07/10/2014 12:23PM

Track, horsemen agree to extend dates deal to 2016


Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have signed a dates extension that will ensure 81 days of racing for the 2016 season. The two parties already had an agreement in place guaranteeing that number of dates for next year.

“The stability and certainty this extension provides will help us attract additional horsemen to Delaware and will make a racing circuit in the mid-Atlantic more viable,” said John Mooney, the track’s executive director of racing.

Although purses are not part of the agreement, Mooney said he hopes business enables Delaware Park to keep purses at their current level, which is approximately $180,000 per day for overnight purses. Stakes purses are not reflected in that total.

Delaware has reduced racing dates in recent years from 141 days a year in 2003 to 81 in 2013.

“The purse account dictates race days,” Mooney said. “The majority contribution to our purse account comes from our casino business. We have had added competition from other states adding gaming in recent years and from the present economy.”

Michael Gorham, president of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said in a release, “It is important for our horsemen to know we have a contract in place, the stable area will be open, and we will race 81 days.”