Fair Grounds Race Course Profile

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D.S. Williamson

February 11th, 2017

Founded in 1852, the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans is as historical as it gets. The Fair Grounds has survived the Civil War, a devastating fire in New Orleans, and Hurricane Katrina. Some locals (and many non-locals including me!) believe that the Fair Grounds is haunted. Why not? When a racetrack is located in one of the oldest and most haunted cities in North America, it's bound to have some ghosts walking its grounds, right?

Check some of the greatest races, and horses, to ever run at the Fair Grounds.

Risen Star

Risen Star was Louisiana through and through. Although bred in Kentucky, Louis Roussel owned and trained the horse. The great Louisiana rider Eddie Delhoussaye rode the horse. Risen Star won both the Louisiana Derby Trial Stakes as well as the Louisiana Derby, then a Grade 3, in 1988. He won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in 1988 before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby.

He'd go on to win both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Risen Star holds the record for the second fastest Belmont Stakes ever run. The only horse to run it faster than Risen Star is his sire, Secretariat.

Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, Grindstone, 1996

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Grindstone, a son of Unbridled, parlayed a first place finish in the Louisiana Derby and a second place finish in the Arakansas Derby into a Kentucky Derby win in 1996. The great Jerry Bailey rode Grindstone in both the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby wins. Unfortunately, they discovered bone chips in Grindstone's knees only 5 days after his Derby win. Grindstone retired before the 1996 Preakness Stakes.

Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap, Palace Malice, 2014

The 2013 Belmont Stakes winner came back as one of the best thoroughbreds in the nation in 2014. He easily took home the New Orleans Handicap as a 6/5 shot in 2014. Palace Malice also won the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in 2014 as well as winning the Grade 3 Westchester and the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap before winning the New Orleans. Trainer Todd Pletcher had Palace Malice on his toes for most of 2014. He was unbeatable until his inexplicable sixth place finish in the Whitney that August.

Grade 2 Fairgrounds Oaks, Rachel Alexandra, 2009

Although Rachel Alexandra went off at 30 cents on the dollar to win the Grade 2 Fairground Oaks in 2009, The FG Oaks was only her second race after upsetting Dream Empress and Sara Louise in the Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. Th Golden Rod started Rachel on a 9 race win streak that ended with a win over the boys in the 2009 Woodward Stakes. In 2009, Rachel also won the Preakness Stakes over the boys, and beat her female peers in the Kentucky Oaks. She became the Eclipse Award Winner for Horse of the Year in 2009.