Meet Concludes in Positive Fashion
The live racing season at Delaware Park concluded in positive fashion on Monday. Despite racing twenty-seven fewer days, facing a 10% reduction of video lottery revenue earmarked for purses by the state of Delaware, and enduring a challenging economy, Delaware Park finished the live racing season up in nearly every vital category.
The 109-day 2009 live racing season ended with an all sources handle (live on-track and live simulcasting-out) of $168,977,878. That figure represents a 1.9% increase over the 2008 live racing meet despite twenty-seven fewer days racing days in 2009. The average all sources handle per day was up 27.14% over last year. In 2009, the average all source handle per day was $1,550,256 compared with $1,219,364 in 2008. Although total racing revenue year over year was essentially unchanged, revenue per racing day was up 24.6%.
“We are delighted with the positive results of the 2009 season,” said Michael Vild, Senior Vice President of Racing and General Counsel of Delaware Park. “Our results this year demonstrate that racing fans in Delaware and all over the country are attracted to the product that we are putting on the track. I applaud John Mooney (Executive Director of Racing), Pat Pope (Racing Secretary) and their team for a job well done, I thank our horsemen for their dedication and support of our racing, and I am appreciative of the hard work and effort put forth by so many in the Delaware Park racing community. We expect to use this positive momentum to make Delaware Park racing even better and more exciting in 2010.”
The success of the 2009 meet is largely attributable to the increased number of starters per race and an increased number of races per day. The average number of starters per race was 7.73 compared with 6.94 last year –an increase of 11.29%. The average number of races per day was 9.74 compared with 8.96 in 2008 reflecting an increase of 8.79%
Major highlights from the season included Mark Stanley’s Swift Temper winning the Grade II Delaware Handicap and then capturing the Grade I Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park. Donver Stable’s Careless Jewel posted a triumph in the Grade II Delaware Oaks before notching victories in the Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade II Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park. In his first full season at Delaware Park, jockey David Cohen secured his first riding title by recording 152 wins. He bested second place jockey Rosie Napravnik who recorded 108 wins during the meet. Cody Autrey won the leading trainer championship by recording 58 victories. Autrey dethroned seven time defending champion Scott Lake who had 55 winners and fell short of breaking the record for most consecutive leading trainer titles. Lake is tied with Grover “Buddy” Delp, who won seven straight leading trainer titles from 1963 through 1969. Porter Racing Stable, owned by John and Carol Porter, won the leading owner title by notching 18 victories.