Damage from Hurricane Rita forces cancellation

Updated: November 2, 2005, 10:21 PM ET
By Mary Rampellini | Daily Racing Form

The damage inflicted by Hurricane Rita on Delta Downs in Vinton, La., in late September has forced the track to cancel the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot on Dec. 2. The 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-olds, given a grade for its fourth running this year, was to be the first graded Thoroughbred stakes in the 30-year history of Delta.

The track has also canceled the $250,000 Princess for 2-year-old fillies. The cancellations were announced Wednesday by Delta officials, who said they plan to bring the Jackpot back next year.

Delta was scheduled to run an 88-date meet beginning Oct. 21, but Hurricane Rita crippled the track. Crews have been rebuilding barns and making grandstand repairs since September.

The Louisiana Racing Commission has authorized the transfer of Delta's dates to Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., for a meet scheduled to begin Dec. 1. The commission has given Delta until Nov. 24 to present plans for reopening with the potential for some dates to be moved back to Delta, said Charles Gardiner, executive director of the commission.

Officials from Delta have said the track could be ready to conduct racing by early January. Delta was scheduled to reopen its slots casino on Thursday.