12/05/2001 12:00AM

Delta Downs


Trainer Bret Thomas, best known for sending out Zarb's Magic to win the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby in 1996, won four races from six starters last week at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., to move into third place in the standings behind leader Don Cormier Jr.

Thomas is new to Delta. He moved his 27-horse stable to the track because of its improved purse structure, which was boosted to $80,000 a day this meet in anticipation of a slots casino opening at the track. Thomas's main clients are multiple Eclipse Award-winning owner John Franks, and Bill Boorhem of Foxwood Plantation.

"Mr. Boorhem and I took a trip to Delta about three months ago, and we were thoroughly impressed with what new owner Boyd Gaming had done with the place," said Thomas. "It was really renovated, and we knew down the road it could be a very profitable place for us, and we wanted to get in on the ground floor."

Thomas's biggest winner last week was Truly Sunlit, who romped by 7 1/4 lengths in a conditioned allowance. She is being pointed for the $25,000 Katy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Sam Houston on Feb. 23. Thomas will start Preview Cat in the fourth race Friday night, and hopes to have a handful of horses racing this weekend at Delta.

After the current Thoroughbred meet closes on Dec. 30, Thomas plans to remain at Delta for its Jan. 3 to April 7 mixed meet, which features Thoroughbreds. He will then move to Lone Star Park near Dallas.