Fair Grounds Announces 2020-21 Racing and Stakes Schedule

“Road to the Derby” Series Highlighted on Fair Grounds’
76-Day, 2020-21 Thoroughbred Racing Schedule

2020-21 STAKES SCHEDULE worth $7.13 MILLION

NEW ORLEANS (October 8, 2020) – Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 51 stakes worth a combined $7.055 million will be offered during the upcoming 76-day 2020-21 Thoroughbred racing season, which is set to begin Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26.

“We are proud to once again continue our growth and support of the Thoroughbred racing industry with our purse allocations and this diverse and dynamic stakes schedule” said Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots president Doug Shipley. “We look forward to our 149th racing season and the continuation of bringing many of the best horsemen and jockeys from around the world to enjoy the high caliber racing at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.”

The “Louisiana Derby Day” card on March 20 will feature eight stakes worth a total of $2.425 million, including the 108th running of the Grade II $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds.

Previously run over nine furlongs on dirt, the distance of Louisiana Derby was extended to 1 3/16ths miles last season. The third and final local prep on the Road to the Grade I $3 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, the race is worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers. Run at 1 1/16 miles, the 53rd running of the Grade II $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies offers the same number of points en route to the Grade I $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks.

“Lengthening the distances of all three of our Road to the Derby races proved to be quite popular with the horsemen,” said Fair Grounds racing secretary Scott Jones. “The Lecomte drew 14 entries, the Risen Star had 23 entries and was split into two divisions, and the Louisiana Derby had an overflow field. Our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen a great opportunity to develop their horses and compete for excellent purses.”

A pair of nine furlong, high-impact stakes for older horses are also scheduled on the Louisiana Derby Day program – the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Classic and the Grade II $300,000 Muniz Memorial Stakes, to be run over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course. In addition, four undercard stakes are slated for the lucrative card, including the $100,000 Tom Benson Memorial for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass and a trio of Louisiana-bred events – the $75,000 Costa Rising Stakes, a 5½-furlong turf sprint, the $75,000 Crescent City Derby for 3-year-old males at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Crescent City Oaks for females at 1 mile and 70 yards.

On January 16, the “Road to the Derby Kickoff Day presented by Hotel Monteleone” features a pair of key 3-year-old events — the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes, which was extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles last season, and the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for fillies at 1 mile and 70 yards. The top four finishers in each race receive 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the January 16 program, including the $125,000 Louisiana Stakes, which was elevated to Grade III status and received a $25,000 purse increase, at 1 1/16 miles, the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Stakes at 1 1/16 miles over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course, the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and the $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

On February 13, “Louisiana Derby Preview Day presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln” features a pair of key 3-year-old stakes — the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln, which was extended from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles last season, and the Grade II $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton, for fillies to be contested over 1 1/16 miles. The top four finishers receive 50-20-10-5 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks respectively.

The Rachel Alexandra has produced the last two of the last three Kentucky Oaks winners in Monomoy Girl and Serengeti Empress and 2014 victress Untapable also took down the Run for the Lilies. Our 2020 third place finisher Swiss Skydiver has gone on to win five graded stakes, including the Alabama (G1) in advance of a runner-up finish in in the Oaks, and the Preakness (G1) against the boys. With such a stellar history of recent participants, Fair Grounds remains hopeful the Rachel Alexandra will soon achieve Grade I status is deserves.

Four stakes for older horses will also be presented on the February 13 program — the Grade III $200,000 Mineshaft Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, the Grade III $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes for at nine furlongs on turf, the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes at 5½ furlongs on turf and the $100,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

The December 19 “Santa Super Saturday presented by Coca-Cola” card offers a six-pack of $75,000 stakes. Four of the races are for older horses — the Tenacious Stakes at 1 1/16ths miles, the Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, the Blushing K.D. for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf, and the Buddy Diliberto Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on turf. The other two are six furlong events for juveniles – the Sugar Bowl Stakes for the boys and the Letellier Memorial Stakes for the girls.

