NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, December 1, 2009) – Twenty-two stakes races, an average of more than one per live racing day, will make December one of the busiest months of the 2009-2010 Thoroughbred Racing Season Presented by Miller Lite at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. As racing expands to five days per week for the remainder of the calendar year, upcoming highlights include the return of 2009 Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire on Thursday, the annual Louisiana Champions Day card with 11 stakes on Dec. 12 and Santa Super Saturday with five stakes (and a special appearance by author and handicapper Steve Davidowitz) on Dec. 19.

December 2009 Highlights

Thursday, Dec. 3—Friesan Fire, hero of the Grade II Louisiana Derby last March and post time favorite for last spring’s Kentucky Derby, returns to the scene of his greatest triumph Thursday when he heads a field of six older horses in the $50,000 feature. The son of A. P. Indy, only the third horse in history to sweep all three of Fair Grounds biggest 3-year-old stakes, has been away from competition since last spring’s Preakness Stakes. First post is 1 p.m. CST with the featured eighth race set for 4:25 p.m. CST.

Saturday, Dec. 12—Louisiana Champions Day brings together the top Louisiana-breds in training to determine year-end championship honors. Eleven stakes races worth $1 million, highlighted by the $150,000 Classic, make up a day known for both exceptional performances and bountiful betting opportunities.

Saturday, Dec. 19—Santa Super Saturday is a super stakes smorgasbord with five big races, highlighted by the inaugural running of the $100,000 Daily Racing Form Distaff for older fillies and mares. The program also includes the meet’s next pair of competitive 2-year-old stakes, each restricted by gender, as well as the last 3-year-olds stakes races of the calendar year. An all-stakes Pick Four will end with the featured DRF Distaff.

Saturday, Dec. 19—Steve Davidowitz, author of the seminal handicapping guide Betting Thoroughbreds, will be here on Dec. 19 for a special handicapping seminar before the races and a book signing to promote his newest title, Betting Thoroughbreds for the 21st Century: A Professional’s Guide for the Horseplayer, in the afternoon. The on-track seminar, open to the public, is set for 11:30 a.m. at a location to be announced. The book signing will take place that afternoon from 1-3 p.m. outside the Paddock Gift Shop.

Saturday, Dec. 19—A free Horse Ownership Seminar at 9:30 a.m. along the rail across from the Derby Building will feature speakers including owner Angus Lind, the former Times-Picayune columnist, and top local trainers. Racing officials will be on hand to answer questions about becoming an owner.

Additional December news: The Super Hi-5, a new $1-minimum wager requiring bettors to select the first five finishers in order, will be offered on the final race each day beginning Dec. 20…There will be no live racing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day…There will be live racing on New Year’s Eve, with a nine-race card beginning at 1 p.m.