DTRC report: Delaware purses increased second straight year

Posted Feb. 15, 2017

Purses at Delaware Park increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, according to an annual report issued by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission.

Thoroughbred purses totaled $17.105 million for 81 racing programs, up 6.7% from $16.033 for the same number of days in 2015. The 2016 daily average was $211,183 versus $197,942.

Last year’s purses total was up 21.3% from $14.102 million for 80 programs in 2014. The last time total purses increased year over year was 2010, according to DTRC statistics.

Purses for Arabian races also increased, from $528,000 in 2015 to $782,000 last year.

Purses at Delaware Park receive a share of revenue from video lottery terminals (9%), table games (4.5%) and sports betting (9.8%). Pari-mutuel handle on Delaware Park races, as reported earlier, was down about 10% in 2016, though import simulcast handle at the facility has remained fairly steady at $33 million to $34 million over the past four years.

As for equine drug testing, there were 1,787 total tests: 742 urine tests, 801 blood tests, nine “special” tests, 201 out-of-competition tests, and 34 “workout” tests. Out-of-competition testing accounted for 11.2% of total tests, one of if not the highest percentages in the United States.

The DTRC report notes that the total doesn’t include 380 pre-race tests for metabolic alkalosis levels.

DTRC Executive Director John Wayne, in comments in the report, noted the state’s commitment to uniform medication regulations and integrity programs.

“The commission was one of the first jurisdictions to adopt the (Multiple Medication Violation Penalty System) on those participants that continue to violate medication rules,” Wayne said. “Those enhanced penalties will ensure that violations will carry a stiffer penalty and hopefully accomplish the mission of eliminating those that cannot race their horses honestly.

“Of course those efforts to adopt those stringent policies also garnered the support of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Delaware Park.”

(Delaware Park photo by Tom LaMarra)