Delaware Park to race 85 days in ’23

Dates for the 2023 live racing season at Delaware Park were approved by the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission January 17.

The 86th live racing season will feature 85 days of racing beginning on Wednesday, May 24 and concluding on Saturday, October 28.  Live racing will be conducted on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the exception of the following Fridays: May 26, July 28, August 4,11, 18, 25; and October 27.

The $500,000, Grade 2 Delaware Handicap on July 8 highlights the stake schedule worth $2.25 million.  All graded and listed stake races will be run Lasix-free in 2023.  For the first time in the history of the filly and mare summer classic, the 86th renewal will be contested at the distance of a mile and three-sixteenths.  The race has been run at the traditional mile-and-a-quarter distance every year since 1951 with the exception of 2020, when the race was run at a mile and an eighth because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to 1951, the race was run at a mile and a sixteenth.

“It has become increasingly more difficult to consistently attract the top contenders in the filly and mare division with the race at a mile-and-a-quarter, but we also want to be respectful of the distance aspect of the tradition as much as possible,” said Director of Racing Jerome “Jed” Doro.  “We are hoping a sixteenth of a mile less will encourage more of the top contenders in the division to come while still keeping the race attractive to those who want a little more ground.”

The $150,000 Battery Park and the $100,000 Dashing Beauty will also be run as part of the Delaware Handicap card.

The $300,000 Grade III Delaware Oaks will be run on Saturday, July 1 with the $250,000 Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial and the $100,000 Alapocas Stakes.

The 31st Owners Day Showcase showcasing the best of the best in Delaware racing is slated for Saturday, September 9.  The day will feature the $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial, the $100,000 DTHA Governors Day, which are both restricted to horses who have started at Delaware Park in 2023 (stakes races excluded); the Robert W. Camac Memorial and the Rich Glazier Turf Classic.

The $100,000 Small Wonder and the $100,000 First State, restricted to Delaware-bred or certified 2-year-olds, will be run on Wednesday, September 27 and the $100,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff and the $100,000 New Castle, restricted to Delaware-bred or certified older horses, will be run on Thursday, September 28.