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2022 Happy Ticket Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Ova Charged Headlines Fair Grounds Opening Day Feature
Ova Charged (Hodges Photography)

2022 Happy Ticket Stakes Preview & FREE Picks | Ova Charged Headlines Fair Grounds Opening Day Feature

Magic previews the 2022 Happy Ticket Stakes from Fair Grounds, then gives his top picks & long shots. Heavy favorite Ova Charged looks like a lock to win, so who does Magic like underneath in a stone cold exacta? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots has announced that 65 stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season, will be offered during the 80-day, 2022-23 Thoroughbred meet. In each of the 13 unrestricted, non-graded stakes, purses have been increased by $25,000. In addition, twelve new Louisiana-bred stakes have been added to the schedule, including six over the first two days of the meet.

“We worked with the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association and Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association to come up with these new stakes,” said Fair Grounds’ racing secretary Scott Jones. “We’re proud to have worked together for the betterment of our sport to create not only the best stakes schedule, but also the richest program we’ve ever offered in the state.”

The traditional Thanksgiving opening will give way to an earlier start to the meet, with opening day slated for Friday, November 18. Six inaugural $75,000 Louisiana-bred stakes will be run over the dirt course on the season’s first two days. Fillies and mares take center stage on Friday in the Happy Ticket Stakes (6 furlongs) and the Big World Stakes (1 mile & 70 yards), both for 3-year-olds and up. The Donovan L. Ferguson Memorial Stakes, a 5 1/2 furlong event for 2-year-olds, will also be carded on opening day. Saturday’s trio of stakes are a mirror-image in terms of age, distance and surface, but these open Louisiana-bred events are highlighted by a 6-furlong dirt sprint named in honor of Ivery Sisters Racing’s multiple stakes winning, fan favorite Monte Man, who retired from racing last year at age nine.

Fair Grounds Lowers Pick 5 Takeout and Introduces New Pick 6

With the approval of the Louisiana State Racing Commission handed down Wednesday afternoon, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots announces two horseplayer-friendly adjustments to the 2022-23 wagering menu. Takeout will be reduced on the Pick 5 from 25% to 15%. Also, a new Pick 6 at the same 15% rate will be added.

Takeout is the percentage of every wagering dollar removed before payoffs are calculated.

Racing officials at Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) and Fair Grounds have been studying successes at other tracks and working to make this change at Fair Grounds.

“We are very excited about both of these new wagering opportunities for horseplayers,” said Gary Palmisano Jr., the newly appointed Executive Director of Racing for CDI. “Fair Grounds has not had a Pick 6 in many years. After monitoring the success of this same wager at the New York Racing Association, we feel this is an interesting variation of the pool to implement and worth exploring.”

Fair Grounds offers a traditional Pick 5 where the entire pool, after the 15% takeout, is paid out to winning bettors. If there are no perfect Pick Five tickets, the entire pool will carry over to the the next racing day. On most racing days there will be two Pick Five opportunities for horseplayers – an early and a late – and on cards of 11 races or more, a third may be added.

The new Pick 6 wager will have a $1 minimum wager. It will be “non-jackpot” and 75% of the after-takeout pool will be paid to all tickets with 6 winners. The other 25% will be paid to all those with 5 of 6 winners as a consolation. If no one has 6 winners, then 75% goes to the next day as a carryover and 25% is paid to all the consolation tickets.

“The obvious goal is that this wager will create numerous carryover opportunities and draw attention to racing in New Orleans,” Palmisano Jr. added.

The 80-day, 2022-2023 Fair Grounds racing season opens on Friday, November 18 and runs through Sunday, March 26. Regular post time will be 1:05 p.m. CT, but opening day post time is 3:00 p.m. CT. Sixty-five stakes worth a combined $8.5 million, up more than $700,000 from last season, will be offered during the Thoroughbred meet.

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