10/24/2017 1:58PM

Delaware Park sees increased wagering for 2017


Delaware Park wagering increased 1.9 percent this year from 2016, with the meet handling a total of $95.77 million, up from $93.95 million a year ago. Both meets consisted of 81 live dates.

"While we were pleased with results of the 2017 meet, we are also well aware of the challenges before us," said Kevin DeLucia, senior vice president of racing/finance. "The reality of conflicting dates from other racetracks and the competitive casino environment in the region present difficult obstacles to overcome."

The 2016 meet was down 10.3 percent in handle from 2015, which also had an 81-day season. In 2013, Delaware handled more than $115 million during 81 days.

Field size at this year's meet declined 1.2 percent, from 7.23 horses per race to 7.14.

The highlight of the meet was Songbird's hard-fought victory for Delaware native Rick Porter and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap. Two other Breeders' Cup-bound horses also raced at Delaware this season.

It Tiz Well and Elate are both being pointed to the BC Distaff. It Tiz Well won the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks in July and has since finished second to Elate in the Grade 1 Alabama and won the Grade 1 Cotillion. She is owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and trained by Hollendorfer.

Elate, who is trained by Bill Mott, won the $50,000 Light Hearted, the local prep for the Delaware Oaks in June. She bypassed the Oaks and went to the Coaching Club American Oaks, where she was beaten a head by Abel Tasman.

Elate has since won the Alabama by 5 1/2 lengths and defeated older rivals by 8 1/4 lengths in the Grade 1 Beldame. She races for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.

"The old slogan from decades ago was, 'With a filly or mare, go to Delaware,' and it is as true today as any other time in the history of this racetrack," said John Mooney, Delaware's executive director of racing.

Jockey Scott Spieth won the overall jockey title with 56 wins, three more than Carol Cedeno, who has been the leading rider at Delaware the past three years. Jomar Torres finished third with 45 wins.

Delaware Park closes out many of its cards with an Arabian race, which counts in the rider standings. Spieth also topped the Thoroughbred standings with 51 wins, six more than Torres and eight more than Cedeno.

Scott Lake and Jamie Ness tied atop a well-bunched trainers' list with 22 wins each. Anthony Pecoraro and Jerenesto Torrez tied for third with 21. All of Torrez's wins came in Arabian races.

Larry Jones was fifth with 20 wins, and Michael Gorham was sixth with 18.