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…