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Thanksgiving Day is ‘Classic’ Fair Grounds

Risen Star Stakes 2024, Fair Grounds, New Orleans Photo: thefreepps.com

Fair Grounds will open it’s 150th season of racing at the Gentilly oval on Thanksgiving Day. Post time for the first of nine races carded for opening day is 12:00 CST.

The feature race of the day will be the the 97th running of the $150,000 Thanksgiving Classic, to be run at 6 furlongs. Post time for the Classic is 3:12 CST and will go as race 7.

The field for the feature will be led by Greeley and Ben. A winner of nine in a row for trainer Karl Broberg who has conditioned the 7 year-old son of Greeley’s Conquest to this level off a stakes winning performance last time out in the $150,000 DM Vance at Remington. He’ll be making his first start off a long layoff and gets an unfamiliar rider over an unfamiliar surface.

The field from the rail out includes Necker Island (3-1), Pyron (6-1), Went West (8-1), Greeley and Ben (7-2), Emerald Forest (8-1), Strike Power (4-1), Just Might (7-2).

Thanksgiving Classic Picks

#1 Necker Island – Cut back to today’s distance to win the $300K Bet On Sunshine at Churchill last time out. Show horse from that one came back to win. Was 0 for 8 in his 3YO season that culminated with a 9th place finish behind Authentic in the Derby. Looks primed to make it 3 in a row.

#7 Just Might – Speedy, two-time winner at Fair Grounds, he beat one horse home in the G2 Phoenix LTO. Expect he’ll set the pace but there are several who will be on his tail. He’s a ‘horse-for-the-course’ and should be around in the end.

#6 Strike Power – One of several with speed, he exits the G1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga for top trainer and gets in 6 lbs. lighter than the favorite.

#4 Greeley and Ben – Winner of $266K from 11 trips to the winner’s circle in 2021. What he lacks in class competition, his grit can’t be denied. Nor can his conditioner’s ability to spot him right. But this will be his toughest test to date.