10/12/2005 11:00PM

No derby at storm-affected meet


The abbreviated 2005-06 Fair Grounds season, just more than five weeks away, comprises just 37 racing days, but the meet will be packed with 34 stakes worth $3.5 million.

Fair Grounds released the stakes schedule Thursday for its upcoming meet, which will be staged at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City because of the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. While three of Fair Grounds's most important stakes, the Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds Oaks, and Mervin Muniz Handicap, were dropped from the schedule, horsemen and fans should find plenty of other opportunities.

The meet begins Nov. 19, and the fare is light for the first three weekends, but Dec. 10 brings about Louisiana Champions Day, which features 10 stakes restricted to Louisiana-breds. The graded stakes schedule - there are four in all this year - does not get under way until 2006, with the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap scheduled for Jan. 7.

Jan. 14, dubbed Road to the Derby Kickoff Day, will be the highlight of the racing season, with four stakes on the menu, three of them graded. The day includes a pair of races for 3-year-olds, the Risen Star for colts and the Silverbulletday for fillies, as well as the Grade 3 Bayou Breeders' Cup for fillies and mares on grass and the $200,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes for dirt sprinters. But that is it for 3-year-old racing, typically a major part of the Fair Grounds season, as the action moves on to nearby Oaklawn Park later in January.

The final major stakes of the meet is the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap on the second-to-last day of the meet, Jan. 21. The race normally is a prep for the late-meet Muniz Handicap - but there will be nothing normal about this Fair Grounds racing season.

2005-06 stakes schedule

Sat.,Nov. 19Gentilly2YO*1 mile (T)$50,000
Sun.,Nov. 20Sarah Lane's Oates2YO F*1 mile (T)50,000
Thur.,Nov. 24Thanksgiving B.C. Handicap3YO & Up6 furlongs75,000
Sat.,Nov. 26Pago Hop3YO F1 1/16 miles (T)75,000
Sun.,Nov. 27Woodchopper3YO1 1/16 miles (T)75,000
Sat.,Dec. 3Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial B.C.F&M, 3YO & Up7 furlongs75,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Quarter Horse JuvenileQH, 2YO*350 yards100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Quarter Horse DerbyQH, 3YO*400 yards100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Juvenile2YO C&G*6 furlongs00,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Starter Handicap3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles50,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Lassie2YO F*6 furlongs100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Sprint3YO & Up*6 furlongs100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Turf3YO & Up*1 1/16 miles (T)100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10LadiesF&M, 3YO & Up* 1 1/16 miles100,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Classic3YO & Up*1 1/8 miles150,000
Sat.,Dec. 10Quarter Horse ClassicQH, 4YO & Up*440 yards100,000
Sat.,Dec. 17Furl Sail HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up1 mile (T)75,000
Sun.,Dec. 18Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap3YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)75,000
Sat.,Dec. 24Truly Bound B.C. HandicapF&M, 3YO & Up1 1/16 miles75,000
Sat.,Dec. 31Louisiana Futurity2YO C&G*6 furlongs40,000
Sat.,Dec. 31Louisiana Futurity2YO F*6 furlongs40,000
Sun.,Jan. 1Sugar Bowl3YO6 furlongs75,000
Sat.,Jan. 7New Orleans Handicap (G2)4YO & Up1 1/8 miles400,000
Sat.,Jan. 7Red CameliaF&M, 4YO & Up* 1 mile (T)50,000
Sun.,Jan. 8Dixie Poker Ace4YO & Up*1 mile (T)50,000
Sat.,Jan. 14Risen Star (G3)3YO1 1/16 miles200,000
Sat.,Jan. 14Silverbulletday (G3)3YO F1 1/16 miles200,000
Sat.,Jan. 14Bayou B.C. Handicap (G3)F&M, 4YO & Up 1 1/16 miles (T)200,000
Sat.,Jan. 14Duncan F. Kenner B.C.4YO & Up6 furlongs200,000
Sun.,Jan. 15Bedanken3YO F1 mile (T)75,000
Sat.,Jan. 21Fair Grounds B.C. Handicap4YO & Up1 1/16 miles (T)200,000
Sat.,Jan. 21Crescent City Derby3YO*1 1/16 miles75,000
Sat.,Jan. 22Black Gold3YO1 mile (T)75,000
Sun.,Jan. 22Battler Star3YO F*6 furlongs50,000