Four of the five graded stakes on the 2014 Delaware Park stakes schedule will feature the ladies of Thoroughbred racing, highlighted by the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. I).
The 1 1/4-mile filly and mare summer tilt will be run for the 75th time on July 12.
Last year the Del 'Cap was run as a grade I race for the first time since 1989. Besilu Stable's Royal Delta won her second Del 'Cap in record-setting fashion by notching a 10 1/4-length victory.
"Ladies have always been first at Delaware Park, and they always will be," said executive director of racing John Mooney in a release. "That is by design. Through the decades, we have enjoyed hosting some of the greatest fillies and mares of the sport. I congratulate the Royal Delta connections on another championship campaign, and I look forward to seeing the next exciting chapter of this proud filly and mare tradition."
The Delaware Handicap produced the division champion for the third consecutive year, as Royal Delta was recently named the older female champion in successive years. In 2011, Havre de Grace finished second to her arch rival Blind Luck in the race during her Horse of the Year and older female championship.
The supporting feature on the Del 'Cap card will be the six furlong $100,000 Sweet and Sassy Stakes for fillies and mares. The local Delaware Handicap prep, the 1 1/8-mile Obeah Stakes (gr. III), will be run June 14.
The 1 1/16-mile Delaware Oaks (gr. II) is scheduled July 5. Since the race was inaugurated in 1938, five Hall of Fame fillies, including Gallant Bloom and Gallorette, and nearly 20 divisional champions, including recent winners Blind Luck and Proud Spell, have captured the Oaks. The supporting feature on the Oaks card will be the Robert G. Dick Memorial (gr. III). The 1 3/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares has a purse of $200,000.
The $150,000 Kent Stakes (gr. III) rounds out the $2.1 million stakes schedule. The 1 1/8-mile turf test for 3-year-olds will be run Sept. 20. Owners' Day is scheduled for Sept. 13.
The 77th season of live racing at the Stanton oval will feature 81 days with the meet starting May 17 and concluding Oct. 22.
Racing will be held May 17, 21, 24, 26, 28, and 31. From June 2 through Sept. 6, live racing will be conducted on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. Beginning Sept. 8, Monday will be dropped from the schedule and live racing will be conducted on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through closing day Oct. 22. Daily first race post time is set for 1:15 p.m. ET.