Louisiana Champions Day presented by Acadian Ambulance will be held on December 14. With the races run over various divisions and distances on both dirt and turf, the program features ten stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. Each Louisiana Champions Day stakes is worth $100,000 with the exception of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic, which carries a $150,000 purse.

The purse for the opening day Thanksgiving Classic for older male sprinters has been increased $25,000 to $125,000. The $60,000 Shantel Lanerie, to be run on March 21, has been repurposed as a route race for older Louisiana-bred fillies and mares.

The 76-day, 2020-2021 Fair Grounds racing season runs through Sunday, March 28. Regular post time will be 1 p.m. CT. The exceptions are Louisiana Derby Preview Day (February 13 at noon CT) and Louisiana Derby Day (March 20 at 11 a.m. CT).

Condition Book #1 

Pocket Calendar & Stakes Schedule 

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LIVE THOROUGHBRED RACING RETURNS TO SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK ON FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2021

Request For 46-Day Thoroughbred Meet Granted at Tuesday’s Texas Racing Commission Meeting

 

HOUSTON, TX – Sam Houston Race Park will kick off its 2021 live racing season on Friday, January 8 with an expanded 46-day Thoroughbred meet.  Live racing will be conducted on the traditional Friday and Saturday evenings, with Thursday late afternoon racing added to the calendar throughout the season.  Wednesday afternoon racing will return for seven weeks beginning February 10.  The Thoroughbred meet will conclude on Saturday,

April 3 

 

Purses will be substantial with a total of $11.4 million offered throughout the season. Horsemen will have the opportunity to run for overnight purses of approximately $248,000 per day with notable levels as follows:

  • Maiden races will be offered at $36,000
  • Allowance races will start at $37,000

The 2021 Thoroughbred Stakes schedule will offer approximately $2,200,000 in purses. A complete stakes schedule will be released in early October, but officials have confirmed that the Houston Racing Festival will take place on Sunday, January 31 with an afternoon post time. Both the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) and the John B. Connally Turf (G3) continue to attract nationally prominent trainers and serve as a springboard for each champion to garner multiple graded stakes throughout the year.

 

“We had an exceptional meet in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced its early cancelation,” said Dwight Berube, Sam Houston Race Park’s General Manager. “Our goal throughout this year was to move forward and offer our loyal horsemen and women even better opportunities for 2021. We are very excited about the upcoming racing season!”

 

Sam Houston Race Park also received approval for their annual Quarter Horse racing season. The 23-day meet will begin on FridayApril 23 and continue through Saturday, June 12.

 

Frank Hopf, Senior Director of Racing Operations and James Leatherman, Racing Secretary announced that stall applications for the upcoming meet are due by Wednesday, November 6.  The Sam Houston Race Park barn area will open on Saturday, November 28 with training hours set to commence on Tuesday, December 1.  The first condition book will be available in mid-October and further information about the season can be accessed at www.shrp.com.

 

About Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. SHRP offers a variety of attractions including luxury suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club.  For more information on upcoming events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.

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Mirabeau Takes D.S. “Shine” Young Filly Div. by 10 1/4

D.S. Shine Young Futurity
Evangeline Downs, 8-29-20, 5.5. furlongs
Two-Year-Old fillies, Accredited Louisiana-breds, $60,000

MIRABEAU - The DS Shine Young Futurity
Mirabeau, with Diego Saenz aboard wins the filly division of the D.S. “Shine” Young Memorial Stakes at Evangeline Downs. Coady Photography.

MIRABEAU
Bind-Smittystown
Breeder: J. Adcock & Nathan C. Granger
Owner: Larry Romero & Ron Faucheux
Trainer: Ron Faucheux
Jockey: Diego Saenz

2nd
Squox
Oxbow-Suprise Squall
Breeder: Danny M. Brown, Donna B. Brown & Calument Farm
Owner: Laurence Jones
Trainer: Justin Jeansonne
Jockey: Pedro L. Cotto, Jr.

