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About Delaware Park
Delaware Park is one of North America’s oldest race tracks and is located in Stanton, Del., approximately 30 miles from Philadelphia. The racetrack is situated alongside a casino, which houses over 2,500 slot machines. The owners have also built a golf course alongside the racetrack, which regularly holds competitive tournaments each year.
There are around 85 race-days each year, with meets typically taking place between April and November. As well as staging multiple thoroughbred meets throughout the year, the track also holds Arabian races from time to time. It is the only mid-Atlantic track to do so.
The main track consists of conventional dirt and can stage races up to a mile. The turf track, which is used more infrequently, holds races up to seven furlongs throughout the season.
Delaware has been holding regular race-days since 1937. It was designed by the architect Phillip T. Harris, who was hired by Donald P. Ross and William DuPont Jr. Originally, there was plenty of competition in the region; however, the venue is the only racetrack in the region that is still in operation.
The track was purchased in 1983 by William Rickman Sr., who owned a number of horses that had previously raced at the track. His tenure got off to a rocky start with accounts showing that DelawarePark was only making just enough money to remain open. He sought to turn its fortunes around and set the wheels in motion for slot machine legislation.
He remained in charge for over a decade, although he took a more hands-on role in 1993. He helped campaign for video lottery legislation around this time, which was subsequently passed. These important additions helped fund the racetrack and allowed increased purses to be offered on a weekly basis.
Purses continued to improve over the next couple of decades, with the 2005 season seeing significant rises which helped attract larger fields and a better caliber of horse. The average purse was just over $30,000 at this time. This ranked Delaware Park fifth in the average purse money rankings (USA only).
A number of world-famous thoroughbreds have begun their careers at the track, with Afleet Alex making its debut here. It went on to win the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes and came close to landing the TripleCrown with victories in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Barbaro, the 2006Kentucky Derby winner, was another horse who began its career at the track.
Many other horses are shipped to tracks such as Saratoga and Gulfstream from their Delaware Park base. As Delaware Park is a standalone track, it faces stiff competition from Parx, Laurel Park, Pimlico and Charles Town, many of which race simultaneously. Unfortunately, this led to a horse shortage in June 2019, which caused one meet to be canceled.
The track tends to attract a number of Florida-based thoroughbreds, who tend to race at Delaware Park during the summer months.
The Rickman family continues to fund the track, and they are always looking for innovative ways to move Delaware Park forward.
Delaware Park doesn’t have an obvious track bias, although it’s a venue in which sprinters are often able to win wire-to-wire. Taking a sample from opening four weeks of the 2019 meet, 25 percent of winners over the 5 1/2-furlong distance led from start to finish.Also, 20 percent of winners over six furlongs went wire-to-wire. Interestingly, over a mile or above, no winners managed this feat.
Wide closers do seem to have a slightly better record at Delaware Park, and they are often able to make up several yards in the straight. Coming from off-the-pace is the best way to win a route race at Delaware Park, although the statistics are only marginally in favor of this.
One additional note for handicappers is that horses who spend their winter at Tampa Bay are often fitter in the first few weeks. It’s always worth looking at thoroughbreds that have been shipped north in the opening month of racing at Delaware Park. They often have a slight edge on their competitors, particularly those who prefer to close.
Winning Post Positions
According to 2019 stats (up to Sept. 22), there was a fairly even spread of winners in sprint races on the main track. However, stall 1 produced less than 10 percent of winners (9.6%), and inside runners don’t appear to be benefitted by their post at Delaware Park.
Stalls 6 and 7 yielded the best return, with 18 and 18.6 percent of winners, respectively, coming from these positions. None of the 12 runners who have been drawn in stalls 10 or 11 have entered the winner’s enclosure in sprint events so far.
In route races, it was seemingly more profitable to be drawn on the inside. Eighteen percent of winners came from stall 2, while 15.2 percent of winners ran the rail. Stalls 4 and 5 also saw an even spread of winners throughout 2019. Only four of the 53 runners who began the race in stall 8 went on be victorious.
On the turf, stall 3 was the most lucrative position, with 21 percent of winners coming from this position so far in 2019. Seventeen percent of winners were drawn in stall 4, while many thoroughbreds prevailed from the wider draw. One of the seven runners drawn in stall 11 won at Delaware, while one of the 15 runners drawn next door in stall 10 also entered the winner’s enclosure.
Delaware Park hosts regular race days throughout the summer months with meets typically beginning at the start of May. The calendar may change from time-to-time, though it usually concludes at the beginning of October.
There are between 81 and 85 race days per year, with a fairly even spread throughout the week. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are the main race days, although the track will often hold an additional Thursday card during September.
There are a number of stakes races taking place at the track throughout the season:
● Delaware Handicap
● Delaware Oaks
● Barbaro Stakes
● Endine Stakes
● Kent Stakes
● Obeah Stakes
● Robert G Dick Memorial
Other notable listed races:
● The Stanton Stakes
● The Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes
● The Christiana Stakes
Delaware Park Address
777 Delaware Park Boulevard
Wilmington, DE 19804
Delaware Park Best Jockeys and Trainers
There are many horsemen who regularly send horses to Delaware Park, and many of them have a decent return over the last few years.
A horse’s performance and finishing position can be significantly affected by the quality of jockey on board, and some riders will be able to make the difference between winning and losing a race at Delaware Park.
|Jockey||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Alvarado Roberto E||211||22.27%||49.76%||49.76%|
|Trainer||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Lynch Cathal A||24||75.00%||75.00%||75.00%|
|Morris Kenton Charles||28||46.43%||46.43%||67.86%|
|Robb John J||85||45.88%||51.76%||51.76%|
|Smith Hamilton A||24||45.83%||45.83%||45.83%|
|Gonzalez Claudio A||39||38.46%||53.85%||76.92%|
|Cronk Samuel F||62||32.26%||40.32%||40.32%|