A Brief History of Horse Racing at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds

Racing at Fair GroundsThe Fair Grounds, which considers April 13, 1872, its first day in operation, is one of the oldest race tracks in the United States. Only a handful are older, including the well-known Saratoga Race Course in New York (1863) and Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course (1870).

Horse racing was actually staged on the 145-acre piece of land in Gentilly as far back as 1852. At the time, the race track was known as the Union Race Course and later the Creole Race Course, according to Bob Roesler’s book “The Fair Grounds: Big Shots and Long Shots.”

The Fair Grounds name can be traced to the Mechanics and Agricultural Fair, which was held on the site for several years beginning in 1859. It featured displays of horses and livestock, as well as machinery and agricultural products. After the annual event, the public began referring to the area as the Fair Grounds and the name stuck…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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