Lee Berwick, a prominent Quarter Horse breeder and owner and a former president of the American Quarter Horse Association, opened the first Delta Downs as a non-pari-mutuel match track on his farm in St. Joseph, Louisiana, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Berwick moved the operation to Delta Downs’ current location in Vinton, Louisiana in 1973, and he served as track president until 1997, when his daughter Kathryn succeeded him.
In 1999, the track was bought by developers Shawn Scott and Jinho Cho for $10 million, who began renovating the facility in hopes of installing slot machines. In 2001, the track was sold again for over $125 million to Las Vegas based Boyd Gaming Corp after a law was passed allowing for slot machines at Delta Downs. After the purchase, Boyd Gaming made over $120 million in capital improvements. The slots have resulted in sizable increases in racing purses offered by the track.
Delta Downs offers racing for Thoroughbreds as well as a separate season for Quarter Horses and Paints.