Delaware House Modifies Race-Date Requirement

The bill allows for less than 100 days a year if the track and horsemen agree.

The Delaware House of Representatives May 9 passed legislation that allows racetracks to offer fewer than 100 days of live racing each year if there is a written agreement with the representative horsemen's group.

The vote in favor was 38-0. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Current law calls for the 100-day minimum but offers no provision for offering fewer racing dates. Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association in April signed a new contract under which they agreed to race only 81 days this year.

A bill synopsis states the purpose is to "maintain racing purses that are competitive with other racetracks in the Mid-Atlantic region." A separate report from the originating committee said it "found the bill to be reasonable in ensuing that needed operations options exist for Delaware Park horse racing."

The live meet at Delaware Park, which has full casino gambling, begins May 18. The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission approved an earlier application by the track for 100 days; rather than the meet continuing through Breeders' Cup in early November, it will end Oct. 7.