03/22/2006 1:00AM

Delta Downs track report


Delta Downs opened its backstretch to Quarter Horses on Wednesday, after 20 barns were rebuilt following damage caused by Hurricane Rita last September. Training races for nominees to upcoming futurities at the track will be held on Friday and Saturday. Delta's meet for Quarter Horses will run for 52 days, beginning April 13.

Hurricane Rita destroyed 20 of the 22 barns at the track. The new barns, which began receiving horses Wednesday, have 60 stalls each. Damage to the backstretch was one reason the track's winter-spring Thoroughbred meet was called off, with Delta's dates moved to Evangeline Downs.

Heath Taylor, who won the Quarter Horse training title last year at Delta, is due back to defend his title. His main competitors include Janet VanBebber, Donnie Strickland, and Jeff Acuna. The defending riding champ is Gilbert Ortiz.