DTHA Owners Day puts focus on Delaware Certified program

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 8, 2018

They say it pays to have a Delaware Certified racehorse, and that proved to be the case Sept. 29 at Delaware Park.

As part of its annual Owners Day celebration, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association hosted a luncheon and entertainment in the track’s picnic grove and focused on the Delaware Certified Thoroughbred Program, which provides purse bonuses and stakes based on a residency requirement. The DCTP was created in 2002 to enhance racing and agriculture in the state.

The fourth race—an allowance/optional claiming event with an inflated purse of $54,000—on Owners Day provided a perfect example of the benefits of the program.

On Sept. 1 at Delaware, trainer Mike Pino claimed Jeezum Jim, a Delaware Certified gelding, for $20,000 on behalf of Nick Sanna Stables and entered him for a $20,000 tag in the allowance/optional claiming event. Jeezum Jim won and, not only did his connections collect the $32,400 winner’s share of the purse, they earned another $16,200 bonus from the DCTP.

Under the 25%-25% split for the owner and certifier, each received $8,100. So Nick Sanna Racing had a quick $20,000 return on investment after the claim.

There were four $100,000 Delaware Certified stakes on the Saturday card, and one year after his brother, Gary, won two of them, trainer Dale Capuano won a pair. Steven Newby’s Come Sundown, a Maryland-bred gelding by Great Notion, captured the First State Dash for 2-year-old colts and geldings at 5 1/2 furlongs; and Rickman Racing’s Winplaceorshoworno, a Maryland-bred 4-year-old colt by Dance With Ravens, won the New Castle Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

Winplaceorshowono last year, under trainer Ron Alfano, won two DCTP awards and collected Certified bonuses totaling $27,480.

Another Maryland-based runner, Hillwood Stable’s Shimmering Aspen, won the $100,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff for fillies and mares at six furlongs for trainer Rodney Jenkins. The final Certified stakes, the Small Wonder for 2-year-old fillies, went to California-bred Start the Show, who is owned by Blackstone Street Racing and trained by Michael Catalano Jr.

Shimmering Aspen, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly, is one of the DCTP’s open stakes winners of 2017.

The DTHA throughout the program recognized the late Bob Camac, a leading trainer in the Mid-Atlantic region for many years; George Rosenberger, who is honored with a memorial stakes in his name each year at Delaware Park; and the late Bernard Daney, a Thoroughbred owner and breeder who served as Chairman of the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission from 1993-2011.

The DCTP is supported financially by the DTHA and Delaware Park on a 50-50 basis each year. The program gets $1 million a year to fund stakes and bonuses for overnight races at the track throughout its meet.

(Delaware Park photo by Tom LaMarra)