08/19/2008 12:00AM

Jackpot shrinks as Princess expands


Delta Downs has made changes to the purses of its two biggest stakes as part of a 38-race, $4 million schedule released Tuesday. The Vinton, La., track has trimmed the purse of its richest race, the Grade 3 Delta Jackpot, from $1 million to $750,000, and boosted the value of the Grade 3 Delta Princess from $300,000 to $500,000. Both races are for 2-year-olds, and will be held Dec. 5.

"The decision was to move stakes purse money around slightly to give the Delta Princess the added boost and to make the whole night more enriched for trainers with 2-year-olds," said Chris Warren, director of racing for Delta. "We thought it makes for a stronger night."

Delta, which has slots, launched the Delta Jackpot in 2002 with a purse of $500,000. It was raised to $1 million in 2003, and remained at that level through 2007. The Jackpot became a Grade 3 in 2006. This year, the 1 1/16-mile race will anchor an expanded Jackpot Night of six stakes worth more than $1.5 million. Last year, there were four stakes on the card.

The Princess, which will be a Grade 3 for the first time this year, is for 2-year-old fillies at a mile. The races highlight an 88-date meet that opens Oct. 29 and runs through March 28, 2009.

Delta also is home to the $1 million Louisiana Premier Night, a program of 10 divisional stakes for Louisiana-breds on Feb. 7, 2009. Purses this meet are projected to average $220,000 a day, Warren said. Stall applications close Aug. 29.