Fair Grounds Race Course FREE Betting Guide

Profile Picture:

TwinSpires Staff

November 16th, 2017

Fair Grounds Race Meet Betting Guide

The over four month Fair Grounds meet in Louisiana has three weekends of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks prep races. There are 10 graded stakes races for this seasons that have interesting trends traditionally.

This Fair Grounds meet betting guide offers an overview of the track's stakes offerings and Road to the Kentucky Derby and Oaks races.

Fair Grounds Live Racing Stakes Schedule

Date Race Grade Purse Restrictions Surface Distance
Saturday, Jan 13 LeComte Stakes III $200,000 3YO Dirt 1 Mile 70 Yards
Saturday, Jan 13 Col E.R. Bradley Handicap III $125,000 4&UP Turf 1 1/16 Miles
Saturday, Feb 17 Mineshaft Stakes III $150,000 4&UP Dirt 1 1/16 Miles
Saturday, Feb 17 Risen Star Stakes II $400,000 3YO Dirt 1 1/16 Miles
Saturday, Feb 17 Rachel Alexandra Stakes II $200,000 F 3YO Dirt 1 1/16 Miles
Saturday, Feb 17 Fair Grounds Handicap III $150,000 4&UP Dirt 1 1/8 Miles
Saturday, Mar 24 Muniz Memorial Handicap II $300,000 4&UP Turf 1 1/8 Miles
Saturday, Mar 24 New Orleans Handicap II $400,000 4&UP Dirt 1 1/8 Miles
Saturday, Mar 24 Fair Grounds Oaks II $400,000 F 3YO Dirt 1 1/16 Miles
Saturday, Mar 24 Louisiana Derby I $1,000,000 3YO Dirt 1 1/8 Miles


Fair Grounds Graded Stakes Overview

by Alastair Bull

Important Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep races and some high-quality races for older horses on dirt and turf highlight 60 stakes races at the 2017-18 Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots winter meeting.

The meeting at the New Orleans track begins Nov. 18, with four $50,000 races for Louisiana-breds three years old and up. The first big day is Louisiana Champions Day on December 9, featuring eight races for Louisiana-bred Thoroughbreds. Most of the races are worth $100,000, with the highlight being the 1 1/8-mile $150,000 Louisiana Champions Day Classic.

Santa Saturday arrives Dec. 16 with six stakes races, and there are five further stakes in December, setting the stage for the January start of Fair Grounds’ biggest races, featuring three major race days.

The first is Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Jan. 13. The $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3), for 3-year-olds at 1 mile 70
yards, is the highlight of the day, and is part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race series. Also featuring that day is the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, over the same trip as the LeComte, and part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Four other stakes races are run Jan. 13, the most important being the Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap (G3), over 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Five weeks after that is Louisiana Derby Preview Day, Feb. 17. The highlight of the day is the 1 1/16-mile Risen Star Stakes (G2). It’s a valuable lead-up not only to the Louisiana Derby but also the Kentucky Derby – the winner gets 50 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby table.

Run the same day is the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) at the same 1 1/16-mile trip as the Risen Star. It has 50 points
available on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks table for the winner. Two grade three races for older horses also feature: the 1 1/16-mile Mineshaft Handicap on dirt and the 1 1/8-mile Fair Grounds Handicap on turf.

It all leads to the big day, March 24, in which $2.36 million is allocated between five open stakes races and three Louisiana-bred stakes races.

Headlining the day is the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2), run over 1 1/8 miles. The winner gets 100 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, ensuring they get a start in the Run for the Roses. There’s also 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks table for the winner of the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

Don’t forget the other big races on the day, either: the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) over 1 1/8-miles on dirt,
and the $300,000 Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) over 1 1/8 miles on turf.

It all adds up to some great racing, and some great wagering opportunities. Enjoy!


Fair Grounds Racecourse At A Glance for Previous Meet

Data is November 19, 2016 through April 2, 2017

Avg. Winning Odds: 4.98 – 1
Favorite Win%: 42%, Favorite Itm%: 78%
Exacta 81.13
Daily Double 83.29
Trifecta 530.98
Pick 3 469.21
Superfecta 4,448.62
Pick 4 3,518.75
Pick 5 Jackpot 33,316.33
Super High Five 3,988.58


TRACK BIAS MEET(11/19 – 04/02
Distance #
5.5fDirt 74 34% E Rail/Ins  
6.0fDirt 221 36% E Rail/Ins  
1 MileDirt 116 28% E Rail/Ins  
1 1/16mDirt 19 37% E Inside  
Turf Sprint 95 18% P Rail  
Turf Routes 160 19% E/P Rail/Ins  


