(from Delaware Park)
Delaware Park is preparing for an influx of more horses as about a half-dozen new trainers transfer their strings to the Wilmington oval.
Steve Margolis, Neil Howard, Brad Cox, Robert O’Connor, Wallace Dollase and Helen Pitts-Blasi are among the new outfits shifting all or parts of their operations east to Delaware Park this summer. Part of the reason for the shift is a drastic cutback in racing opportunities in Kentucky this summer. Ellis Park, which traditionally has the license to conduct live racing during the summer, has reduced its number of dates from the initial 48 to 23 days.
“We will have about 20 horses,” Margolis said. “I talked to some of my clients. We talked about what to do with the Ellis Park meet cutting a lot of days and Delaware was the answer. We have about 32 horses total. We will have about 20 at Delaware and 12 back at Churchill.
"It is just so hard to stay at Churchill and have thirty plus horses and ship to Ellis and Arlington in the heat of summer," Margolis added. "We thought it was a good opportunity to come to new a place and Pat (Pope, racing secretary) has a good facility and program in Delaware. We are just really hoping it works into something good for everybody. We got some 2-year-olds, older horses and some claimers. So, I think we got a nice group that should fit in well.”
O’Connor said he will have approximately a dozen horses at Delaware Park.
“Having a stable of about 15 horses, it is just not conducive for us to stay at Churchill and ship to Arlington Park, Ellis Park and Presque Isle during the summer months,” said trainer Robert O’Connor. “I have moved around in my career a lot. I have raced in Tampa for the last few years. I picked up a couple clients down there."
Howard will be bringing about 22 horses, while Pitts-Blasi and Dollase will have approximately 10 apiece. Cox expects to ship about a dozen, including a possible Delaware Handicap (gr. II) contender in Temple Street, who ran third in the Fleur de Lis (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on June 13.