Racing Resumes at Delaware Park After Track Surface Reworked

Live racing resumed at Delaware Park Tuesday under the auspices of a new track superintendent, one day after concerns over track condition prompted the cancellation of Monday's card plus four races (three Thoroughbred and one Arabian) on Sunday's card.

Jockeys elected not to ride the remainder of Sunday's card because of the surface, which they said was deep, very loose, dry and hard.

On Monday, management cancelled live racing and issued a press release announcing that Bob Beaubien had been replaced by Ken Brown, an 18-year veteran of the Maryland Jockey Club.

The release said racing was cancelled Monday "in order to give Ken and his staff time to work on the track surface." The track plans to request four additional racing days in August from the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

"We are confident that Ken's proven track record in maintaining a quality racetrack surface will result in optimum track conditions and restore the confidence of our racing fans, horsemen, and jockeys," said chief operating officer Bill Fasy.

When training resumed Tuesday morning, it was obvious a lot of progress had been made.

"The track this morning was absolutely beautiful," said Bessie Gruwell, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "They had worked on it all day yesterday and I have heard nothing but good things about it, from jockeys to exercise riders."

Gruwell said that there were "inconsistencies" with the former surface that the DTHA had addressed with management, who worked quickly to solve the problem.

Jockey William Hollick, Jr., who rode on Sunday's abbreviated card, was aboard several horses Tuesday morning.

"It's still very deep," said Hollick. "The difference is on Sunday, the surface was very firm towards the rail, and got really deep on the outside. It was very dangerous, especially if your horse was racing in between the two areas. Today, they've still got some work to do to get the surface to the way we'd (the jockeys) like it, but we should be okay."

Earlier this year, concerns about the turf course were also made known to management, which delayed the start of turf racing until June 11. In years past, turf racing at Delaware had begun on Memorial Day weekend. Weed killer had been applied to the course last fall, resulting in damage to the grass. This spring, the damaged portions were re-seeded.