Louisiana horsemen are busy shuffling race meetings between Evangeline Downs and Louisiana Downs after Delta Downs became the second track in the state to suffer severe damage due to a hurricane. Delta Downs was scheduled to open its 88-day Thoroughbred meeting Oct. 21.
"Delta is not in good shape," said Mona Romero, executive director of the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "We haven't spoken with anyone at Delta officially, but we have spoken to city officials. We understand the barn area is really wiped out. I don't think there are a handful of barns standing. The whole top floor, which was the steak house, is no longer there. The roof on the main building took a pretty good blow."
Representatives from Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Delta Downs plan to meet with HBPA representatives today to begin negotiations about possibily moving the Delta Thoroughbred meet to Evangeline, which is scheduled to begin a Quarter Horse meet Oct. 1.
One plan under discussion is for a potential Delta meeting at Evangeline to open on or before Dec. 1, with the $1-million Delta Jackpot (gr. III) to be run Dec. 2.
Fair Grounds suffered damage during Hurricane Katrina and it will conduct an abbreviated 2005-06 meeting, Nov. 16-Jan.22, at Louisiana Downs. To allow for that to happen, Louisiana Downs scheduled Quarter Horse meeting would have to shift to Evangeline Downs.
The Louisiana Racing Commission has final say over if and when the race meets can be shifted. The commission has a meeting scheduled in Lafayette Sept. 30.