Commission Gives Delaware Park 106 Race Dates

Delaware Park was awarded 106 racing days for 2011.

In the absence of an agreement between horsemen and Delaware Park on racing dates, the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission Feb. 9 awarded the track 106 racing days for 2011.

DTRC executive director John Wayne said Feb. 10 the two parties were “apart by only a couple of days,” but after two hours of testimony, racing commissioners weighed both sides and voted unanimously on 106 days of racing. Wayne described the exchange as “cordial but lively.”

Delaware Park management and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have been negotiating for months. Delaware Park last year raced 113 days, up from 109 in 2009; in previous years the track raced 136 days.

Wayne earlier said the racing commission wants to regulate horse racing, not racetrack business. He did say, however, the DTRC has statutory authority to set dates, was “prepared to do so Feb. 9.”

Delaware Park last year increased its all-sources handle 7.2% from 2009, an accomplishment given ongoing economic problems and an overall drop in pari-mutuel handle nationwide. Wayne credited management and the Delaware THA for helping bring about the positive numbers in 2010.

Delaware Park will open April 30 and race through Nov. 5. Racing will be held four days a week beginning May 7 on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays with first post time at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

The Delaware Oaks (gr. II) will be held July 9, and the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) July 16.