Delaware Park turf course dedicated to John Mooney

The seven-furlong turf course was dedicated to John E. Mooney, the former Executive Director of Racing, at Delaware Park today.  The dedication ceremony took place after the eighth race as part of the special twelve race Owners Day card.  The long-time racing executive officially retired on August 1, 2022.

“This is such a great day and we are so happy to have this opportunity to say thank you to John for everything he has done for Delaware Park,” said Kevin DeLucia, the Chief Financial Officer at Delaware Park.  “He has given so much of himself to this sport and this track, so we are honored to dedicate the turf course to him and his family.”

Mooney had been involved in racing in the Mid-Atlantic region for nearly 40 years.  Shortly after Delaware Park was purchased and reopened by William Rickman, Sr., in 1984, Mooney was named General Manager. 

Mooney was instrumental in keeping Delaware Park competitive in the 1980s and early 1990s with his innovative approach to the sport which included the introduction of the very successful Twin Trifecta. 

In the summer of 1993, he left Delaware Park to take a similar post with the Maryland Jockey Club and later headed up the drive to establish racing in Virginia as head of Maryland/Virginia Racing, which was the group that organized the opening and operation of Colonial Downs. 

Mooney returned to Delaware Park as the Executive Director of Racing the spring of 2008 at the request of William Rickman, Jr., where he remained.

John Mooney
Delaware Park today dedicated its turf course to longtime racing executive John Mooney (left-center, holding paper and wearing brown blazer and tie). Photo courtesy of Delaware Park.

Mooney was born into the sport.  His grandfather, J.D. Mooney won the 1924 Kentucky Derby aboard Black Gold and trained the 1962 Canadian Horse of the Year Crafty Lace.  His father, John J. Mooney was a prominent horse racing executive who served at many racetracks including the Ontario Jockey Club where he played an instrumental role in the development of the “new” Woodbine Racecourse in 1956.

As a young man, John E. Mooney worked on the backstretch while attending school and then worked in several Racing Office capacities before getting into the racing services area of the industry working for United Totalizator and he later purchased Jones Precision Photo before assuming race track management positions.

Additionally, during the day, Delaware Park Casino & Racing, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (DTHA) the Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Fund and the Delaware Park Jockeys Association teamed up to donate $20,000 to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). 

Over the course of the live racing season each jockey donates a dollar from each mount fee and Delaware Park Casino & Racing, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the Delaware Jockeys Health and Welfare Benefit Fund each match the dollar.

Live racing is conducted on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The 88-day meet is scheduled to conclude on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, November 5.