04/05/2004 11:00PM

Delta handle increases, spurred by offtrack bets


Delta Downs in Vinton, La., reported a 32 percent increase in handle during its Thoroughbred meet that closed on March 27, according to figures the track released on Tuesday.

Delta handled more than $1.2 million a night on its races offtrack, for a total of $105 million. Ontrack, handle on live and simulcast races averaged more than $116,000 a night, for a total of $10 million. Delta raced 86 nights but was forced to cancel one of those programs after two races because of inclement weather.

Attendance for the meet is not available because the track operates a slots casino and admission is free.

Delta paid out $200,000 a night in purses, up $22,000 a card over the same meet a year ago.

The track's signature race, the Delta Jackpot, was increased in value to $1 million, and handle on the night of that Dec. 5 race was a track-record $2.4 million.

Steve Bourque won his seventh Delta riding title with 120 victories and earnings of $2.1 million. Keith Bourgeois was the leading trainer with 61 victories and earnings of $899,876.