The Paddock at Delaware Park.

The Paddock at Delaware Park.

Tom LaMarra

Delaware, Horsemen Agree on 81-Day Meet

The track had been approved by the racing commission for 100 days this year.

Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association said April 10 they have signed a contract for 2013 for 81 days of racing, down from the originally scheduled 100 days.

The two parties have been negotiating, with assistance from state officials, off and on since late last year. The revised schedule is subject to statutory changes by the Delaware legislature.

Track officials said the multi-year agreement has the support of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission and the Delaware THA. A horsemen's representative couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

The meet will run from May 18, as was the earlier plan, through Oct. 7. The meet had been scheduled to end Nov. 9.

Racing will be held Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays with first post time at 1:15 p.m. The Delaware Park meet will overlap with meets at Monmouth Park in New Jersey and Parx Racing in Pennsylvania.

The 15-event stakes schedule, now official, is highlighted by $750,000 Delaware Handicap, which now has grade I status. The premier event for fillies and mares is scheduled for July 20.

The $300,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) and the $200,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial (gr. IIIT) will be raced July 13. Both local prep races for the Delaware Handicap and the Delaware Oaks will be run on the same day: The $100,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III) and the $75,000 Go For Wand Stakes are scheduled for June 15.

A series of stakes for Delaware Certified horses–those bred in the state or those that spent a specific period of time at farms in Delaware–is scheduled for Sept. 14.