Delta Downs is one of four racetracks situated in Louisiana. The State’s relationship with racing dates back to the 1850s, although Delta Downs has only been hosting regular race-days since 1973.
The racetrack sits alongside a hotel and casino and is located Calcasieu Parish, which can be found in the southwest region of Louisiana. Positioned just outside Vinton, the track’s geographical location means that racing is rarely affected by inclement weather.
Delta Downs is currently owned by Boyd Gaming and currently hosts a mixture of quarter horse and thoroughbred racing. The season begins in mid-November with thoroughbred action taking centre stage before giving way to quarter horse racing at the beginning of April. No racing takes place between July and November.
The track is a six furlong oval, with an additional 550 yard chute which is used for quarter horse racing. There is also an additional chute which allows races of up to a mile and a 1/16 to be staged at the track. The dirt track is a mix of limestone, sand and clay and over 1,000 horses can be housed in the stables at any given time.
The track almost exclusively hosts evening meets, whereas other venues in the region such as Louisiana Downs and Fair Grounds tend to race during the afternoon. There is a time of the year in which it is possible for all four Louisiana tracks to be racing on the same day.
Delta Downs History
Delta Downs is one of the newer racetracks in North America, and has a relatively short history compared to some of the other venues in the region.
Originally designed for quarter horse action ONLY, Lee Berwick was looking for somewhere to stages races of up to 550 metres. However, it was decided that the track would benefit and attract bigger crowds by hosting a mix of events.
Shawn Scott purchased the track in the early 1990s for a fee believed to be around $10 million, although he didn’t own it for long. He made a tidy profit when selling the venue on for around $100 million. The increased fee was related to the fact that a law was passed in Louisiana which would allow slot machine gaming in the state.
Despite spending $100 million on the track, Boyd Gaming spent a further $120 million on ensuring that the venue was modernized.
In 2005, Delta Downs suffered extensive damage caused by Hurricane Rita. Around 20 barns were lost in total, and a further $40 million was pumped back into the track in order to get it back up and running. It took around six months to get back to full working order, and racing recommenced in January 2006.
Much of the money made from the slots has been pumped back into the racing industry in Louisiana, and there has been a notable increase in prize purses at Delta Downs. Several Grade III races take place at the track, and many horses pass through the track en-route to greater things.
Delta Downs Known Track Bias
Delta Downs is a relatively short track, and therefore there is a fairly short stretch run. This has often tended to favor frontrunners, with a number of wire-to-wire winners impressing in recent years. This is particularly prominent during the early part of the racing season, although the weather can often wreak havoc for those who rely upon early pace.
Rainfall at the track does tend to help closers, and this should be factored by handicappers at Delta Down.
Between February and March 2019, just over 50% of winners over the five furlongs went wire-to-wire. This reduced to 40% for six/six and a half furlong events. If you extend that sample for the entire winter meet at Delta Downs, 45% of winners went wire-to-wire over the shorter trip, whilst just 23% of winners led from the front in races of over a mile.
Although it might not be as prominent as it once was, early pace is undoubtedly an advantage at this track.
Winning Post Positions
Recent stats suggest that having the inside post at Delta Downs is slightly more profitable than being drawn wide.
Field sizes have increased in recent years at the track, and this has coincided with an increase in purse money. The average race has nine runners going to post.
Although the inside draw was the most profitable, stall six also proved fairly useful for handicappers. Stalls 4, 5 and 7 were responsible for the lowest number of winners, although there was a fairly even spread across the board in January and February 2019.
Top Trainers at Delta Downs
Louisiana-based trainers have a decent amount of options when it comes to choosing suitable racetracks for their horses, and many of the bigger names opt to send their horses to Delta Downs throughout the winter months.
There a number of names to keep an eye at future meets:
Stats (2019 winter meet)
- Beverley Burress (16% Strike Rate)
- Brett Brinkman (16% Strike Rate)
- Eduardo Ramirez (17% Strike Rate)
- Jose Camejo (19% Strike Rate)
- Robertino Diodoro (21% Strike Rate)
- Karl Broberg (29% Strike Rate)
- Thomas Amoss (36% Strike Rate)
- Top Jockeys at Delta Downs
There are a number of jockeys who regularly ride winners at Delta Downs, and many of these riders know every single yard of the track. They are experts at getting a little more out of their mount, and they regularly find themselves in the winner’s enclosure at the Louisiana venue.
There are a number of talented jockeys who should be noted whenever they ride here:
Stats (2019 winter meet)
- Paulina Ramirez (11% Strike Rate)
- Thomas Pompell (12% Strike Rate)
- Kerwin D Clark (14% Strike Rate)
- Chris Rosier (14% Strike Rate)
- Quincy Hamilton (17% Strike Rate)
- Diego Saenz (18% Strike Rate)
- Gerard Melancon (20% Strike Rate)
- Timothy Thornton (26% Strike Rate)
Delta Downs Racing Season and Key Races
Racing at Delta Downs typically gets underway around mid-November. They tend to race Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the winter months.
The action continues throughout the holiday season.
Thoroughbred action comes to a close in early-April, with quarter-horse contests taking over. The 46-day season takes place between mid-April and early-July.
Delta Downs hosts 28 stakes races throughout its 48 day race meet, with a total of $4.6 million in prize money.
Delta Downs Jackpot
Delta Downs Princess
Other notable stakes events:
Magnolia Stakes, My Trusty Cat Stakes, Delta Downs Gold Cup, Jean Lafitte Stakes, Louisiana Premier Night Handicap, The Delta Mile, Louisiana Jewel, Treasure Chest Stakes, Take Charge Brandi Stakes
Delta Downs Racetrack Address
Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel
2717 Delta Downs Drive, Vinton, LA 70668