Stakes Purses Raised by $1.2 Million at Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds | Hodges Photography

Louisiana's Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will host 73 black-type races worth a combined $9.7 million during the upcoming 76-day 2023-24 Thoroughbred meet, officials at the New Orleans oval announced Wednesday. The amount is up $1.2 million from last year, but does include $1 million in base purses offered Dec. 2 as Fair Grounds hosts the 25th annual Claiming Crown. That event returns to Fair Grounds for the first time since 2011 with purses ranging from $75,000 to $200,000. Another $25,000 in each race will be available in purse supplements for accredited Louisiana-bred horses.

“In our 152nd year, Fair Grounds will set another record for the richest stakes schedule in Louisiana history,” said Doug Shipley, President and General Manager of the track.

Opening day is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 17, with six $75,000 Louisiana-bred stakes over the season's first two days, while the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day happens Dec. 23 with eight stakes.

“Many deserve thanks for their dedication and efforts to make this happen,” said Fair Grounds Racing Secretary Scott Jones. “Along with our phenomenal Road to the Kentucky Derby series and thriving turf course, this is one more reason why there is no better winter destination for horse racing than New Orleans.”

The highlight of the season, the $1,000,000 GII Louisiana Derby, is set for Saturday, Mar. 23, with 100-50-25-15-10 points awarded to the top five finishers on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Eight stakes worth a total of $2,625,000 will be carded for the day, including the $400,000 GII Fair Grounds Oaks Presented by Fasig-Tipton, which awards 100-50-25-15-10 points en route to the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks. Last year's runner-up Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) rebounded from that defeat with a victory in the Oaks.

“The strong infusion of our sport's top 3-year-olds training and racing at Fair Grounds has been very apparent these past few seasons,” Jones said. “Beginning with the Gun Runner and the Untapable for late-season juveniles, it's proven that our progressive schedule of 3-year-old races for both the boys and girls gives horsemen the proper distances and spacing to prepare their runners for the first weekend in May and beyond.”

Closing day is Sunday, Mar. 24. Regular post time throughout the meet will be 12:45 p.m. CT, with an earlier noon CT first post on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23), Road to the Derby Kickoff Day (Dec. 23), Road to the Derby Day (Jan. 20), Louisiana Derby Preview Day (Feb. 17), and Louisiana Derby Day (March 23).

Click to see the entire Fair Grounds 2023-24 stakes schedule or the first Condition Book.

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