3rd
Mamas Gone Crazy
Bind-Keenly Enduring
Breeder: Brandon Adcock
Owner: Carl J. Deville
Trainer: Carl J. Deville
Jockey: Devin H. Magnon

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OAKLAWN PLANNING 57-DAY MEET WITH FOUR $1 MILLION STAKES IN 2021

Pending approval from the Arkansas Racing Commission, Oaklawn plans to conduct its regular 57-day meet highlighted by four $1 million stakes races – $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2), $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) – and the richest purse structure in its 117-year history. The 2021 season, which will be accentuated by the opening of a multi-purpose event center and a luxury 200-room hotel overlooking the track, is scheduled to run Friday, Jan. 22 – Saturday, May 1.

In addition, 21 stakes will have their purses raised by at least $25,000, most notably are $150,000 increases to both the Essex Handicap on March 13 and Oaklawn Mile on April 10, which will be worth $500,000 and $400,000, respectively. The purse of the Razorback Handicap (G3) on Saturday, Feb. 13 will be raised by $100,000 to $600,000. All stakes, including ones for state-breds, will be at least $150,000 each.

“We would not be able to once again offer record purses next year if it weren’t for the tremendous support we’ve received from the Arkansas Racing Commission, the horsemen, and our fans in 2020,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We are excited to continue building on our ‘New Level of Excellence,’ which will include our new hotel, event center, state-of-the-art spa, and additional restaurants, which are all on schedule to open late 2020/early 2021.”

Oaklawn’s rich 3-year-old program for horses with Kentucky Derby aspirations will begin opening day, Jan. 22, with the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes and will culminate closing day, May 1, with the $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational. In between are the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) on Feb. 15, Presidents’ Day Monday, the $1 million Rebel Stakes (G2) on March 13, and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 10.

Oaklawn’s five signature races that comprise the traditional Racing Festival of the South will be run over three Saturdays starting with the $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies on Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail on April 3.

The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1), a major stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby, will be run on April 10 along with three other stakes. Oaklawn’s series for older horses culminates on April 17 with the $1 million Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and the $1 million Apple Blossom (G1) for fillies and mares.

“Once finalized, the full purse program will be released soon,” added Oaklawn General Manager Wayne Smith. “We anticipate it will exceed $700,000 a day.”

Oaklawn’s 2021 stakes schedule features a total of 33 races worth $11,000,000. Racing will be conducted Friday–Sunday for the first two weeks of the meet and then shift to a Thursday–Sunday schedule starting in February. There will be racing on Presidents’ Day – Monday, Feb. 15, but there will be no racing on Easter Sunday, April 4.

Located in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, Oaklawn has been one of the premiere Thoroughbred racetracks in the country since 1904, best known as home of the $1 million Arkansas Derby. The newly expanded Vegas-style casino features slots, live table games, and sports betting year-round. Live racing held Jan-May and simulcast racing throughout the year. Opening early 2021 are a 200-room luxury hotel, multi-purpose event center, state-of-the-art spa and new dining options. Website – http://www.Oaklawn.com, Phone – 1-800-OAKLAWN.

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HARRAH’S LOUISIANA DOWNS ANNOUNCES PURSE INCREASE OF $1,500 PER RACE BEGINNING AUGUST 8

The Annual Louisiana Cup Day Will Take Place on Saturday, September19 with the Support of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA)

 

Bossier City, LA – Harrah’s Louisiana Downs is pleased to announce that overnight purses will be increased by $1,500 for the remainder of the 2020 Thoroughbred meet. The adjustment will go into effect on Saturday, August 8 and will continue through the conclusion of the racing season on Wednesday, September 23.

“We thank our local horsemen for their support since the live racing season began on June 6,” said David Heitzmann, Director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “This has been a very challenging year due to COVID-19, so we are pleased to reward these hard working men and women with a purse increase of $1,500 across the board.”

Further good news is that Louisiana Cup Day will be held at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs on Saturday, September 19.  The annual day of racing, which traditionally takes place in August, showcases accredited Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds. Due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, the event was put on hold, but Roger Heitzmann, Executive Director of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA); Ed Fenasci, Executive Director of the HBPA and David Heitzmann, director of Racing at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, have worked diligently to put the annual stakes day back on the calendar.  On June 16, the LTBA Board of Directors voted to earmark $100,000 for Louisiana Cup Day.

