The $500,000 New Orleans Handicap (G2) featured a field of 6 older horses going 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Neil Howard trainee Grasshopper was sent off as the 9-10 favorite, exiting a victory in the Mineshaft, the major local prep for this race. In to challenge him were 3-1 second choice Brass Hat, exiting a fourth place effort in the Donn Handicap, and 5-1 third choice Magna Graduate, third in the Mineshaft behind Grasshopper.
At the start, Silver Lord ducked in, dumping rider Corey Lanerie. Favorite Grasshopper went to the front and battled on the pace with Magna Graduate first time past the stands and around the clubhouse turn through initial fractions of 24.13 and 48.19 over the fast track. Down the backstretch, Magna Graduate took over the lead after 3/4 in 1:12.27, with Grasshopper staying with him. Entering the stretch, Magna Graduate tired and dropped from contention, but Circular Quay, who stalked the pace in third the whole way, came out wide to challenge for the lead. Grasshopper and Circular Quay battled for the last furlong, but Circular Quay fought hard late to pull ahead by a neck in 1:49.80 over the fast main track. It was a long 4 1/4 lengths back to 18-1 longest shot Reporting for Duty in third.
Part 1 with the Louisiana Derby, Fair Grounds Oaks, and Bienville Stakes