Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Formally established in 1872, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots is the third-oldest racetrack in North America and joined the Churchill Downs Incorporated ("CDI") stable in October 2004. The venue's slot-machine gaming facility, with a capacity for more than 700 games, opened in November 2008.
Live racing at the historic New Orleans venue was conducted as early as 1852 when pre-Civil War Louisiana was considered the Southern center of competitive Thoroughbred racing. Located only minutes from the famed French Quarter, Fair Grounds is situated on 145 acres and features a one-mile dirt course and seven-furlong turf course. Fair Grounds annually offers a series of exciting Kentucky Derby prep races for 3-year-olds, which culminate in the Grade II Louisiana Derby. Fair Grounds conducts a Fall-Winter Meet that traditionally runs from Thanksgiving Day in November through late March.
Like its sister track, Arlington Park in Chicago, Fair Grounds was also destroyed by a devastating fire. The blaze on Dec. 17, 1993, leveled the old grandstand. Over a four-year period, the track’s management rebuilt the facility while conducting live race meets from tents, and on Nov. 22, 1997, reopened with a new 217,000-square foot grandstand/clubhouse facility and adjacent simulcast-wagering facility. In August 2005, Fair Grounds and its affiliated off-track betting and video poker facilities were temporarily closed by Hurricane Katrina and the storm’s aftermath. Fair Grounds reopened for live racing in November 2006, following months of repairs and in the fall of 2007 opened a temporary slot machine gaming facility adjacent to the track grandstand.
CDI acquired Finish Line Off-Track Betting (OTB) locations as part of its October 2004 purchase of Fair Grounds and related assets. Fair Grounds OTB & Casino now operates the Finish Line OTB network, which is located throughout the Greater New Orleans area in the Boutte-Luling, Chalmette, Covington, Elmwood, Gretna, Houma, Kenner, LaPlace, Metairie and Thibodaux communities. Simulcast wagering is offered at all locations; video poker is offered at all locations except Covington.