Delaware, Horsemen Have Deal in Nick of Time

Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association signed a one-year contract May 2 after months of contentious negotiations.

The two parties announced the deal May 7, just days before the 2012 Delaware Park meet begins May 12. The track, which will celebrate its 75th year of live racing, had released its condition book and stakes schedule before the contract was signed.

“With the agreement in place, we can now focus all of our energy on the season,” said Michael Vild, senior vice president and general counsel of Delaware Park. “We look forward to working with the Delaware THA so this meet will be exciting and memorable for everybody involved in Delaware racing.”

“Of course our horsemen are relieved to have a contract in place to eliminate the uncertainty of purse levels and race days,” Delaware THA president Madeline Locke said. “We look forward to working together with Delaware Park on marketing racing. Thoroughbred horse racing makes a significant contribution to the local economy, and we are working hard to ensure that it continues.”

Details of the one-year contract weren’t released, but sources said the horsemen’s group made some financial concessions. Delaware Park offers casino gambling and limited sports betting but has seen its profits decrease because of competition from casinos in neighboring states.

The 100-day meet will run through Nov. 3, with racing Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. There will be one Sunday of live racing on June 17. First post time is set for 1:15 p.m. EDT each day.

On four Thursdays—Aug. 23 and 30 and Sept. 6 and 13—the track will experiment with “twilight” racing. First post will be 3:30 p.m.

The Delaware Oaks and Delaware Handicap, both grade II events, will be held July 14 and July 21, respectively.

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