Sorry, Mr. Ed. You’re out of the spotlight Saturday night. The New Orleans Fair Grounds are getting a little wild! In addition to the horses, zebras and ostriches will be taking over the track!
Aryn Hendrick is a wild animal trainer. He explains, “The zebras, they’re gonna break out of the starting gates. They’re gonna run pretty hard, pretty fast. For the most part they run pretty straight. The ostriches, you really don’t have any idea. They’re gonna leave the starting gates pretty hard, but after that they’re gonna run, but it might be different directions.”
Fans are hoping for a repeat of the last exotic races, back in August. WGNO meteorologist Hank Allen is not! Jim Mulvihill with the fairgrounds tells me what happened. “The camel was bucking, and poor Hank was hanging on for his dear life, and he went flying off. It looked like one of those rodeos you’d see on ESPN, and he kinda not face-planted, but it was a violent collision with our racing surface!”
So, will the zebras and ostriches follow the camel’s lead? Luckily this time, it’ll be jockeys on their backs instead of local celebrities, but there’s still no guarantee of what’ll happen. Mulvihill says, “They’re animals that have done this before. They know what they’re doing, but at the same time they are still wild animals, so that is true with horse racing as well. They’re still animals, and they still have their instincts, so you never know exactly what’s going to happen no matter how well trained they are.”
And that means there’s a strong chance of a wild night at the races! The horse races start at 2:00 pm on Saturday, with the exotic animal races starting at 7:00 pm. Admission is $10 at the door.