Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, also referred to as the New Orleans Fair Grounds, is one of Louisiana's superb horse racing venues. Despite undergoing many difficulties through its years of operation, Fair Grounds Race Course has certainly made a name for itself and is one of the oldest racing sites in the country.
When it first opened in 1852 the race track was called Union Race Course. It closed in 1857 but opened as Creole Race Course in 1859. Then, in 1863 it became the Fair Grounds Race Course. The Louisiana Jockey Club was formed in 1871 and the first race card was hosted there in 1872. Horse Racing was banned in New Orleans in 1908 but was legalized again in 1915. The grandstand was destroyed by a fire in 1919. After coming to the brink of destruction, Fairgrounds Race Course was saved. Later, in 1981, the turf course was installed and in 1994 a number of renovations were made. The race course was then bought by Churchill Downs Incorporated. Fair Grounds Race Course was very badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina, but has started running again.
New Orleans' Fair Grounds Race Course has a main loam track of 1 mile. The inner turf course is 7 furlongs. Sufficient stabling is available for 1,950 horse on the establishment's 145 acres. Fair Grounds has an impressive calendar with various graded stakes, handicaps and ungraded races. Amongst these are the Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds Oaks, New Orleans Handicap, Lecomte Stakes, Silverbulletday Stakes, Pan Zareta Handicap, Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap, Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap, Risen Star Stakes and Whirlaway Handicap.
Fair Grounds Race Course has lovely facilities and improvements are undertaken on an ongoing basis. When hunger strikes, patrons can enjoy a meal at the Clubhouse Dining Room and food courts at the grandstand. The Fair Grounds also host several other well-known events such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in summer. Racegoers will be thoroughly impressed by Fair Grounds Race Course's excellent horse racing events, OTB facilities and guest services.