Delta Downs Horsemen Confused, Frustrated As Training Does Not Resume Monday

Several trainers at Delta Downs in Vinton, La. had their horses tacked up and standing ready at the gap early Monday morning, only to find the gates to the track surface padlocked. Security eventually arrived and informed the trainers that Delta would not be opening the track for training Monday morning.

In light of Judge Sharon Wilson’s official ruling last week against Delta Downs’ parent company, Boyd Gaming, the horsemen were confused and frustrated.

A trio of tracks in Louisiana – Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Louisiana Downs – had not allowed morning training since mid March due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The Louisiana State Racing Commission issued an emergency order on March 20 which required tracks to remain open and to provide training at least every other day, but Boyd Gaming (which owns Delta and Evangeline) filed a temporary restraining order against the LSRC.

Judge Wilson struck down the restraining order on April 9, and all three tracks were expected to resume training. Both Louisiana Downs (owned by Caesars Entertainment) and Evangeline Downs released training schedules over the weekend, indicating that training would be offered on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and those schedules were posted on the Louisiana HBPA website.

Evangeline and Louisiana Downs opened for training as scheduled on Monday morning, but as of Monday afternoon, the Louisiana HBPA was still awaiting a schedule from Delta Downs.

“We are awaiting a communication from Mr. (Steve) Kuypers (Vice President and General Manager) at Delta Downs,” said Ed Fensaci, executive director of the Louisiana HBPA. “We were promised a schedule today, early this afternoon. Kuypers sent us an email Saturday and again at 10 a.m. this morning saying he would get us a schedule, but it hasn’t arrived yet.”

Boyd Gaming officials did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

The LSRC is aware of the situation at Delta, said commissioner Mike McHalffey.

“It will be addressed as quickly as possible,” McHalffey said.

According to Quarter Horse trainer Trey Ellis, there are between 50 and 60 Quarter Horses stabled at Delta Downs right now, and approximately 25 people are involved with the daily care of those horses. The horses have not trained for almost a month now.

“Half of my string is still stuck at Louisiana Downs, and half are here (at Delta),” said Ellis. “Through the HBPA, we were quickly notified of training schedules at Evangeline (also owned by Boyd), but didn’t hear anything about Delta. I tried to get my horses back to Louisiana Downs, but they wouldn’t let me back in.”

The LSRC’s original emergency order included a provision that horses and horsemen be allowed to move between tracks, but that provision was removed on April 6.

The post Delta Downs Horsemen Confused, Frustrated As Training Does Not Resume Monday appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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