01/28/2010 12:00AM

Delaware Cap cut helps restore stakes

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Delaware Park has managed to slightly increase the number of stakes it will offer this season by redistributing some significant chunks of money from two of its major races, most notably the Delaware Handicap.

In releasing its 2010 stakes schedule on Thursday, the track announced that its signature event, the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, which had been worth $1 million since 2005, will have its purse reduced to $750,000. The Barbaro Stakes for 3-year-olds, which lost its Grade 3 status for 2010, had its purse reduced $50,000 to $100,000.

The savings will be used to restore a pair of $125,000 stakes last run in 2008 - the Sweet and Sassy Stakes for filly and mare sprinters, and the Brandywine Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile route for 3-year-olds and up.

The $100,000 Sussex Stakes, a turf route last held in 2007, and the $75,000 Go for Wand, a local prep for the Delaware Oaks, were also restored to the schedule.

Gone are the Susan's Girl, a $125,000 race for 3-year-old fillies, and the Light Hearted, a $75,000 race for fillies and mares that was part of the Del Cap undercard.

Overall, Delaware will offer 22 stakes worth $3.1 million. Last year, the track ran 20 stakes worth the same $3.1 million.

Overnight purse distribution is projected to remain at the 2009 level of $2000,000 a day.

In addition to the Del Cap, which will be run on July 17 this year, the track's graded races are the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks on July 10, and four Grade 3 events - the Obeah on June 12, the Robert Dick on July 17, the Endine on Sept. 11, and the Kent on Sept. 25.

The 116-day season opens on May 1 and runs through Nov. 6. Live racing will be held on Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Thursday live racing will be added from July 15 through Aug. 26.