“We are grateful to LTBA for allocating the funds so we can run Louisiana Cup Day once again this year,” added Heitzmann. “This is a very important day for our breeders, horsemen, and of course, the fans at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.”

Louisiana Cup Day Featured Stakes                                   

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile                    2 YO LA-Bred                        Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Juvenile Fillies          2 YO Fillies LA-Bred             Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Filly & Mare Sprint  3 YO & Up F&M, LA-Bred  Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint                        3 YO & Up LA-Bred              Six furlongs

$40,000 Louisiana Cup Turf Classic              3 YO & Up LA-Bred              1 1/16 miles (T)

$40,000 Louisiana Distaff                              3 YO & Up F & M LA-Bred  1 1/16 miles (T)

 

Post Times and Racing Dates

The 2020 Thoroughbred racing season at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs got underway on Saturday, June 6. The 64-day meet will run Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday through September 23. Post time is 3:05 pm (Central).

About Harrah’s Louisiana Downs

Located near Shreveport in Bossier City, Louisiana, Louisiana Downs opened in 1974 and was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in December, 2002. With annual Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing seasons, the track is committed to presenting the highest quality racing programs paired with its 150,000 square foot entertainment complex offering casino gambling, dining and plasma screen televisions for sports and simulcast racing.

 

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Lone Star Approved for Two Additional Race Dates

Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 will be added to the Thoroughbred meet.

 

The Texas Racing Commission approved July 21 two extra Thoroughbred race dates for Lone Star Park. The racetrack near Dallas recently lost nearly eight whole race days after a racing operations employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Lone Star was granted the requested dates of Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, the first two Wednesdays of next month, for its Thoroughbred meet. The track was originally slated to conduct a 44-day meet April 16-Aug. 11, but did not get underway until May 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Read BloodHorse Article

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Racing Resumes at Lone Star Park

The track has raised purses and added racing Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, per the TTA.

 

Lone Star Park, which suspended racing after the first race July 5 when officials were notified an employee involved in operations tested positive for COVID-19, resumed July 19, according to a statement from Kym Koch Thompson, a track spokesperson.

Texas has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 310,000 confirmed cases in state and in excess of 3,700 deaths.

The track has carded four stakes July 22 that were delayed as a result of its suspension of racing.

According to the Texas Thoroughbred Association, Lone Star has increased purses 18%, effective with its reopening Sunday. The TTA-announced increase is not reflected in the purses listed on the track’s drawn races through July 22. Maiden special weight races are shown carrying a purse $34,000, for example, as they were earlier this meet.

The TTA also states that the track will add two additional race days: Aug. 5 and Aug. 12.

Both divisions of the $100,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Futurity have been rescheduled for Aug. 11, but the second legs of the Texas Stallion Series have been canceled due to “necessary changes to the race schedule,” the TTA wrote on its website. The TTA said the hope is to run those races in January at Sam Houston Race Park.

Lone Star began a COVID-19-delayed meet May 22 that had originally been scheduled to end Aug. 11.

 

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Del Mar Cancels July 17-19 Racing After 15 More Jockeys Test Positive For COVID-19

by

 

With caution its primary concern, Del Mar has preemptively canceled its next three days of racing, July 17-18-19, after 15 jockeys tested positive for COVID-19. All of Del Mar’s jockeys and jockey room personnel were tested on Tuesday by San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency staff as requested by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

“Assuming these individuals continue to show no symptoms, they will be isolated for a total of 10 days and should be able to resume their usual activities, including riding after that time,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director, Epidemiology & Immunizations Services, County of San Diego.

“Racing will return on July 24,” said Joe Harper, Del Mar’s CEO. “Canceling this weekend’s races will give us additional time to monitor the situation and give the individuals who tested positive additional time to recover.”

