08/14/2013 4:13PM

Fair Grounds: Futurity trials launch 14-day Quarter Horse meet

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Fair Grounds in New Orleans opens for its sixth season of Quarter Horse racing on Friday with a full slate of trials. The nine races are qualifiers for the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association Sale Futurity, which will be run on the meet’s closing day, Sept. 7.

Fair Grounds will race 14 days in all this season, an expansion from last year’s 12-date meet that ended up being cut short because of Hurricane Isaac. The storm forced the LQHBA Sale Futurity, which last year was worth $264,480, to be run at Evangeline Downs. The trials Friday run from the second through 10th races on an opening-day card that starts at 1 p.m. Central.

The LQHBA Sale Futurity is the richest race on a calendar of eight stakes worth more than $565,000. Purses at the meet are projected to average $160,000 a program. Highlights of the season include a five-stakes card on Aug. 24. The races that day, making up the “Battle in the Big Easy” program, will be worth a cumulative $290,000. On the same day, there will be exhibition ostrich and zebra races. Fair Grounds also plans exhibition ostrich races Aug. 17.

Fair Grounds will race on a Wednesday-through-Saturday basis, with a 1 p.m. post daily except Saturdays when first post is 4 p.m.