Our headline is not misleading—this post is fully loaded with Fair Grounds race track news, but first we must provide an update on the 2016 Sporting Art Auction that was held just before Thanksgiving at the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. More than 40 of the auction’s 175 lots of sporting art are still available for offers, including the 1869 portrait of a mare called Nina by Edward Troye (#19), the Times’ favorite!
Read more about this mysterious mare here in our previous post, for this likeness of “Nina” may instead be that of a horse named Kelpie. The Troye portrait will set you back $30,000–$40,000, however; reserve was not met during the auction and therefore this lovely is still available for a lucky collector. View Nina and others here on the auction’s web page.
On to the Fair Grounds! Local publishing house Pelican Publishing Company recently released in late October The Fair Grounds Through the Lens: Photographs and Memories of Horse Racing in New Orleans. This book was authored by Peggy Scott Laborde, who utilized interviews conducted for New Orleans Fair Grounds Memories, the WYES-TV public television documentary she produced on the subject.
The 223-page hardcover book features historical pictures and contemporary photography by Fair Grounds resident photographer, Louis Hodges, Jr., as well as memories of track life provided through oral histories. Included are stories shared by top trainer Tom Amoss, retired Times-Picayune Columnist Angus Lind, former track owner Bryan Krantz, owner Evelyn Benoit (owner of Star Guitar, the top-earning Louisiana-bred of all time, with $1.7 million in winnings), and Ronnie Lamarque, co-owner of Risen Star—the son of Secretariat who won the 1988 Louisiana Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Just in time for the holidays, this beautiful book makes a great gift for any racing fan—or a gift to yourself, dear reader! Be sure to click the link above to the Pelican Publishing order page, and the WYES-TV link to read more about the documentary or to order a DVD. Also try to grab a signed copy of the book; Laborde has been doing signings around town this month, with the next scheduled for December 17, 2016, at the Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC), 533 Royal Street. This presentation and book signing will last from 1–3 p.m. (click here for more information), and copies of the book will be available for purchase in the HNOC gift shop.
Benefit Fundraiser, 6:30 p.m. December 18, 2016, Fair Grounds Clubhouse: Also coming up this next weekend at the Fair Grounds is a fundraiser on Sunday, December 18th for local trainer Richard “Richie” Scherer. Proceeds of the event’s live and silent auctions and raffle will help to offset Richie’s medical expenses as he undergoes treatment for papillary kidney cancer, and more information about purchasing tickets and donating online is available here. The Times was pleased to read about Richie’s recent successes on the track during the current Fair Grounds meet, where he has won five of 13 starts to date—see the Fair Grounds Barn Notes, “Trainer Richie Scherer All the Rage” here.
NEW ANNOUNCEMENT—FAIR GROUNDS RACING CLUB: We could hardly contain our excitement here at the Times as we awaited the official announcement of the new Fair Grounds Racing Club! Limited to 200 members only (hurry up and get your membership, the Times has already joined!) this club is a low-cost, low-risk glimpse into the life of Thoroughbred ownership, with horses to be trained by Hall of Fame Trainer Al Stall, Jr. Read more details here on the club web page!
Madame Begue Set to Run at Delta Downs on December 17th: In other Louisiana track news, a two-year old filly named in honor of historic New Orleans restaurateur Madame Begue will make her sixth return to the track this year in an allowance race at Delta Downs on Saturday (Race 8, 8:52 p.m. Central). The filly broke her maiden on her second try back in July at Evangeline Downs and has also amassed two seconds in her five starts to date.
The original Madame Begue opened her restaurant Begue’s Exchange in New Orleans in 1863, where she served only a late breakfast—introducing the meal that has become known as brunch! One of the Times’ favorite restaurants, Tujague’s, relocated to the site of Madame Begue’s restaurant in 1914 and still operates there today, at the corner of Decatur and Madison Streets. See historic photos of Madame Begue here and read more about the birth of brunch and Tujague’s here.
As always, thanks for reading!
Antebellum Turf Times