DELAWARE PARK SOLD
Delaware Park, which recently completed its 84th season of live Thoroughbred racing, has been sold, according to a press release and a report from the Delaware News Journal. The company had been owned by the Rickman family for 38 years.
The purchase, expected to be completed by the end of the year, is for the casino and racetrack business. The Rickmans will retain ownership of the adjacent White Clay Creek Country Club.
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The buyer is Clairvest Group, an investment firm, and a newly formed subsidiary of Rubico Gaming LLC, a Louisiana-based company run by “experienced gaming investor Thomas Benninger.” Rubico recently also completed the purchase of Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.
Bill Rickman, Sr., a Maryland real estate developer, purchased Delaware Park in 1983, when the racetrack was on the brink of extinction. He brought racing back to the venue, and things took a turn for the better in 1996 when legislation permitting slot machines at the track passed.
Rickman, Sr. passed day-to-day control to his son, Bill Rickman, Jr. in 1993 and passed away in 2005. Five years ago the Rickmans sold Ocean Downs, a harness track and casino they owned near Ocean City, MD. And with Bill Rickman, Jr. now in his 70s, the family decided to sell Delaware Park.
In recent years Delaware Park has hosted approximately 80 days of live Thoroughbred racing. Its signature days include the running of the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap and Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, as well as its annual Owners Day celebration. The business also includes a casino and sports book.
The Clairvest press release did not specify any operational changes, and Delaware Park president Bill Fasy told the News Journal that he was not aware of any such immediate changes.