Racing has taken place in Louisiana since 1852 when racing took place at the Union Race Course and was to remain there for a further 5 years. It then was rehoused on a number of occasions but finally ended up at Fair Grounds. Whilst there are a number of race tracks throughout the USA called 'Fair Grounds', most appreciate that the most important is the New Orleans version opened in 1872 and operated by the Louisiana Jockey Club. It is housed on a 125 acre site and was the first to offer a heated grandstand to its patrons.

Very grateful to our American Racing Correspondent Richard Gauthier for the scans of the rare badges shown above.

Indeed, in 1918 the crowd was heated in a very different way when the old grandstand was burnt to the ground. The track was sold by auction in 1940, and there were fears that a housing development would replace the course, but a group was formed to rescue and manage the course, placing it on a more secure financial footing.


In 1993 the grandstand was, once again, destroyed by fire and a much needed rebuild project was actioned in 1994. The fruits of this were revealed for the first time in late 1997.



The course hosts a number of Group 2 events with the most famous being the Louisiana Derby. This 8 and a half furlong event for 3 year olds was first held in 1898 when the inaugural winner was Presbyterian. More recently it was won by the Shaun Bridgmohan ridden Pyro in 2008, and in 2012 Nates Mineshaft won in the hands of Jesse Campbell.

The track also hosts the New Orleans Handicap, a Grade 2 event which was first run in 1924. It is run over 9 furlongs and was won by Hero of Order in 2012 when ridden by Eddie Martin Junior.

If you have badges, racecards, pictures of the racecourse or further details about the course, including your memories, then email johnslusar@fsmail.net