08/14/2009 12:00AM

Delta adds six-figure stakes incentives


Delta Downs in Vinton, La., has added a new twist to the purse structure for its two biggest races, the Grade 3, $750,000 Delta Jackpot and the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Princess. If a Grade 1 or Grade 2 winner is entered in either race, that horse will be running for an additional $250,000 in purse money.

The incentive was announced Friday night, along with the track's entire 34-race, $4.4 million stakes schedule. Delta will open its 90-date meet on Oct. 14. The season will run through March 20.

The highlight is Jackpot Night on Dec. 4, when the Delta Jackpot, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds, leads a six-stakes card worth more than $1.6 million Also on that program is the Princess, a one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies. Officials hope the new purse incentives help lure strong fields.

"We want to get our Grade 3 to a Grade 2, to the next level," said Chris Warren, director of racing for Delta.

Other top programs include Jackpot Preview Night on Nov. 6. There will be six stakes led by the $175,000 Jean Lafitte and the $125,000 My Trusty Cat, preps, respectively, for the Jackpot and Princess. Also on the card, Delta will introduce two new seven-furlong stakes for 2-year-olds bred in Louisiana. One is open and the other is for fillies, with each race worth $250,000.

The annual Louisiana Premier Night is on Feb. 6. It will feature 10 stakes for statebreds worth a cumulative $1 million. The program is led by the $200,000 Premier Night Championship.

Purses at the meet are projected to average $235,000 a day, said Warren.