Exotic animal racing event attracts students

Ethan Moran, Contributing Writer

Zebras walking on the race track at Grounds Race Courts & Slots. (Martha Sanchez)

Tulane University students dressed in formal wear flocked to the fairgrounds on Saturday for an annual event where students and locals watch horses, zebras and ostriches race.

Alongside horse races, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots organizes yearly exotic animal races, which took place on Saturday. Fair Grounds held three separate events for ostriches, zebras and camels. 

Exotic animal races have been a yearly tradition for Fair Grounds since 2012. In recent years, a percentage of the student body has made a tradition of the exotic races. 

“I was a little nervous to be there because I definitely didn’t want any animals to be injured in the process of the day,” sophomore Sophia McClung, who did not attend last year but decided to go this year with her friends, said. “But it was really cool.” 

“I got to see so many friends that I don’t normally get to see on campus, and we all had a great time,” McClung said. “I got to see a little bit of a taste of a Louisiana style horse bet and races.”

In 2021, the exotic animal races were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. A year later, COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, and students showed up in force to watch the exotic animal races take place. According to attendees this year, the student crowd was even larger. Locals at the event even took notice, and a photo of a group of formally dressed students at the racetrack ended up in the New Orleans subreddit

McClung said that she enjoyed mingling with local New Orleanians at the event. 

“The Exotic Animal Races is one our top fan favorite events of the year and Tulane students have always supported the day,” Jamie Garrett, senior director of marketing at Fair Grounds, said. 

Garrett praised Tulane students for their support of the event and for their good behavior during the races. 

“Having personally worked the entrance line on Saturday I can say that the students that attended from Tulane were some of the friendliest students I have encountered at events,” Garrett said. “Almost every single person went out of their way to say thank you and wish us a great day. We look forward to welcoming them back at future events.”

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