The track initially opened in September, 1973 under the direction of Lee Berwick. Mr. Berwick was primarily looking for a recognized facility to run Quarter Horses, having earlier held races on his farm in St. Joseph, La. But Delta Downs in Vinton would hold both quarter horse and thoroughbred race meetings, some years in a mixed format. In the 1990s the track was bought by developer Shawn Scott for $10 million. Shortly thereafter it was sold for over $100 million to Boyd Gaming. This was after Mr. Scott managed to get a law passed allowing for slot machines at Delta Downs. After the purchase, Boyd Gaming made over $120 million in capital improvements. The casino hotel and the track itself were badly damaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. The Casino and Hotel were partially opened two months later. The track was closed for about six months after the hurricane. Today, fueled by revenues from the slots casino, the racing at Delta Downs is vastly improved. The winter thoroughbred meeting has produced several important stakes horses in recent years.
The track is a six-furlong oval. There is a 550-yard quarter horse chute in addition to a five-furlong and 1 1/16-mile thoroughbred chute. The track surface is a mixture of sand (from the Sabine river) and clay with a limestone base. The track has stabling for 1200 horses. The Delta Downs grounds now also includes horse pastures as you drive in. There are draft horses, miniature horses, and thoroughbred horses on view.
The casino has over 1,600 slots. The racino has only slots due to restrictions in state law. The hotel has 203 rooms, with 36 suites. the Quarter horse Red RiverRebel Owned by Malcom Chiasson still hold the track record time. He also is the top Quarter horse in the Louisiana that won the most money.
The track races from November to mid-July in a normal year with the thoroughbred meet commencing in November and the quarter horse meet commencing in April. The track conducts the Grade III $750,000 Delta Jackpot Stakes for 2 year olds. The other major stakes is the $500,000 Delta Princess Stakes for 2 year old fillies. Both the Jackpot and Princess races will have Grade 3 status in 2008.
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