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Fairgrounds food and dress code?

We are planning to go to the races Thursday (Thanksgiving) and have dinner at a restaurant later that night. What are the lunch options at the track and what in general should we wear? I checked Yelp and the web site but would appreciate some expert advice. Thank you.

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  1. never been opening day but i saw a photo that showed people in thanksgiving themed hats. fairgrounds like most racetracks have alot of food stalls(stands), so you won't go hungry, and i bet the food is pretty good.like other tracks i go to regularly, like del mar, it's very casual in the stands, a little more dressy in the clubhouse and very dressy with a strict dress code in the turf club.there is also a casino attached to fairgrounds.

    1. Going back many years, gentlemen always wore jackets. Ladies often wore hats, but it was not Royal Ascot, so not at that level.

      Much might depend on where you are dining that night.

      As for food, on opening day, I can only recall that it was good, but was admonished that I had to be ready to dine at either Galatoire's, or Antoine's that night. Last rime I was at opening day, was when I was about 12, and that WAS a long time ago.



      Galatoire's Restaurant
      209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

      1. Churchill Downs now owns us and makes little changes from time to time but if Tradition is any guide (and tradition is BIG in New Orleans) there is the reserved seating buffet plu the Oyster Bar by the paddock and the sandwich places selling the corned beef sandwichs and chips etc. It is not what it was before The Fire when many noted restaurateurs around town had clubhouse tables and the kitchen had to be on its toes. The "new" Clubhouse is fine, though, if lacking in charm. Outfits range from very traditional suits and dresses to more outlandish mini-Mardi Gras affairs. I've seen men in Ascot attire, sometimes ther are a couple of people trying to look like someone out of Damon Runyon or Joe Palmer, maybe a Grantland Rice imitator with a card reading PRESS in the band of his hat. Varies from year to year but there will be a helluva lot of Uptown families. I'll be out-of-town this year but if I were going I'd probably have some corned beef, bet my $100 bucks or so and then light out for someplace open for dinner and have something other than turkey...in a suit, of course.

          1. a lot of people in my neighborhood go to the race track on thanksgiving; almost everyone dresses up for the occasion. the other year I found a great green felt hat to match my suit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kibbles

              Yes, using my "way-back machine," I recall clearly my gray felt fedora, with what I think was a small pheasant feather, neatly tucked into the band. I also go to wear my brand new wool top coat, and other than the feather, I think that my father was dressed in a similar fashion. My mother had a pillbox hat with a mini veil.

              That was THEN, so much could have changed with the NOW?


            2. Thanks so much everyone. We had a great time and my mom came out $2.80 ahead. Slacks and sweaters were fine and we enjoyed the outfits on many of our fellow race watchers. (Personally I think if you wear your corset on the outside of your dress AND two giant pheasant feathers in your hat you have some attention-seeking issues, but it made for fun between races. And, of course, I am from Ohio.) I didn't find the corned beef, but the brisket sandwich was great as was the pulled pork. What a nice, clean, and family-friendly track you have! All the children we saw were very well-behaved too. We missed the old-school funk of wooden stands like Saratoga, but I suspect that sort of thing contributes to gigantic conflagrations.

              4 Replies
              1. re: daffodilly

                new orleanians that like attention by dressing in flamboyant attire? no...!

                smirk. more power to 'em. after all, that's why people vacation here rather than the mid-west, right!? :)

                1. re: daffodilly

                  Now, it HAS been many years, but I cannot recall any "corsets outside of one's clothes," but then times, they are a changin'. Who knew?

                  So long as you enjoyed, that is what counts. Last time, IIRC, I did opening day, it was raining, and muddy, and Sleepy Mable (a mud-runner) won, paying me about $ 50 to wine. My father cashed in my ticket (as I was too young to do so), and then treated the family at Antoine's that night, but I knew, who had won... [LOL]


                  1. re: daffodilly

                    I believe those wooden stands went up in flames in the fire of ‘93

                    1. re: daffodilly

                      Think of what some of us New Orleanians must think of tourists from Ohio coming to Thanksgiving day at the races in "slacks & sweaters" !!!