Name: Churchill Downs
Louisiana Horseracing Company, LLC
1751 Gentilly Boulevard,
New Orleans, Louisiana 70119 (click for map)
Telephone: (504) 944-5515
Fax: Executive Office: (504) 944-2511;
Racing Office: (504) 949-4778
Fair Grounds was acquired in October 2004, by Churchill Downs Incorporated,
adding a first-quarter product to the CDI portfolio of racetracks. In
conjunction with the purchase of Fair Grounds, CDI also acquired Video
Services, Inc. and Fair Grounds’ off-track betting (OTB) parlors in
In November 2008, Fair Grounds opened a permanent slot-machine gaming
facility with more than 600 of the newest reel and video games, providing a
new dimension of excitement for America's third-oldest racetrack.
The track’s OTB network includes 11 locations: Boutte-Luling, Chalmette,
Covington, Elmwood (Harahan), Gretna, Houma, Kenner, LaPlace, Metairie,
Thibodaux, and Westwego, La., which opened in January, 2013. All OTB
locations except Covington offer video poker as well as simulcast wagering.
Tim Bryant is in his sixth Thoroughbred season as Fair Grounds’ president.
A particular source of pride for Fair Grounds is the quality of horses that
come to compete at the winter meet. Fair Grounds’ racing surfaces, both turf
and dirt, are nationally renowned for being forgiving and kind to
conditioning equine limbs. Horses wintering here are known to go on to
successful careers in other parts of the country.
Recent success stories include 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Breeders' Cup Distaff
winner Untapable, 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, 2011 Horse of
the Year Havre de Grace, 2010 Champion Older Horse Blame, 2009 Horse of the
Year Rachel Alexandra, 2008 Champion 3-year-old Filly Proud Spell, 2007
Grade I winner Hard Spun, 2005 Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly, 2004 Champion
3-year-old Filly Ashado and 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft.
Also in recent history, Grindstone won the Louisiana Derby in 1996 before
taking the Kentucky Derby later that spring. The 2002 and 2003 Kentucky
Derby winners, War Emblem and Funny Cide, each started at Fair Grounds in
prep races. Blushing K.D. scored victories in the Davona Dale Stakes and the
Fair Grounds Oaks before taking home the lilies in the Kentucky Oaks. In
1999, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet made his 4-year-old
debut in the Grade III New Orleans Handicap, and both 2-year-old Eclipse
Award winners of 1998 – Silverbulletday and Answer Lively – began their
3-year-old seasons at Fair Grounds.
The Louisiana Derby, recently awarded a $1 million purse, has always been an
important Kentucky Derby prep race and became even more significant in 2010
when it was moved to the final Saturday in March where it now serves as a
final prep for the Triple Crown. The Louisiana Derby produced the runner-up
in both the 2013 and 2014 Kentucky Derby.
The Grade II race is the track’s flagship event and serves as the headliner
of the track's closing weekend, which includes three other Grade II races:
the Fair Grounds Oaks, the New Orleans Handicap and the Mervin H. Muniz Jr.
Fair Grounds’ season traditionally runs from late November through the last
weekend in March.
Officers: Robert L. Evans, Chairman; Bill Mudd, President and
Chief Operating Officer; Tim Bryant, President; William Carstanjen, Chief
Executive Officer; Marcia Dall, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial
Senior Director of Operations: Bradley Bryant
Racing Secretary: Jason Boulet
Sr. Director of Food/Beverage: Craig Dennison
Sr. Director of OTB Operations/Video Poker: Leslie Hepting
Director of Human Resources: Johnette Staes
Sr. Director of Marketing: Mark A. Conner
Manager of Communications/Racing Analyst: Brian W. Spencer
Horsemen's Relations: Paige Albarado
Track Photographer: Louis Hodges Jr.
Track Data: 1-mile oval, sandy loam; 7-furlong turf course; length of
stretch: 1,346 feet (longest in North America); width of home stretch: 75
feet; width of backstretch: 70 feet; stable accommodations: 1,950; total
Location: New Orleans Mid-City District, approximately 10 minutes
from Central Business District and French Quarter; approximately 20 minutes
from New Orleans International Airport
Interstate Accessibility: Five minutes from I-610 which connects with
I-10 East and West
Admission prices: Clubhouse, $10; grandstand, free (most days)
Children: Must be accompanied by an adult; ages 12 and under admitted
free (most days)
Telephone for clubhouse reservations: (504) 943-2200
Simulcast Information: Year round at Fair Grounds and 11 affiliated
off-track betting locations; daily via TwinSpires.com; full cards in/out,
import races and export races