as to when we will be able to share our racing experience with the general public.”


The Fair Grounds’ slots and twelve off-track betting facilities will maintain their normal hours of operations and safety protocols.


About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots


Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 12 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 149th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 108th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 26, 2020 through March 28, 2021. More information can be found online






VINTON, LA. – Delta Downs’ 2020-21 Thoroughbred season will see plenty of changes after a pair of powerful storms caused heavy damage to the racetrack during the offseason.


Hurricane Laura, which struck the Vinton, Louisiana area on August 27 as a Category 4 storm with winds of nearly 150 miles per hour, caused extensive damage to the facility before Hurricane Delta struck nearly the same area as a Category 2 storm on October 9.


Due to the lengthy repairs necessary, Delta Downs’ season has been pushed back from its original starting date of October 6 and will now begin on Tuesday, November 24. The 84-day meeting will run through April 16 and feature live racing each Monday through Thursday following opening week. Post times for this season will be at 12:55 pm Central Time each day since the lighting system was damaged beyond repair and nighttime racing was made impossible.


Delta Downs’ stakes schedule for the upcoming season has also been altered this year. Overall, the track will offer 22 added-money races worth a total of $1.745 million.


The stakes activity will begin on opening week with a pair of $60,000 races, the Lookout and the B Connected Stakes, on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 24 and 25. The track will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26 before the week wraps up on Friday and Saturday with a pair of $100,000 events, the Treasure Chest and the Delta Mile.


The richest race day of the year will happen on Wednesday, February 10 when the track hosts the 18th edition of Louisiana Premier Day. The star-studded program will include 10 stakes races for Louisiana-bred horses and a total of $805,000 in total purse money. The featured race on Louisiana Premier Day will be the $125,000 Louisiana Premier Day Championship for older horses traveling 1 1/16 miles.


For more information about the upcoming season, including the entire stakes schedule, visit the track’s website Fans can also get information about the track through Facebook by visiting the page ‘Delta Downs Racing’. The track’s Twitter handle is @deltaracing.


Delta Downs Racetrack Casino and Hotel, a property of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD), features exciting casino action, live horse racing and fun dining experiences. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana, on Delta Downs Drive. From Lake Charles, take Exit 7 and from Texas, take Exit 4.


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