Delta Downs Racetrack, Casino and Hotel is an American thoroughbred and quarter horse racetrack in Calcasieu Parish, near Vinton, Louisiana in the southwest portion of the state. The facility is owned by Boyd Gaming.
The track opened in September 1973, under the direction of Lee Berwick. Berwick was primarily looking for a recognized facility to run Quarter Horses, having earlier held races on his farm in St. Joseph, Louisiana. 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 after a law was passed allowing for slot machines at Delta Downs. After the purchase, Boyd Gaming made over $120 million in capital improvements. The casino, hotel and track 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. Fueled by revenue from the slots casino, the quality of racing at Delta Downs has improved. The winter Thoroughbred meeting has produced several stakes-quality horses in recent years.
The track is a 6-furlong (1.2 km) oval. There is a 550-yard (0.50 km) Quarter-Horse chute, in addition to a five-furlong (1 km) and 1 1⁄16-mile (1.7 km) Thoroughbred chutes. The track surface is a mixture of sand (from the Sabine River) and clay, with a limestone base. The track has stabling for 1,200 horses. The Delta Downs grounds features horse pastures which are visible from the entrance. Draft and miniature horses and thoroughbreds are on display. The Quarter Horse Red River Rebel, owned by Malcom Chiasson, holds the track record as of 2011; he is also the leading money-winning quarter horse in Louisiana.
The track usually holds races from November to mid-July, with the Thoroughbred meet beginning in November and the Quarter Horse meet commencing in April. Delta Downs hosts the Grade III, $750,000 Delta Jackpot Stakes for 2-year-olds. The other major stakes is the Grade III, $500,000 Delta Princess Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
- Delta Downs racing website Retrieved 2011-06-02.