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Fair Grounds reschedules grass stakes

Two turf stakes scheduled for Saturday's Road to the Derby Kickoff Day at Fair Grounds -- the Grade 3, $125,000 Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap and the $75,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial -- have been moved to the following Saturday, January 26, due to the likelihood that there will be no turf racing this weekend. The final decision was made at about 9:30 a.m. (CST) Wednesday by Fair Grounds  officials after consulting with horsemen and the stewards.

"Everyone agreed this was the right decision," Fair Grounds Vice President and General Manager for Racing Eric Halstrom said. "These are important races on our stakes schedule and our horsemen deserve every chance to run their horses on their preferred surface. While it doesn't always work out that way we think that moving these turf stakes back a week will help accomplish that goal."

Fair Grounds has been faced with an inordinate amount of rain in recent weeks. As of Wednesday morning, 5.39 inches of rain had fallen in the area in January, according to local television meteorologist Chris Franklin. The average for the entire month is 5.87 inches. Only one race, the January 5 Dixie Poker Ace, has been run on the Stall-Wilson Turf Course in 2013.

Although the local forecast for the weekend is actually quite good for racing, with little chance of rain Thursday to Sunday, the ground is too heavily saturated to expect turf racing on Saturday.

The rescheduled races on January 26 will make for a four-stakes program, which was already scheduled to feature the $75,000 F.W. Gaudin Memorial sprinters and the inaugural Van Berg for three-year-old turf sprinters.

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