Fairgrounds evacuates barn as tropics brew

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Associated Press

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 8:06 PM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Fair Grounds Race Course has declared a mandatory evacuation of its barn area because of tropical weather that might affect the New Orleans area by the weekend.

The evacuation applies to about 1,000 horses currently stabled at the Fair Grounds for its Summer Quarter Horse meet. The meet's opening day was set for Friday, but has been postponed until Aug. 21. Its Exotic Ostrich racing event, previously set for Saturday, will be rescheduled.

Two days of live racing scheduled for this week also have been canceled.

The National Weather Service projects a storm path that could head toward the central Gulf Coast.

Eric Halstrom, Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager for Racing, said Wednesday's order was issued because of the time and effort required to transport the horses.

"By cancelling racing now, everyone will have time to depart in an orderly and safe manner, as well as to return before we resume racing next week weather-permitting," Halstrom said. "Logistically it would be difficult to run this weekend, even if the track did not receive the brunt of the forecasted weather, due to the high levels of anticipated rainfall."

The Evangeline Training Center in Carencro has several hundred open stalls, the Fair Grounds said. Horsemen in need of a place to stable can inquire about availability by calling 337-896-7223.

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