Trainer Grover "Buddy" Delp (right) with Spectacular Bid.

Trainer Grover "Buddy" Delp (right) with Spectacular Bid.

Blood-Horse Library

New Inductees Into Delaware Park Wall of Fame

Spectacular Bid's trainer Buddy Delp among 2012 inductees.

Delaware Park announced July 18 that the horse Parlo, trainer Grover “Buddy” Delp, jockey Eldon Nelson, owners Mr. and Mrs. Walter Jeffords Sr., and track director Bayard Sharp are the 2012 inductees into the track’s “Wall of Fame.”

“This sixth class of inductees recognizes the horses and people that raised the bar in great achievements at Delaware Park,” said Michael Vild, senior vice president and general counsel of Delaware Park. “Many of them set Delaware Park records and standards which still stand today.”

Foxcatcher Farm’s Parlo carried the most weight of any Delaware Handicap winner when the daughter of Heliopolis won the race in track record time in 1955 under 128 pounds. The Virginia homebred trained by R.E. Handlen was the 3-year-old filly and handicap mare champion in 1954 and handicap mare champion in 1955. One of only four fillies to win the Delaware Oaks and then the Delaware Handicap the following year, Parlo also won the Alabama Stakes, and Beldame, Firenze, and Top Flight handicaps. She retired with eight wins, six seconds, and three thirds from 34 starts, with earnings of $309,240.

Delp, who won a record 11 training titles at Delaware Park, is best known as the trainer of the 1979 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner champion Spectacular Bid. Delaware Park’s leading trainer seven consecutive years from 1963-69, the Maryland-native won six Delaware Park stakes, including the Dover, Blue Hen and Sussex. Delp was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2002. 

Nelson rode for some of the most prominent stables in North America, including Christiana Stables, Brookmeade Stable, and Calumet Farm during a career that spanned four decades. In 1972, the native of Glenrose, Okla., won the Preakness Stakes aboard the Del Carroll-trained and William S. Farish III-owned Bee Bee Bee. Leading rider at Delaware Park in 1956 and ’58, Nelson won a total of 10 Delaware Park stakes, including the Delaware Handicap in 1958 aboard Endine, the Delaware Oaks in 1972 aboard Light Hearted, and the Blue Hen Stakes in 1961 aboard Cicada. On June 20, 1958, he rode six winners on a single Delaware Park card, a record which has been equaled six times since, but has never been broken. He retired from riding in 1973.

Walter Jeffords Sr. was a successful investment banker and owner and breeder who in partnership with his wife Sarah’s uncle, Samuel D. Riddle, purchased and operated Faraway Farm in Kentucky, where Man o’ War stood at stud. The Jeffordses won a total of 17 stakes at Delaware Park including two Delaware Handicaps and two Delaware Oaks. Kiss Me Kate, the 1951 3-year-old filly champion, won the Delaware Oaks and the following year won the Delaware Handicap. They also won the 1950 Delaware Handicap with Adile and the 1965 Delaware Oaks with Juanita. In 1944, they won the Christiana Stakes at Delaware Park with eventual 2-year-old champion male Pavot. They also campaigned the 1953 Horse of the Year and 3-year-old champion One Count, who won the Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Bayard Sharp, an original director of Delaware Park and a native of Wilmington, Del., had a career in racing spanning more than 60 years. Sharp established his 750-acre Sharp Farm in Middletown, Del., in 1941. Included among the 91 stakes winners he bred and owned in partnership with his wife, Mary, were Mississippi Mud, Dixieland Band, Papal Power, and Baron de Vaux.  During World War II, he flew U.S. Navy bombers and he was an adviser to presidents, congressmen. and governors.