Fair Grounds gets temporary restraining order against racing commission

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Fair Grounds

Fair Grounds received a temporary restraining order from Orleans Parish Civil District Court late Friday, less than 24 hours after the Louisiana State Racing Commission had ordered the track to house as many as 500 Thoroughbreds in the wake of Hurricane Laura.

Judge Sidney Cates IV issued the TRO at Fair Grounds’ request Friday afternoon and scheduled a hearing for an injunction for Sept. 11.

At the request of the Louisiana HBPA, the Commission voted 9-1 Thursday to mandate Fair Grounds take in Thoroughbreds from Evangeline Downs to make way for a Quarter Horse meet scheduled to begin on Sept. 17 – the first 10 days of which are dates assigned to Fair Grounds, but were moved to Evangeline earlier this summer because of the local impacts of COVID-19 and the risks associated with conducting a meet in the peak of hurricane season.

Normally, when Evangeline’s Thoroughbred meet concluded on Aug. 29, those horses would move to Delta Downs in Vinton, but Delta sustained major damage from Laura and the scheduled Oct. 6 start of its Thoroughbred meet will almost certainly be delayed.

The 57-page document filed by Fair Grounds attorneys to the court said the LSRC “does not have the legal authority to issue the mandatory injunction” and that “issuing such an order constitutes an unconstitutional taking and violate Fair Grounds’ constitutional rights to due process.”

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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