Fair Grounds

The Week in Review: Penny Breakage a Welcome Change, but Not a 'First'

When the .69-to-1 favorite returned $3.38 to win at Ellis Park in the first race on July 15, the to-the-penny payoffs represented a massively positive paradigm shift for horseplayers. Under a new Kentucky law that eliminates dime breakage at the state's tracks, bettors will no longer be subject to the disadvantageous, industry-wide practice of down-rounding that, in the above instance, would have sliced the return on that winning $2 wager to $3.20. Yes, penny breakage looks a bit odd to the eye. But getting used to the concept will be...

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Letter to the Editor: Bryan Krantz

Editor's Note: Bryan Krantz is an owner and breeder, as well as a former owner of Fair Grounds. He shares this story about Chris Owens, the longtime famed New Orleans entertainer and club owner who passed away Tuesday. Chris Owens was a regular Thanksgiving Day attendee for Fair Grounds opening day. Usually there were three in her group: Chris, her mom and boyfriend. She was a local celebrity and wanted to be seen. She usually requested a table across the dining room from the maitre d' stand. This insured she...

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What's in a Name?

Let's hear for mature females running the show--and running in the show! They work hard for the breed, especially when they race past their first youth. Was Walt Whitman maybe thinking a little about older mares when he wrote: "The female contains all qualities and tempers them, she is in her place and moves with perfect balance"? And also: "She is to conceive daughters as well as sons, and sons as well as daughters"? HEAVENLY PRIZE INVITATIONAL S., $121,250, Aqueduct, 3-6, 4yo/up, f/m, 1m, 1:39.51, ft. 1--BANK STING, 120, m,...

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Faucheux, Graham, Brittlyn Lock Up Fair Grounds Titles

Ron Faucheux, James Graham and Evelyn Benoit's Brittlyn Stable locked up titles for leading trainer, jockey and owner, respectively, at the Fair Grounds, where the 2021-2022 meeting concluded Sunday, Mar. 27. A native of Louisiana, Faucheux won his second consecutive training championship at the New Orleans oval, sending out 43 winners, a total 10 greater than Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox. Faucheux won three stakes at the meet. James Graham won 72 races during the meeting to reign as champion jockey for the third straight season and fourth overall. Among...

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Echo Zulu Narrowly Stays Unbeaten in Fair Grounds Oaks

With the GI Kentucky Oaks fast approaching, the racing world has been anxiously awaiting the return of 2021's leading lady, undefeated champion juvenile filly Echo Zulu (Gun Runner). Hammered down to 1-9 favoritism in what appeared to be a group of overmatched rivals, Echo Zulu left her fans holding their breath in the lane when confronted by a determined Hidden Connection (Connect). However, the Eclipse winner summoned all her class to eke out the victory, keeping her perfect record in tact and stamping her ticket to the First Friday in...

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Olympiad Stays Hot in NOLA Classic

Olympiad added to his 2022 hot streak with his third straight win Saturday in the GII New Orleans Classic at Fair Grounds. The heavy favorite stalked from second as Promise Keeper put up early splits of :23.69 and :47.25. Seizing command in early stretch, Olympiad rolled clear in the lane for a facile score over Proxy. Promise Keeper held third. Olympiad's final time of 1:47.74 just missed the track record for nine furlongs of 1:47.64. Olympiad won a Keeneland allowance in October, for which he earned a 98 Beyer Speed...

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Son of Hot Dixie Chick Earns Rising Stardom

Well-related Stonestreet Stables product Marsalis (Curlin--Hot Dixie Chick, by Dixie Union) stepped forward off a stellar debut outing to garner the 'TDN Rising Star' distinction Saturday at Fair Grounds. Beaten a head and 5 1/4 lengths clear of third in a salty GII Risen Star S. day heat won by Todd Pletcher-trained invader Momentous (Speightstown) Feb. 19, the Steve Asmussen pupil was off at 3-5 and soon showed why. Off at 3-10 while breaking from the fence, the $340,000 Keeneland September RNA broke well but had to work a bit...

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Olympiad Tries to Keep Rolling in New Orleans Classic

Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stable and LNJ Foxwoods' Olympiad (Speightstown) announced himself as a player in the handicap division with a fast-finishing score in the GIII Mineshaft S. last out at Fair Grounds, and will look for an encore as the favorite in Saturday's GII New Orleans Classic S. on the GII TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby undercard. Graduating at second asking in September of 2020 at Saratoga while besting future stakes winners Caddo River (Hard Spun) and Greatest Honour (Tapit), the $700,000 Keeneland September buy was laid up for 364 days and...

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Echo Zulu Returns in FG Oaks

Undefeated champion and 'TDN Rising Star' Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) makes her highly anticipated seasonal bow Saturday in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks. Flashing her talent with an impressive debut at Saratoga July 15, the $300,000 KEESEP acquisition had things her own way from start to finish in that venue's GI Spinway S. Sept. 5, winning by four lengths. She took no prisoners next out Belmont, romping by 7 1/4 lengths in the GI Frizette S. Oct. 3 and was equally dominant in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies S....

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Epicenter Looks to Repeat in LA Derby

Winchell Thoroughbreds and trainer Steve Asmussen teamed up back in 2016 to take the GII Louisiana Derby with future Horse of the Year Gun Runner and that team is back with a strong chance in this year's renewal with Epicenter (Not This Time). Graduating at second asking at Churchill Downs Nov. 13, the bay was an appropriate and dominant winner of the Gun Runner S. at this venue Dec. 26. Missing by a head to Call Me Midnight (Midnight Lute) in the GIII Lecomte S. here Jan. 22, the $260,000...

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Gary Stevens Talks Secret Oath, Jockeys Leaving California On Writers' Room

Ever-popular retired Hall of Fame jockey and current television analyst for Fox Sports and the New York Racing Association Gary Stevens joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland Tuesday afternoon for an expansive discussion on an array of racing topics and issues. Sitting down with Joe Bianca and Bill Finley as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Stevens gave a huge personal endorsement to star 3-year-old filly Secret Oath (Arrogate) as she prepares to take on males, analyzed the shuffling of the California jockey colony, talked about his...

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Clairiere Much The Best At Fair Grounds

7th-Fair Grounds, $56,000, Alw (NW3$X)/Opt. Clm ($80,000), 3-16, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:43.21, ft, 6 1/2 lengths. CLAIRIERE (f, 4, Curlin--Cavorting {MGISW, $2,063,000}, by Bernardini), fresh off a 2021 season that saw her victorious in both the GI Cotillion S. and the GII Rachel Alexandra S., got back in the winner's circle Wednesday to begin her 2022 campaign. Though a last out fourth by only three-quarters of a length to longshot Marche Lorraine (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}) in the GI Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff, Clairiere posted a career-high 101 Beyer Speed...

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