Hurricane Threat Forces Evacuation of Barns at La. Racetrack

Officials at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, located in New Orleans, La., have declared a mandatory evacuation of its barn area in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to become a hurricane as it moves into the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The evacuation applies to about 700 horses currently stabled at Fair Grounds for its summer Quarter Horse meet, as well as all backside workers.

"Given the time and effort required to transport horses we could not afford to wait any longer," said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager for racing, "Our first priority is safety and this decision ensures that all humans and horses participating in our meet can get out of harm's way."

All four days of live Quarter Horse racing scheduled for the week of Aug. 29- Sept. 1, Wednesday to Saturday, have been canceled. Officials expect that the season will be extended and the canceled races will be redrawn the following week.

"By canceling all four days this week, everyone will have time to return and settle back in before we resume racing," Halstrom said. "Logistically it would be difficult to run this weekend even if the worst of the storm were to miss us."

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

The National Weather Service's latest update on Tropical Storm Isaac projects a path heading toward the central Gulf Coast, with New Orleans squarely within the area of probable landfall. The storm is expected to strengthen to a hurricane over the next 24 to 28 hours.

For more information on preparing for and surviving through hurricanes with horses, see Hurricane Season Resources for Horse Owners on

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The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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