On Tuesday, based on DMTC protocols, as well as direction from medical advisers and county public health officials, the testing was administered by county medical staff. Fifteen of the jockeys tested positive and all were believed to be asymptomatic. Contact tracing procedures are underway in conjunction with the San Diego Health & Human Services Agency. However, a common factor among all but one of the riders that tested positive is that they rode at the recently concluded Los Alamitos meet.

Del Mar officials ordered the testing of all the jockeys and jockeys’ room personnel after two riders, Flavien Prat and Victor Espinoza, tested positive for COVID-19.

“Even though our jockey colony did not exhibit symptoms when they arrived at Del Mar, we made the decision to test everyone as part of protocols we have developed in conjunction with local medical experts and the San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency,” said Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar Thoroughbred President and COO. “We put these measures in place to help ensure the safety of all workers at Del Mar and our surrounding community.”

Because of the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPPA), Del Mar is not allowed to release the names of the affected riders.

In a further safety measure, only jockeys based in California will be permitted to ride at Del Mar for the remainder of the meeting. Jockeys from jurisdictions outside of California will not be allowed to ride at Del Mar. The measure to restrict the riding colony follows a similar announcement Tuesday by the New York Racing Association concerning jockeys at Saratoga Race Course. Under Del Mar’s new policy, until further notice, local jockeys who leave the track to ride at other venues will not be allowed to ride again at Del Mar for the remainder of the summer racing meeting.

Additionally, Del Mar officials are re-configuring and expanding the track’s jockeys’ quarters, including moving some of the functions that normally take place in the jockeys’ room to an adjacent area.

Del Mar has been providing health screening, monitoring and testing resources for barn area workers and essential personnel during its summer meet, which is being held for the first time in the track’s 81-year history without spectators. The meet began Friday July 10th and will conclude on Labor Day, September 7.

Del Mar’s health and safety protocols have been formulated with direct input from medical experts in the community.

“We have worked with Del Mar to apply practical health protocols for its essential personnel and we applaud the track’s continued vigilance to help provide a safe environment for its work force,” said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, MD, Corporate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at San Diego’s Scripps Health. “We can reasonably expect that there will be some additional positive tests. The key is to provide strategies and protocols for testing, quarantining, containment and management, all of which Del Mar is doing in cooperation with local public health experts and officials.”

Del Mar’s racing officials have said that many of the races that had been scheduled for the upcoming weekend will be shifted to the following weekend. That includes the Grade 2, $150,000 San Diego Handicap and the Grade 2 $200,000 Eddie Read Stakes.

The Thoroughbred Owners of California said they are in agreement with Del Mar’s measures. “TOC strongly supports the actions taken today by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in conjunction with the San Diego County Department of Health. The health of our riders is our top priority now.”

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Lone Star Cancels Through Week; Melancon Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Bill Finley

 

With Lone Star Park officials having little to say about the abrupt shut down of racing after Sunday’s first race, it was unclear when racing would resume at the Dallas area track or if the meet will be canceled.

Citing a conversation with racing secretary Tim Williams, the Daily Racing Form reported Monday that the three days of racing scheduled for this week would not be held.

Lone Star’s decision to stop racing may be related to the news that jockey Gerard Melancon has tested positive for the coronavirus. A regular at Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs, Melancon last rode June 28 on shipper Mocito Rojo (Mutadda) in the Lone Star Mile.

Read TDN Article

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Racing Sees Bump in Overall Handle in June

Horseplayers are supporting racing that’s available.

Like all sports, racing is facing challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with extensive coverage on national television, fans are finding the sport.

Those fans wagered nearly $1 billion on available racing in June 2020 as handle for the month actually was up 0.76% to $998,448,300 when compared with June 2019. That bump in handle occurred despite a near 40% reduction in race days to 300. While race dates have been lost as tracks adjust to COVID-19 restrictions, fans are supporting available racing as average wagering per race day jumped 68% in June to $3,328,161.

The available racing product is an upgrade for fans as tracks have spread out their schedules to fill available days—like Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday cards. And, a reduction in racing opportunities has helped increase average field size, up 14% in June to 8.11 starters.

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