Delta Ups Purses 40% Beginning Friday

There's a lot of love going around at Delta Downs. Beginning on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, the track will increase purses an average of 40%, with open races feeling the uptick the most.

"Our purse structure is complicated of our slots bill and everybody doesn't get an equal share, but most of it (the purse increase) is going to open horses," said racing secretary Chris Warren. "The only downside is not giving away money sooner to more people...I would like to have given out it over the long haul."

The increase will hike purses in open maiden special races from $13,000 to $24,000, for example, and will raise the purse for $5,500 claiming events to $10,000.

Delta Downs, which benefits from a casino on the premises, races four days a week through March 23. Warren said currently about 1,000 horses are on the grounds, but many of the Vinton, La., track's races have been drawing shippers from the surrounding area and out of state.

Recently another Louisiana track, Fair Grounds, announced it will be decreasing its purses due to simulcast competition, casino competition, and overpayment in 2001-2002.