New Orleans Fair Grounds
Fun, excitement, thrills, intrigue and adventure. And the chance to win a lot of money. That’s a good description of a day spent at the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, which under various names has been home to world-class horse racing since 1852.
At that time, it was the Union Race Course. Competition from the nearby Metairie Course closed down the track for a few years, but it re-opened in 1859 as the Creole Race Course. The facility’s name was changed a final time to Fair Grounds in 1863.
The most prestigious race held at Fair Grounds is the Louisiana Derby, which is a Grade II stakes race for 3-year-olds run in late March as a prep outing for the Kentucky Derby. The dirt course is nine furlongs and offered a purse of $750,000 in 2016. Winning horses Black Gold (1924) and Grindstone (1994) went on to win the Kentucky Derby. Risen Star won the Louisiana Derby in 1988 and followed with victories at the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, two of three horse racing Triple Crown events.
Along with standard wagering on live events at Fair Grounds, visitors also can enjoy off-track betting at 11 other facilities throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds boasts the largest number of video poker machines in the area.
Some Race Course Trivia
- It’s the oldest thoroughbred race meet in the U.S., behind only Pimlico and Saratoga.
- The mare Pan Zareta and Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold are buried in the infield.
- The Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame was opened in 1971.
- Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, owns the facility.
- Important races held here include the Louisiana Derby (see below), the New Orleans Handicap, the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Mml Handicap, and the Fair Grounds Oaks.
- Home to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, held each year in April and May.
- The facility features 600 modern slot machines.
- The horse racing tracks are a one-mile dirt track and a seven-furlong oval turf track.
- Clubhouse dining room dress code is strictly enforced, with no T-shirts, shorts or sandals permitted.
1751 Gentilly Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70119