Things just keep getting wilder at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where live zebras will compete in an exhibition race on Jan. 12. The first zebra race ever in the South will be paired with the return of ostrich and mascot racing, which helped to pack the Grandstand with its largest post-Katrina crowd the first time exotic animal racing was presented at Fair Grounds in August. First post (the first race) for the twilight Thoroughbred program will be 2 p.m., with mascots, ostriches and zebras scheduled to race under the lights in the evening hours, after 6 p.m.
General Admission will be $10 at the door. Clubhouse and Miller Time Beer Garden admission will be $15. Children 12 and under will be admitted free. For dining and box seat reservations, call (504) 943-2200. To book a party for groups of 25 or more, contact the Group Sales department at (504) 948-1285.
The Miller Time Beer Garden will serve as a premium viewing area with a stellar vantage point near the start of the exotic animal races, plus DJ Rob Nice and access to some of the area’s best food trucks and pop-up food vendors – BBQ and Some, Fry Bar NOLA, La Cocinita and Woody’s Fish Tacos.
A mascot race featuring favorite fuzzy friends from the sports world will pit Fair Grounds mascot Gentilly Billy and sister racetrack Churchill Downs mascot Churchill Charlie against the likes of Bones (New Orleans Voodoo), Havoc (Loyola University), Mojo (Voodoo) and Riptide (Tulane University). At the first-ever Fair Grounds mascot race in August, favored Gentilly Billy skipped to an easy victory around the wet paddock walking ring.
The exotic animal races and the mascot race will all be conducted at 140 yards on the main track. A 13-race Thoroughbred program, highlighted by the $75,000 Pan Zareta Stakes for turf-sprinting females, will run from 2 p.m. until about 9 p.m.
Fans are invited to suggest names for the four racing zebras on the Fair Grounds Facebook page at facebook.com/FairGroundsRaceCourseandSlots. Those suggesting the winning names will receive free admission and recognition in that night’s track program.