by Ian McNulty
Often called the “sport of kings,” horse racing has a rich history, and the New Orleans chapter isn’t too shabby itself, with the local track now known as the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots among the nation’s oldest. But that doesn’t mean the track can’t take on new traditions and popular trends, including exotic animal racing and food trucks and street food vendors.
On Jan. 12, in addition to its normal program of thoroughbred horse racing, the Fair Grounds will host zebra and ostrich races while at a tented outdoor area called the Miller Time Beer Garden local food purveyors including Woody’s Fish Tacos, BBQ and Some, La Cocinita and Fry Bar NOLA will be cooking and serving while bars pour drinks and DJs spin tunes. A race of mascots from local sports teams is also on the bill for the night.
The Fair Grounds first tested the idea of exotic animal races last summer at an event that drew the largest crowd the track has seen since Hurricane Katrina. Food trucks and the like have also been an increasingly common amenity at special events here.
For the Jan. 12 event, racing begins at 2 p.m., with the exotic animal races beginning at 6 p.m. General admission is $10 (free for children 12 and under) and beer garden admission is an additional $15. Details are here.
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
1751 Gentilly Blvd., 504-944-5515; www.fairgroundsracecourse.com