NEW ORLEANS — Thursday’s live racing program at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots was canceled because of severe thunderstorms in the New Orleans area.

The state and track stewards made the final decision, in consultation with Fair Grounds officials, at 12:30 p.m., a half-hour before the scheduled first post at 1 p.m.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Friday with a nine-race program beginning at 1 p.m. The Fair Grounds OTB and all 10 Fair Grounds OTB Casino locations remain open for simulcasting from tracks around the country and the Fair Grounds Slots facility is open for play.

Saturday’s card includes a special program featuring zebra, ostrich and mascot racing.

First post for an expanded 13-race card is 2 p.m., with the exotic animal racing after 6 p.m.