Updated on 08/30/2012 4:03PM

Fair Grounds sustains minor damage from Hurricane Isaac


Fair Grounds in New Orleans, which evacuated its backstretch Sunday and canceled this week’s racing because of Hurricane Isaac, sustained minimal damage in the storm, officials said Thursday. But the track was still determining whether or not the logistics will work to make up the four lost dates for Quarter Horses.

Fair Grounds spokesman Jim Mulvihill said Thursday that a few of the barns lost parts of their roofs in the storm, while the main racing surface was washed away. Mulvihill said the track’s maintenance staff is already working on reclaiming surface material that drained toward the inside rail due to heavy rains. Isaac made landfall in the Gulf Coast region Tuesday night.

“There was minor damage at the track,” Mulvihill said. “A few barns lost parts of their roofs. Aside from that, it was mostly minor stuff, gutters that were blown off, debris spread around. But a few of the barns will need pretty significant repairs.

“For us the biggest issue in terms of racing right now is trying to figure out how many races we can fill.”

Mulvihill said Fair Grounds tentatively plans to take entries Saturday. But in addition to the number of entries the track may or may not draw, there are other obstacles the storm has created that may impact the racing schedule. Mulvihill said as far as simulcasting and slots operations at the track, both were scheduled to have resumed at noon Friday.

Fair Grounds was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when its meet had to be run at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La. During that massive storm, Fair Grounds lost a large portion of the roof of its grandstand. Katrina was a Category 5 storm, and Isaac, a Category 1.

Fair Grounds was to have closed out its Quarter Horse meet Saturday, Sept. 1.