Delaware Park plans to begin race meet June 17

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: May 16, 2020

Pending approval by Gov. John Carney and the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, Delaware Park will open June 17 for a shortened 65-day meet, the racetrack announced May 16.

The meet was scheduled to begin May 27, but the starting date has been pushed back due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. The stable area opened as scheduled in March, and about 250 horses are on the grounds.

Delaware Park indicated whether patrons are permitted on track or not depends on a decision by the governor. The new racing schedule reflects a reduction of 20 days of racing and a closing date of Oct. 17 rather than Oct. 31.

The Delaware Park casino, which has been shuttered since mid-March, generates a substantial amount of purse money for the racing operation. Track officials suggested a three-month casino shutdown would equate to 20%-25% less purse money this year.

Live racing will be conducted three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with Thursdays added July 16 through Oct. 1. First race post time is set for 1:15 p.m.

The Grade II Delaware Handicap is still scheduled for July 11 and the Grade III Delaware Oaks for July 4.

Delaware Park said live racing will be conducted with enhanced safety protocols compiled from recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control, state health officials, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Protocols include the following:

  • Temperature checks and health-screening questionnaires at the facility and stable area
  • Strict social distancing requirements
  • Required use of personal protective equipment such as facial coverings and gloves
  • Frequent disinfecting of all areas with Environmental Protection Agency-registered and CDC-approved cleaning solutions effective against the COVID-19 virus

Trainers must contact the racing office before shipping to Delaware Park. Stall applications are available at www.delawarepark.com.