TRACK BIAS WEEK(03/27 – 04/02)
Distance #
5.5fDirt 13 23% E Mid/Out  
6.0fDirt 5 20% E Inside  
1 MileDirt 16 6% E/P Outside  
1 1/16mDirt 4 50% E Mid/Out  
Turf Sprint 7 43% E/P Middle  
Turf Routes 12 17% E Rail/Ins  


Who’s HOT, Who’s NOT
HOT TRAINERS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
’16-‘ 17
Stall, Jr. Albert M. 11 6 0 0 3.45 3 22%
Stidham Michael 14 6 1 2 4.79 3 18%
Faucheux Ron 8 4 0 0 3.54 1 21%
Ingram Steve 5 3 0 0 27.94 2 19%
Margolis Steve 6 3 0 0 9.72 1 12%
Heitzmann Eric L. 4 2 0 1 11.8 0 13%
Shirer Matt A. 4 2 0 0 10.8 2 21%
HOT JOCKEYS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
’16-‘ 17
Hernandez, Jr. Brian Joseph 14 4 3 1 12.61 2 15%
COLD TRAINERS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
’16-‘ 17
Foster Joseph M. 23 0 3 3 17.82 1 15%
Breaux Samuel 19 0 0 1 28.06 0 14%
Gelner Scott 15 0 1 2 16.77 0 11%
Alonzo Howard 14 0 2 2 17.22 0 11%
Daniels Connie L. 10 0 0 0 44.09 0 8%
COLD JOCKEYS Starts Wins Place Show Avg.
’16-‘ 17
Kay Winston R. 13 0 0 1 45.55 0 4%
Martin, Jr. Eddie 13 0 0 0 40.7 0 12%
Clark Kerwin D. 10 0 0 1 38.51 0 12%

Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Races at Fair Grounds Race Track

by Alastair Bull

If you’re at all interested in searching for Kentucky Derby horses, it’s vital to keep an eye on the prep races at Fair Grounds. The New Orleans track hosts three races in which points can be earned on the Road to the Kentucky Derby table: the LeComte Stakes (G3), the Risen Star Stakes (G2), and the Louisiana Derby (G2). Not only do horses win places in the Kentucky Derby in these races, they often go on to do well in the Derby and in subsequent races.

Take the last two Louisiana Derby winners, for example. The 2017 winner Girvin didn’t run to his best because of injury in the Kentucky Derby, but came out later to win the Haskell Invitational (G1). The previous year’s Louisiana Derby was won by Gun Runner, who subsequently ran third in the Kentucky Derby before a great 2017 that was capped off with the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 4.

The LeComte Stakes, run at 1 1/16 miles in January, often goes the way of the most seasoned 3-year-old, one that has
run at least a little way into winter. But it has produced some very good horses. Going back a way, the 1972 winner No Le Hace later finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, while 1982 winner Linkage finished second in the Preakness. The 2007 winner, Hard Spun, also finished second in the Derby, while 2013 winner Oxbow went on to win the Preakness.

Though the LeComte gets some very good horses, there’s almost always a stronger field for the Risen Star Stakes (G2), run at 1 1/8 miles in February. Formerly the Louisiana Derby Trial, it was renamed in 1989 after the Louisiana-owned colt that won the Derby Trial and the Louisiana Derby prior to winning the Preakness and the Belmont the year beforehand. New horses that didn’t run in the LeComte can often win, as Gun Runner and Girvin did.

The field gets stronger again in the 1 1/8-mile Louisiana Derby (G2) in March. Here, the Risen Star Stakes is definitely the key race to watch when looking for the winner. The last three winners of the Risen Star – Girvin, Gun Runner, and International Star – all went on to take the Louisiana Derby. Since 1973, 13 horses have completed the double, while another 10 Risen Star Stakes winners finished in the top three of the Louisiana Derby.

Only two Louisiana Derby winners – Black Gold in 1924 and Grindstone in 1996 – have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, though 2003 Louisiana Derby runner-up Funny Cide went on to win at Churchill Downs.

However, several horses have finished in the first three in both races – they include Gun Runner, Commanding Curve, Revolutionary, Mucho Macho Man, Peace Rules, and Risen Star.The record is good enough that smart Kentucky Derby punters will keep an eye on Fair Grounds. If the horses look good, they’ll have a chance at Churchill Downs.


TwinSpires offers a free betting guides library here, which holds a wealth of educational pieces to grow your betting insight.