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Boogie In The Bayou

Posted by on 11/17/2014 8:42:33 PM

In this age of competition for the dollar, the great state of Louisiana is trying to lure young bettors to the sport and it will all begin opening night on November 21 in the Bayou at Fair Grounds.

The historic track will launch its 143rd season and will run until March 29. Popular local band The Boogie Men will entertain on site along with action that includes drinks specials and go-go dancers.

Sure, it’s a tease, it’s about getting some publicity and introducing fans to the sport, but at least the powers that be are reaching out and that’s a good thing.

The track itself is steeped in tradition. The main track is a mile over and the turf course and an abbreviated 7 furlongs. The distance from the last turn to the finish line is long at 1,346 feet so it can play fairly if conditions are right.

Fair Grounds first opened in 1852, was once named Creole Race Course and racing was held there during the Civil War.

It is the third oldest race meet in the country behind Saratoga and Pimlico and the winner of the 1924 Kentucky Derby Black Gold is buried in the infield.

Traditionally, the track plays fair with a lean toward speed. If the track comes up sloppy those runners that have positional speed have a decided edge.

Before this year is out Fair Grounds will card its Louisiana Champion Day races with several $100,000 events for state-breds with 11 stakes worth $1.1 millioin.

As the meet expands, the quality of the stakes will improve.

The road to the Kentucky Derby will start to be paved at Fair Grounds on January 17 with 5 stakes worth over $500,000 highlighted by the Lecomte and Colonel E. R. Bradley, both Grade 3 events.

On February 21 the heat is turned up as the Risen Star, Rachel Alexandra, Mineshaft and Fair Grounds Handicap will grace the card.

The curtain will come down on the stakes action with the Fair Grounds Oaks and the Louisiana Derby, which has played a pivotal part in the Triple Crown picture for decades.

As far as the human element goes, with Rosie Napravnik now retired it will open things up in the riding colony. James Graham was 2nd to her last season just 5 away from tying her for the title.

Shaun Bridgmohan cut his teeth riding in New York but has many good stables behind him and he should win races in bunches. Richard Eramia and Robby Albarado should also get their share of happy endings.

Kerwin Clark also has to be given a look on longshots as he rides solidly wherever he shows up.

As far as the conditioners are concerned, there is no lack of quality horsemen in ‘Orleans. Last year Steve Asmussen and Tom Amoss were one/two respectively in the standings.

Mike Maker won with 13 of his 46 starters, Todd Pletcher only send out 6 starters but 2 won and 2 ran second.

So, get out the crawfish, rustle up the gumbo, find the red beans and rice, boot up the computer and make some money.

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