04/23/2014 2:16PM

Delta Dash opens 46-day Quarter Horse meet


Delta Downs in Vinton, La., opens a 46-date Quarter Horse meet Friday night, with the Lee Berwick Futurity, a restricted Grade 1 race that last year was worth more than $560,000, again serving as the season’s centerpiece. The 350-yard race for 2-year-olds bred in Louisiana will be held on the closing-night card July 12. Trials are June 21.

Delta will race Wednesdays through Saturdays, with a nightly first post of 6:15 Central.

The opening-night card is led by the $20,000 Delta Dash, a 250-yard race for 3-year-olds and up that drew a field of 10. Trainer Heath Taylor will send out a pair of contenders in Mr Ease Cartel and Ronnie James, the winner of the 2012 Firecracker Futurity at Delta. The race goes as the ninth on a 10-race program that drew 92 horses. The card also includes four trial races for the Old South Derby, a 400-yard race for 3-year-olds set for May 16.

There are seven trials for the Old South Futurity on Saturday night. The finale for the 330-yard race for 2-year-olds is May 17. The Old South Futurity will share a card with the $55,000 Delta 550 Championship. Saturday night’s card also includes the $50,000 John Alleman Memorial, a restricted Grade 3 for 3-year-olds and up that drew Open Me a Corona, the winner of the $1 million LQHBA Breeders’ Futurity in 2012.

Other highlights of the 26-race stakes schedule at slots-rich Delta Downs include the $75,000-added Lassie Futurity, a restricted Grade 2 on May 23; the $75,000-added Laddie Futurity, a restricted Grade 2 on May 24; the $60,000 Vals Fortune, a restricted Grade 3 for 3-year-olds and up at 400 yards on June 7; the Grade 2, $100,000-added Firecracker Futurity for 2-year-olds at 350 yards July 4; and the $100,000-added Firecracker Derby for 3-year-olds at 400 yards on July 5.

Jockey John Hamilton will be seeking his third consecutive riding title at Delta against a colony that includes Danny Lavergne, Alfonso Lujan, and Gilbert Ortiz. Kenneth Roberts Sr. will be seeking his sixth training title at Delta against a stable area that drew horses from such trainers as Anthony Arey, Vann Haywood, and Taylor.