DTHA, Delaware Park agree on one-year contract extension

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Aug. 30, 2017

The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Delaware Park have agreed upon a one-year contract extension that ensures 81 days of racing for 2018.

It’s the second consecutive year horsemen and track management have extended an earlier three-year deal (2013-15) on racing dates and other matters. The latest extension was announced Aug. 30.

“The Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is glad to extend the current contract and offer stability to our horsemen,” DTHA President D. Scott Peck said. “This gives us the assurance needed to plan ahead, knowing that we will be racing 81 days again in 2018, and the stable area will open for training March 1 and be closing Dec. 31, 2018.”

DTHA Executive Director Bessie Gruwell noted the stable area will remain open until the end of December this year, which means it will be closed for only two months—January and February—before it reopens in 2018.

“We have worked hard to provide exciting racing in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic region by attracting quality horsemen to Delaware,” said Kevin DeLucia, Senior Vice President of Racing and Finance at Delaware Park. “Having the stability and certainty moving into next season will help us continue the positive momentum we have established over the last few years.”

The agreement provides the framework for the 2018 racing season. Discussions about specific racing dates, purses and the stakes schedule will be held later. The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission usually approves schedules in January each year.

Gruwell said the contract was extended last year for 2017 in part because the organization prefers not to have contract negotiations during an election year for the board of directors.

“We’re just happy to have the contract extended for next year so people know what’s going on and can plan accordingly,” Gruwell said.

The first year for an 81-day meet at Delaware Park was 2013. According to DTRC statistics, total Thoroughbred purses of $17.1 million—the track also offers Arabian racing—in 2016 were up about $1 million from 2015 and about $3 million from 2014. Aside from pari-mutuel revenue, purses are funded by proceeds from video lottery terminals, table games and limited sports betting.

(Delaware Park photo by Tom LaMarra)