Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 3:58pm
DelPark opens 75th year with new surface
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|VIDEO: Mooney on surface changes|
There will be a subtle, but important, change to the racing as Delaware Park opens its 75th year of racing in Stanton Saturday.
Both the main racing track and training track surfaces were reconstructed during the winter following damage from August's Hurricane Irene which cost the track both racing days, and also important parts of the mixture to its surface.
The major difference is an increase of silt from 7% of the mixture to 14%. 78-percent of the blend is sand, with the remaining 8% being clay. The base is compacted limestone. Also the track surface is significantly thicker than in the past.
Executive Director of Racing John Mooney says "we feel we've come up with a very good surface that is going to be very favorable for horses, and has a tremendous amount of resiliency."
One of the questions that will have to be answered when live racing begins on May 12 is whether the deeper surface will work to slow the races, but Mooney is okay with that as long as its "as safe a surface as possible for both the rider and the horse." Mooney also says the changes will allow for better drainage between the turf and dirt courses.
Another change coming to the track's 100-day meet is the days of racing. The competition days will be Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday this season. The Thursday dates are new this season, and the track will also try special 3:30 twi-light cards on Thursday, August 23 & 30 along with September 6 & 13.
The $2.825 Million Stakes Schedule largely remains unchanged, with the two main Grade II attractions, ,The Delaware Handicap on July 21 and the Delaware Oaks on July 14, once again being the highlights. 2011's DelCap featuring Horse-of-the-Year Havre De Grace and Blind Luck was voted by the Daily Racing Form as its Race of the Year. Other Grade III stakes on the schedule are June 16th Obeah, the local prep to the DelCap, the Robert G. Dick Stakes on turf during Delaware Oaks Day, and the Kent Stakes for 3-Year-Old turfers in September.
Standard post-time for racing at Delaware Park is 1:15, with the first 5,000 fans entering on Saturday receiving a 75th anniversary print.
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