This is a follow up to Hurricane Laura displaced hundreds of racehorses. New Orleans’ track doesn’t want them.
NOLA.COM | By JOHN SIMERMAN
As many as 500 racehorses left scattered across the state after Hurricane Laura tore up the stall area at Delta Downs racetrack in Calcasieu Parish will be relocated with their caretakers to live and train at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, under a judge’s order.
The move has been delayed, however, until after Hurricane Sally runs its course, said Charles Gardiner III, executive director of the Louisiana Racing Commission.
The company had balked at a request from officials at Delta Downs, owned by Nevada-based Boyd Gaming, to put up the horses and their caretakers at the Fair Grounds after Laura struck. The Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association asked the racing commission, which regulates racing at Louisiana’s four tracks, to step in with an emergency order. The commission voted 9-1 to grant it.
But Churchill Downs Inc. (the owner of Fair Grounds Race Course) filed for a temporary restraining order to halt the enforcement. The company cited the dangers of COVID-19 in New Orleans, and the risk of housing horses in the city during the height of hurricane season.
Cates dissolved the restraining order on Friday, agreeing that the commission could force Churchill Downs Inc. to take in the horses.
Gardiner said on Monday that the parties are negotiating payment to Churchill Downs Inc. for expenses that include preparing the barns and the racetrack in the offseason. Gardiner said relocating the horses would not wait on a deal, however.
“Things should start to move pretty quickly, at least to get the horses in” after Hurricane Sally passes, Gardiner said. “As long as (the racehorses) can get the shelter, they can work out the details.”
Featured Image: In the gate at The Fairgrounds. Getty Images.