02/06/2002 1:00AM

Delta Downs track report


VINTON, La. - The long-awaited slot casino at Delta Downs opens Wednesday. The casino will house approximately 1,500 slot machines.

"We are so excited that the date has finally been set," said Delta Downs general manager Jack Bernsmeier. "We are happy to have an opportunity to provide a boost to the horse racing industry, the town of Vinton, and the local economy."

The casino will open at 1 p.m., followed by a Mardi Gras-style celebration with live music. Live racing will continue on Thursday through Sunday evenings.

Leading rider Steve Bourque was back in the saddle last week after serving a one-week suspension. Bourque picked up where he left off by winning with his first two mounts, which gives him 63 victories at the meet. Guy Smith continues to put pressure on Bourque as he had his eighth three-win day of the season Friday night. Jerri Nichols had a three-bagger Saturday night and is fourth in the standings with 44 wins, two behind C. J. Woodley in third.

Mollie Mclash set a track record for five furlongs Jan. 31, covering the distance in 57.60 seconds. The time eclipsed the old mark of 57.80 set by Dr. Lewis less than two weeks previously. Mollie Mclash has won three times in as many starts here his season for owners Anthony Distefano and Beverly Aucoin and trainer Keith Bourgeois.