Horses registered with the Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program will be eligible for more money next year, officials announced Nov. 25.
Delaware Park plans to race from May 18-Nov. 9 this year but, as was the case in 2012, the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission approved the dates even though a contract with horsemen isn't in place.
Delaware Park opened its 75th season of Thoroughbred racing on a picture-perfect afternoon May 12 with a large, yet it was also set to face some challenges for the 100-day meet.
Delaware Park was awarded 100 days of live Thoroughbred racing for 2012, but the track has no contract with the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association for the meet.
Cancellation of one program because of a lack of horses did little to dent the Delaware Park meet, which opened with enthusiasm and features a new program designed to increase attendance.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, sponsor of the Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program, has reduced the program's combined bonus payments to 40% (20% to the certifier and 20% to the owner).
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The expansion of gaming at racetrack casinos doesn't always guarantee more money for purses and breed development programs, horsemen said July 2 during a sobering discussion that showed horse racing's challenge to stay relevant in a revenue-driven environment.
A recent deal that allowed expanded distribution of the Fair Grounds racing signal was hailed by some as a step forward in the months-long nationwide dispute between horsemen, racetracks, and advance deposit wagering entities. But some horsemen's groups are categorizing the development as a step backwards in an overall plan to secure higher revenue shares for purses from a growing wagering segment.
Trainers at Delaware Park are being offered a horsemen's group-sponsored workers' compensation program as well as a $1-million general liability insurance policy at no additional cost.
Live racing resumed at Delaware Park Tuesday under the auspices of a new track superintendent, one day after concerns over track condition prompted the cancellation of Monday's card plus four races (three Thoroughbred and one Arabian) on Sunday's card.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has come up with an innovative way to reward horsemen who board horses at farms and training centers in the state for a given time period.
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