Friday night a horse will be assured of a post for the Kentucky Derby. Steve “Derby Trail” Haskin and a smattering of racing fans will have their attention riveted to the grandeur of Delta Downs and the $1 Million Delta Jackpot (G3).
For many of you including Garrett Gomez, who are unfamiliar with Delta Downs, Louisiana, USA, let me take the time to provide you with a little background; I’m qualified to provide this information because (1) my girlfriend, Jan, is from Louisiana, (2) I have driven through the state of Louisiana, and (3) I ate a crawfish once.
Delta Downs Racing-Casino-Hotel is located in the sprawling metropolis of Vinton, Calcasieu Parish, somewhere in Southwest Louisiana. Vinton, Louisiana, is noted for a variety of things that many horse racing fans may not know. It is the birthplace of the legendary blues musician, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. It is also served as the hometown of Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, Ted Lyons, who played 21 seasons with Chicago White Sox and was notorious for leaving three-day-old shrimp gumbo in the opposing team's locker room before a game. Also, if you rearrange the letters in Vinton, Louisiana, you can spell salivation union. And every year they host the Calcasieu Cajun Pronounciation Bee where contestants attempt to pronounce the word Calcasieu correctly.
Moderator: Pr’nounce th’word Calcasieu.
Garret Gomez: Excuse me, but I think you have me confused with Calvin Borel.
Actually, the history of Delta Downs, currently owned by Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) and trading around $37 per share (hello? Frank??), are quite humble. Its origins were from a number years ago, when a couple of Cajun guys, Lil’ Bubba and Boudreaux, would saunter down to the local swamp every Friday night and hold crawdad races. People from all around Calcasieu Parish would come by to wager their hard-earned money on the racing crawdads, all the while feasting on boudain balls and meat pies. Crawdad races would last until the wee hours in the morning until all the boudain balls and beer were consumed, and then bettors, in their frustration, stormed the track and ate the crawdads.
Finally one night, Lil’ Bubba came up with a bright idea,
Lil’ Bubba: Hey! We could have a whole lot more races if we raced horses instead of crawdads! I betcha we could have a much bigger handle, too!
Boudreaux: My daddy’s got a small piece o’ land solid enough by the bayou and far enough away from the gators that we could set up a small oval. Somethin’ ‘bout 6 furlongs. Y’think that’d work?
Lil’ Bubba: Oh yeah. But how’d we attract some good horses?
Anyway, enjoy the Jackpot. And enjoy some great music by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (if you’re at work, make sure the volume is up so that your boss can appreciate this, too).