We get a lot of press releases at Blood-Horse Publications. A lot. But one struck an interest for me when it touted zebra and ostrich races at a horse racetrack.

Nothing says speed quite like jockeys in canvas Western saddles riding zebras in halters...

Photo courtesy Fair Ground Race Course

This Friday, Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La., will be hosting a meet and greet with five racing ostriches, four racing zebras, and their owner. Wha!? How awesome would that be to see?? If I lived in New Orleans, I’d be dragging my husband with me to watch and bet the striped ponies!

(For those of you in the area who are interested, you can watch them race live Jan. 12 around 6 p.m.)

This exhibition is considered the first zebra race in the South, but apparently it won’t be the first ostrich race. And, if those two exotic races don’t strike your fancy, along with some of Louisiana’s best Thoroughbreds racing, the track is hosting mascot racing as well.

I know zebra racing isn’t anything new. Doing a quick search reminded me of a 2005 Hayden Panettiere movie called “Racing Stripes” by Warner Brothers Pictures. An interview with her on About.com gave a little insight to riding zebras in a race:

“{Zebras are) very slow animals, actually … Unless you stick a lion behind them and even then they won’t even run in a straight line. They’ve got really tough mouths, so it was me sitting there and you would have to tug. Whereas with a horse, you can just sort of glide them along…”

I would think that racing zebras would be a lot like racing donkeys, and maybe with Panettiere’s description, I might be right. If you get the chance to watch the racing zebras this weekend, let me know how it goes!