Delaware Park announces 2024 live racing schedule

The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission (DTRC) approved the 2024 Delaware Park live racing dates February 20.

The 87th live racing season will feature 75 days beginning on Wednesday, May 15 and concluding on Saturday, October 12.

“We want to carry the positive momentum established last year into this upcoming season,” said Chief Financial Officer Kevin DeLucia. “The horsemen, commission and management have continued working together to ensure competitive, fair and safe racing. We have also been aggressively expanding our wagering menu and finding the right niches to make our signal attractive on the national landscape. It will be challenging to keep moving the needle in a positive direction in the highly competitive Mid-Atlantic market, but our team is eager for the opportunity.”     

Total live racing handle increased 7.0%, to $152.3 million for the 85-day meet in 2023 from $142.3 million for the 87-day meet in 2022. The daily average handle increased 9.6%, to $1.8 million in 2023 from $1.6 million in 2022. Average starters per race nearly remained the same.   In 2023, average starters per race was 6.82 compared to 6.83 in 2022.

Live racing will be conducted on a Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday weekly format for most of the 2024 meet. Nine Friday cards will be added to the schedule on the following dates: June 7, June 14, August 2, August 9, September 13, September 20, September 27, October 4, and October 11.

Live racing is not scheduled on Thursday, July 11.  Daily first race post time is set for 12:30 p.m. 

For the first time since 2009, the Delaware Handicap will be run on a Sunday. As a part of a festival weekend of racing featuring multiple stakes, the $500,000, Grade 2 filly and mare classic will be run on a special Sunday, July 7 card. The $300,000, Grade 3 Delaware Oaks will be run Saturday, July 6.

The supporting features on the Delaware Handicap Day card will be the $250,000, Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial, the $175,000 Battery Park, and the $125,000 Dashing Beauty. The Oaks Day undercard will be supported by the $150,000 Kent, the $150,000 Christiana, and the $125,000 Alapocas Run. 

Last year, Juddmonte’s brilliant filly Idiomatic, trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, won the Delaware Handicap. This win was part of a campaign that concluded with a victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park before being crowned the Older Dirt Female Champion of 2023.

“We caught a star rising in a division, which at the time, was looking for a leader,” said Director of Racing Jerome “Jed” Doro. “Some years timing and divisional variables benefit a race and other years, they can work against a race. Last year, they worked in our favor. The constant is the tradition of the Delaware Handicap and Idiomatic is another proud addition in a race rich in history.”

The 32nd Owners’ Day, showcasing the best of the best in Delaware racing, is slated for Saturday, September 14. The day will feature the $100,000 George Rosenberger Memorial Starter Allowance, the $100,000 DTHA Governor’s Day Starter Allowance, which are both restricted to horses who have started at Delaware Park in 2024 (stakes races excluded), the Robert W. Camac Memorial overnight and the Rich Glazier Turf Classic overnight.

Delaware’s stakes schedule kicks off June 5 with the six-furlong, $100,000 Rehoboth Stakes for fillies and mares. It concludes October 9 with the $125,000 Rocky Run for two-year-olds and $125,000 White Clay Creek for two-year-old fillies.