Delaware Park shows small handle gain

by | Oct 24, 2017 | Breaking, Business, DE Business, Delaware

It Tiz Well

It Tiz Well prevailed in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks. Photo by Jesse Caris.

From a Delaware Park release

The 80th live racing season at Delaware Park concluded with a slight increase in total handle (on-track live and simulcast-out) on Saturday, October 21st.

Total handle for the 81-day meet was $95,768,895 as compared to $93,952,394 from the 81-day meet last year, an increase of 1.9 percent. That rise came although average starters per race decreased to 7.14 from 7.23 last year, a decline of 1.2 percent.

“While we were pleased with results of the 2017 meet, we are also well aware of the challenges before us,” said Senior Vice President of Racing/Finance Kevin DeLucia. “The reality of conflicting dates from other racetracks and the competitive casino environment in the region present difficult obstacles to overcome. Despite those challenges, we have continued to offer exciting racing in this very competitive market. Having an agreement in place with the horsemen for next year will allow us to focus on continuing the tradition of competitive racing at Delaware Park.”

In her final career victory, the sensational filly Songbird won the Grade I Delaware Handicap with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith aboard on July 15th. Locally-owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro posted a one length victory in the filly and mare summer classic. The Kentucky-bred was conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Songbird was retired from racing after her next outing.

“Through the decades, some of the greatest fillies in the sport have won the Delaware Handicap and Songbird is right up there with the best of them,” said John Mooney, the Executive Director of Racing. “We could not have been happier for her owner Rick Porter, who is from Delaware. Now his silks will join the other great ones in the Delaware Handicap room. It is disappointing she was forced to retire prematurely, but we are just thankful to have had the opportunity to see her run in the Delaware Handicap. Also, we could not be happier for Vince Campanella and Keith Nations running second with locally-based Martini Glass. It was a very special Delaware Handicap in many different ways.”

Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Elate and Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ It Tiz Well both won stakes at Delaware Park before running one-two in the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on August 19th.

Elate, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro trained by William Mott, won her first career stake victory in the $50,000 Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park on June 15th. The Kentucky-bred followed with a second in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, a win in the Grade I Alabama Stakes and a win in the Grade I Beldame Invitational.

It Tiz Well, a daughter of Arch trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, won the Grade III Delaware Oaks on July 8th. The Kentucky-bred followed with a second in the Grade I Alabama Stakes and a win in the Grade I Cotillion Stakes.

“The old slogan from decades ago was ‘with a filly or mare, go to Delaware,’ and it is as true today as any other time in the history of this racetrack,” Mooney said. “We are particularly proud of the tradition of showcasing the ladies of our sport, and we are very proud of both Elate and It Tiz Well. They both should be solid contenders in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and we wish them the best of luck.”

Scott Spieth edged three-time defending champion Carol Cedeno by three victories in the race for leading jockey by recording 56 wins. The race for leading trainer finished in a dead heat between a pair of Delaware Park legends. Four-time defending champion Jamie Ness (2012, 2013, 2015, & 2016) and former seven-time leader Scott Lake (2002 through 2008) each finished the meet with 22 victories. Jagger Inc. won the leading owner title for the second consecutive season by recording 12 wins.