With a history dating back to 1872, the Fair Grounds Race Course is the third oldest continuously operating thoroughbred racetrack in the United States. And one of the most famous.
The Fair Grounds has seen more than its share of horse racing history made along its mile-long oval. The names of the jockeys who have ridden to victory there – Arcaro, Longden, Shoemaker, Mooney, Delahoussaye, Pat Day and many more – are as legendary as the horses themselves, among whom Black Gold, Pan Zareta, Whirlaway and Risen Star (literally) lead the pack.
Racing season at the Fair Grounds runs from Thanksgiving weekend through the end of March the following year. Many featured races and “handicaps” are held throughout the season, including the prestigious Louisiana Derby just before the end of each season.
The track offers a wide selection of seating options, ranging from ultra-modern dining facilities in a glass-enclosed clubhouse -- complete with video monitors at each table -- to no-frills grandstand seating outdoors. “Rail birds” can belly up to the fence at the finish line, cheering on their favorites as they round the final turn in a hoof-thundering finale. A wide range of betting options are available at dozens of pari-mutuel counters and the odds can change for better or worse up to one minute before post time.
The Fair Grounds also hosts the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in late spring, a month after the racing season ends.
Reservations and appropriate attire are required for clubhouse seating.