NEW ORLEANS (Tuesday, December 8, 2009) – A $200,000 stakes race for fillies and mares at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on March 13 has been named the New Orleans Ladies, the track announced today. The 1 1/16-mile contest is one of many options for the connections of super-filly and Horse of the Year candidate Rachel Alexandra to consider as they plot her first race of 2010. Last season Rachel Alexandra was an easy winner of Fair Grounds’ richest race for fillies, the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, which was run at 1 /16 miles on the main track.

“We’re delighted to have perhaps the greatest racehorse in the world training over our surface again this winter,” said Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager Eric Halstrom. “Our hope is that once Rachel Alexandra is ready for a race she won’t have to travel any farther than the 100 yards from her stall door to our track. We’ll be cheering for her wherever she goes, but we would love to see her run here in New Orleans.”

Rachel Alexandra has been exercising over the Fair Grounds track on a daily basis since shortly after her arrival from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 27. Trainer Steve Asmussen has said a specific race for Rachel Alexandra’s comeback won’t be discussed until she is closer to being ready, which he estimated as “no sooner than March.” Majority owner Jess Jackson is similarly not getting ahead of himself but did say in a recent Daily Racing Form article that Fair Grounds was a possibility.

“If the timing is right for Rachel, we will do everything in our power to make the race attractive to her connections,” Halstrom said. “We’re ready to roll out the red carpet.”

The New Orleans Ladies is the richest race of the season for fillies and mares and serves as a counterpart to the Grade II New Orleans Handicap for older horses.

“With a $200,000 purse we expect the New Orleans Ladies to become a regular fixture on the stakes schedule that will attract top females from throughout the region and perhaps beyond,” Halstrom said.

About “New Orleans Ladies”

The inspiration for the race name New Orleans Ladies comes from the 1978 song of the same title. Written by Hoyt Garrick & Leon Medica and originally recorded by Louisiana’s LeRoux, the South Louisiana rock band that still tours the country, “New Orleans Ladies” was a smash hit regionally.

Louisiana’s LeRoux was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in October. “New Orleans Ladies” was named “New Orleans Song of the Century” in a 1999 Gambit Weekly readers’ poll, beating out more widely known hits, including “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”