The paddock at Delaware Park

The paddock at Delaware Park

Tom LaMarra

Delaware Park Restricts Picnic Grove Items

Alcohol and coolers are among the items no longer allowed on the grounds.

Delaware Park has announced a policy that will greatly restrict what patrons can bring into "The Grove," its popular picnic area between the paddock and racetrack on the clubhouse turn.

The racetrack on its website said it has a new policy effective May 18, opening day of the 2013 meet. Among the banned items are coolers, grills, thermoses, backpacks, and alcoholic beverages brought onto the grounds; the notice also states things such as fireworks and firearms aren't permitted. Clear plastic bags are permitted.

According to horsemen, the policy was put in place because of the Boston Marathon bombing in late April. Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course tightened their infield policies after the bombing in connection with hosting their Triple Crown races; the Delaware Park policy apparently extends through the entire 81-day meet.

Food and drink will be available for purchase, however, according to another notice on the track's website.

"One of the best dining options for families is the outdoor picnic grove next to the clubhouse," the notice states. "Located in the most picturesque area of the park, you can bring your own picnic or take advantage of the seasonally offered (barbeque) selections. This area, as well as the large white tent, is available for private parties. We can facilitate large parties and (barbeque) for over 2,000 guests."

Horsemen in the past have held "family days" in The Grove in an effort to spur interest in Thoroughbred racing.

Delaware Park offers full casino gambling.