Horses returned to Delaware Park March 1 as the first outfits arrived to begin training for the track’s 2016 meeting..

Training currently is restricted to the five-eighths mile training track, Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association president Michael Gorham said, while the Delaware Park crews work to ready the main track.  Gorham said that he expected horses to be able to use the main track within two to three weeks.

Under the terms of an agreement between horsemen and the track, Delaware Park will host 81 days of live racing this year, which is the track’s 79th.  The meet will begin Saturday, May 21 — Preakness day — and extend through October 15, with live racing taking place four days per week during June, July, August, and most of September and three days per week the rest of the time.

The meet’s highlight, the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap, will take place July 16.

“I’m looking forward to the meet,” said Gorham, who added that he’d shipped in his first group of horses yesterday.  “We’re hoping for a good live racing season this year at Delaware Park.