Edited press release
Trainer J. Larry Jones, who usually splits his stable between Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Iowa and Ellis Park in Kentucky after the close of the Oaklawn Park meet, will move his stable to Delaware Park for the 136-day meet that runs from April 22-Nov. 13.
Last year, Jones raced one horse--Island Sand--at Delaware Park, and she won the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II). Island Sand has since been retired, but Jones said he would bring about 40 horses to the Stanton facility this year.
"We are looking forward to it," Jones said. "It is a different route than we have been taking, but it looks like it may be just what we were looking for. Of course, I got to stay at Delaware the week of the Delaware Handicap last year. It just looked like a great racing atmosphere around Delaware Park. The week I was at Delaware, we enjoyed the racing surface and it seemed like the people were very involved in racing.
"The racing secretary's office was very friendly and they were horse people themselves, which made you feel comfortable in knowing that you can work with them. It was a lot of things. Plus, the purses are very attractive and there is the opportunity for a lot of racing. Everything combined made it something that we wanted to try."
Last year, Delaware Park offered 138 days of racing. Thoroughbred purses totaled $37.1 million; the daily average payout was $269,000. Delaware Park derives much of its purse revenue from video lottery terminals.
Jones said he decided he didn't want to split his operation between Iowa and Kentucky. "It looks like the Delaware program will have something for our best horses, and it looks like they will have something for our lesser-end horses. Whereas, in the past, I would send some of my horses to Iowa and some to Kentucky, but it looks like Delaware will fit the entire bill on all of it."
Other new trainers to be stabled at Delaware Park this year are John Servis, Kathleen O'Connell, Dale Capuano, Ed Gaudet, Anthony Pecoraro, Hamilton Smith, Barclay Tagg, and Michael Trombetta. They will join the cast of regulars that includes Scott Lake, Michael Pino, Tim Ritchey, Michael Gorham, Steve Klesaris, Anthony Dutrow, John Zimmerman, H. Graham Motion, Michael Matz, Randy Nunley, Michael Petro, and Howard Wolfendale.