9 things to know – including a drone light show – about Delaware Park’s big racing weekend

by Admin
9 things to know - including a drone light show - about Delaware Park's big racing weekend

Horses, trainers and jockeys from around the country are making their way to Stanton for the biggest weekend of Delaware Park’s live thoroughbred racing meet.

Most of the track’s most prestigious races are packed into two days, highlighted by the Grade III, $300,000 Delaware Oaks on Saturday and the Grade II, $500,000 Delaware Handicap on Sunday.

Here are nine things to know about the races – and other Fourth of July week entertainment planned at the track.

1. Delaware Park schedule

Post time for the first race each day is 12:30 p.m.

There are 10 races on Saturday’s card, with the featured Delaware Oaks – for 3-year-old fillies – set to go off as the ninth race at 4:30.

Idiomatic, with Florent Geroux, left, edges Classy Edition and Kendrick Carmouche at the wire to win the Delaware Handicap, Saturday, July 8, 2023, at Delaware Park.

Other big races on Saturday include the $150,000 Christiana Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf, the $125,000 Alapocas Run for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 6 furlongs and the $150,000 Kent Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Sunday’s card also has 10 races, with the track’s biggest event – the Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up – scheduled to start at 4:46.

Other big races on Sunday include the $175,000 Battery Park for 3-year-olds and up, the $125,000 Dashing Beauty for filly and mare sprinters going 6 furlongs and the Grade III, $250,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial for fillies and mares on the turf.

2. Free stuff at Delaware Park

On Saturday, Delaware Park racing koozies will be given away while supplies last.

On Sunday, Delaware Handicap Festival of Racing T-shirts will be given away while supplies last.

GIDDY UP Racing through history: The greatest jockeys to ever ride at Delaware Park

3. Free music at Delaware Park

On Saturday, Damn the Whiskey will perform in the Grove, located between the clubhouse turn and saddling ring, from 7 to 9 p.m.

A free, patriotic drone light show that was set for Saturday night has been postponed until July 20 due to flight restrictions in the area.

On Sunday, the Warren Montgomery band will perform in the Grove following the final race.

4. Prizes for fans at Delaware Park

Fans will have a chance to win several prizes on both days, including a $500 wagering voucher when making a racing bet on-track with a live mutuel clerk or at a self-service machine.

5. The Delaware Handicap favorite

The Delaware Handicap has eight entries, the most for the big race since nine started in 2019.

That may be because this year’s race didn’t attract any horses ranked among the nation’s Top 10 older dirt females by the Daily Racing Form.

Wet Paint, shown here training for last year’s Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, is the 3-2 morning-line favorite for Sunday’s Grade II, $500,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

Idiomatic, who is No. 1 on that list, won last year’s DelCap but is not returning to Stanton this year.

But Idiomatic’s trainer, Brad Cox, will try to win back-to-back DelCaps with Wet Paint, who has been installed as the 3-2 morning-line favorite by Delaware Park racing information coordinator Chris Sobocinski.

Wet Paint is 0-for-2 this year, finishing third in the Grade III Shawnee at Churchill Downs on June 1 and sixth in the Grade I Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 13.

But the 4-year-old racked up four graded-stakes victories last year, including the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks at famed Saratoga.

Wet Paint is at her best on an off-track – going 3-for-3 lifetime on muddy surfaces, although Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 91 with less than a 10 percent chance of rain.

6. The DelCap contenders

The 3-1 second choice on the morning line is Honor D Lady, trained by Florida-based Saffie Joseph Jr.

The 4-year-old has done her best work at Gulfstream Park, winning two Grade III races.

Experience over the track is often a positive in horse racing, and 5-1 third choice Morning Matcha has the edge over the top two in that area.

Morning Matcha walks in the paddock at Delaware Park before finishing third in the 2022 Delaware Oaks. The 5-year-old filly is the 5-1 third choice on the morning line for Sunday’s Delaware Handicap.

The 5-year-old has yet to win at Delaware Park, but finished third in the 2022 Delaware Oaks, second in the 2023 Obeah Stakes and third in last year’s DelCap.

Three others in the race have been in the Delaware Park winners’ circle multiple times.

Intrepid Dream (12-1) is 3-for-4 in Stanton, including maiden and allowance wins.

Saddle Up Jessie (8-1) has won two of her three local starts. And Malibu Beauty is a DelPark regular, with four wins, three seconds and two thirds in 12 local starts.

7. The Delaware Oaks favorite

Power Squeeze is the 3-2 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Delaware Oaks.

The daughter of Union Rags has been competing against the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies, finishing third in the Grade I Acorn Stakes on June 7 at Saratoga and sixth in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3 at Churchill Downs.

Power Squeeze broke her maiden last year at Delaware Park, the first of four straight victories capped by the Grade II Gulstream Park Oaks.

8. The Delaware Oaks contenders

Mystic Lake (3-1 morning line) and Sidamara (7-2) also bring some impressive credentials into the Oaks.

Mystic Lake, also trained by Joseph, has won four of nine lifetime starts and is coming off a victory in the Grade III Miss Preakness at Pimlico on May 17.

Sidamara is trained by William Mott, who has won a record-tying four Delaware Handicaps but is looking for his first victory in the Oaks. Sidamara has only three lifetime starts, but has won her last two.

If you like humorous names, Ringy Dingy is 8-1 on the morning line and has a Delaware Park win in the $100,000 White Clay Creek Stakes last October.

9. Dick Memorial a tough turf race

Gambling tip: When Graham Motion enters a horse in the Robert G. Dick Memorial, pay attention.

The Fair Hill, Maryland-based trainer has won the 13/8-mile test on the turf nine times, including last year with Sopran Basilea at 7-2 odds.

Fortune Pearl owner Zanim Meahjohn (left), trainer Graham Motion and jockey Trevor McCarthy pose after winning the 2014 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park. Motion has won DelPark’s Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes nine times, and will send out Vergara in this year’s race on Sunday.

This year, Motion will send out Vergara – who has four wins and 12 top-three finishes in 17 lifetime starts – for her first start at Delaware Park.

But the depth and quality of this field is daunting as Vergara – with more than $1.2 million in career earnings – is only the 6-1 fourth choice on the morning line.

The early favorite is the Mott-trained War Like Goddess (3-1), who has won nine graded stakes – including three Grade Is – and piled up more than $2.6 million in career earnings.

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on X (aka Twitter): @BradMyersTNJ

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware Park’s biggest weekend filled with stakes races, free fun

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