From Delaware Park
The $1-million guaranteed Delaware Handicap (gr. II) highlights a $5.3-million stakes program at Delaware Park in 2008. The 136-day meet runs from April 19-Nov. 11.
Two new 2-year-old turf stakes, the Go for the Green and Fairway Fillies, have been added to the stakes schedule. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles, have purses of $100,000, and will be held Sept. 13. The Go for the Green was specifically designed to act as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
The Delaware Handicap, at 1 1/4 miles for fillies and mares, will be the feature presentation of the $2.5-million Delaware Handicap Festival of Racing July 12-13. The 71st running of the Delaware Handicap will be July 13. The supporting features on the Delaware Handicap day card are the Barbaro Stakes (gr. III), the Caesar Rodney Stakes, and the Light Hearted Stakes.
The $300,000, 1 1/16-mile Barbaro Stakes, formerly the Leonard Richards Stakes, honors the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner who notched his maiden victory at Delaware Park in his career debut in October 2005.
On July 12, 3-year-old fillies will take center stage in the 58th running of the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles. Supporting features on the Delaware Oaks day card are the Robert G. Dick Breeders’ Cup (gr. IIIT) and the R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Stakes.
Other significant changes in the 2008 stakes schedule include the upgrade to grade III status of the Robert G. Dick Memorial and the Obeah Stakes. The Obeah Stakes, the local prep for the Delaware Handicap, received a $50,000 purse increase.
The date and distance of the Kelso Stakes has been changed to Aug. 23 at 1 1/2 miles to position the race on the calendar as a prep for the new Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Also, the Small Wonder and the First State Dash, both restricted to Delaware Certified horses, have been added to the stakes schedule. Both 2-year-old races set for Sept. 27 are at five furlongs on the turf, each with a purse of $75,000.