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Fair Grounds Stakes Purses Climb for 2023-24 Season

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 73 stakes worth a combined $9.7 million will be offered during the 76-day 2023-24 Thoroughbred meet. Up $1.2 million from last season, the increase includes the $1 million in base purses to be offered Dec. 2 as Fair Grounds hosts the 25th annual Claiming Crown. 

“In our 152nd year, Fair Grounds will set another record for the richest stakes schedule in Louisiana history,” said Doug Shipley, president and general manager of Fair Grounds.

Eight existing stakes receive a $25,000 boost, including two perennially star-studded turf events, the $175,000 Fair Grounds Stakes (G3) and the $125,000 Tom Benson Memorial. The 78th running of the Louisiana Stakes (G3) is on the list and will be run for $175,000, as well as the 99th running of The Thanksgiving Classic, which will now offer a $200,000 purse. 

Highlights of the meet include a series of stakes on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Louisiana Derby Day is scheduled for Saturday, March 23, and it will card eight stakes worth a total of $2,625,000, topped by the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) and $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).

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Written at 1 3/16 miles now for the fifth year, the Louisiana Derby is worth 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualify points to the top-five finishers. Last year, Two Phil’s  , Angel of Empire  and Disarm  came out of New Orleans to contend in the Triple Crown series.

Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Fair Grounds Oaks awards similar qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Last year’s Fair Grounds Oaks second-place finisher Pretty Mischievous  rebounded from that defeat with a victory in Kentucky Oaks.

“The strong infusion of our sport’s top 3-year-olds training and racing at Fair Grounds has been very apparent these past few seasons,” Fair Grounds racing secretary Scott Jones said. 

Four Louisiana-bred stakes receive a $25,000 purse boost in 2023-2024, including the Gary P. Palmisano Memorial Stakes and Bob F. Wright Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares. Both six-furlong dirt sprints for 4-year-olds and up are now worth $100,000. Together with the $100,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial Stakes, a turf sprint for older females, these three stakes will be run on Jan. 6.

The 76-day, 2023-2024 Fair Grounds racing season runs from Nov. 17-March 24. The track’s full stakes schedule is online, as is its first condition book of the season.

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.

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