02/01/2017 9:00AM

Delaware Park stakes schedule mirrors last year's


Delaware Park has scheduled the same 11 stakes as a year ago for its 81-day season in 2017. The stakes will be worth a combined $2.05 million.

The Grade 1, $750,000 Delaware Handicap will be run for the 80th time July 15. The 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares was won last year by Delaware-based I'm a Chatterbox, who also won the local prep, the $100,000 Obeah Stakes. I'm a Chatterbox went on to win the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland later in the season.

"It is always exciting when hometown connections win the premier race of the meet, but it is especially exciting when it is done by a world-class filly," said John Mooney, the executive director of racing at Delaware Park.

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The Delaware Handicap undercard will include the Grade 3, $200,000 Kent, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, and two $50,000 overnight stakes, the Carl Hanford and the Hockessin.

The Grade 3, $300,000 Delaware Oaks will precede the Del Cap by a week. The 1 1/16-mile Oaks will share a card with the Grade 3, $200,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial, a 1 3/8-mile grass race for fillies and mares. Two $50,000 overnight stakes are also planned for that day, the Cape Henlopen and the Dashing Beauty.

The third major day of the meet is Owners' Day on Sept. 30. The program will offer six stakes worth a total of $500,000. Four of the stakes are for Delaware-bred or -certified runners. The George Rosenberger and DTHA Governor's Day are for runners who have made a previous non-stakes start at the meet.

The Rosenberger and Governor's Cup will each offer up to $50,000 in bonuses to horses who are Delaware-certified.

The purses of the Tax Free Shopping Distaff and New Castle, which are restricted to Delaware-bred or -certified runners, have had their purses increased from $75,000 to $100,000.

The Delaware meet will open a little later this year and extend deeper into October. The dates are June 3 through Oct. 21.