Delta Downs management is still fixing 'bad situation' with lights

Delta Downs management is still fixing 'bad situation' with lights
Photo: Boyd Gaming

Delta Downs management was taken to task Tuesday by members of the Louisiana State Racing Commission after asking for a 60-day extension to its daytime racing. The lights at the Vinson, La., track have caused issues with jockeys, who said the track is lit inconsistently, causing shadows that could spook horses.

Commissioner Tom Calvert urged the track executives who attended the meeting to resolve the problems as quickly as possible.

“We were supposed to have Delta running at night and the Fair Grounds in New Orleans running during the day,” Calvert said. “And now we have two of our major tracks competing against one another for the daytime patrons, and it's a bad situation.”

Representatives of both Fair Grounds and Delta reported year-over-year drops in handle during their current meets. However, handle figures for 2020 were likely inflated due to other wagering options shutting down temporarily during the COVID pandemic.

According to Steve Kuypers, vice president and general manager of Delta Downs, fixing the problem requires individually adjusting hundreds of lights on 64 different poles.

“We’re hoping that in the next couple weeks they will come with a full report to the the entire track to a candlelight that is acceptable,” Kuypers said. “Then we’ll invite the jockeys over, let them ride. Hopefully they will say it’s OK.”

Calvert requested that the track’s lighting experts come speak at the next LHRC meeting if the issues are not resolved by that time. He also asked for a written report from the lighting company within 15 days of Tuesday’s meeting.

That request was added to a motion to grant the 60-day extension, which passed. The commission did not rule out having an emergency meeting to approve night racing if the lights are fixed before 60 days are up.

“We really would light to start running night time at Delta,” Kuypers said.

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