Fewer total races lead to a decline in total handle for the 82nd season of live racing which concluded on Saturday, October 5th.
Total handle for the 81-day meet was $104,200,290, a decrease of 7% compared to the $112, 041,056 from last year's 81-day meet. There were a total of 661 races compared to total of 715 races in 2018 representing a decrease of 54 races or 7.6%. In 2019, the average handle per race was $157,640 with average starters per race of 6.56 and in 2018, the average handle per race was $156,701 with average starters per race of 6.65.
“We had a tough season filling races for many reasons, including a Strangles positive that negatively impacted our featured Delaware Oaks and Delaware Handicap race days.” said Kevin DeLucia, Senior Vice President of Racing/Finance. “The reality of overlapping racetrack dates and lack of coordination of stakes races in the Mid-Atlantic region have always presented us with difficult obstacles. Despite these challenges, we were encouraged that the average handle per race increased slightly and we are looking forward to the 2020 season.”
The brilliant filly Elate won her second consecutive Delaware Handicap with Jose Ortiz aboard on July 13th. Owned by Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro posted a 4 1/2-length victory in the filly and mare summer classic. The Kentucky-bred is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
“Once again, the Delaware Handicap was a pivotal race in the filly and mare division as both Elate and Blue Prize have emerged as top contenders in the division,” said John Mooney, executive director of racing. “Elate, the Del Cap winner, followed with two solid seconds against the best in the division in Grade I races and Blue Prize, third in the Del Cap, has had two impressive victories the latest being the Grade I Spinster. We are very much looking forward to seeing both of these outstanding mares running in the Breeders' Cup.”
Carol Cedeno returned to the top of the jockey standings by notching 77 victories. The 28-year-old native of Puerto Rico was the leading rider at Delaware Park from 2014 through 2016 and 2018. She finished second in 2017. Jamie Ness recorded his seventh leading trainer championship by saddling 44 winners. The 42-year-old native of Heron, South Dakota, was leading trainer in 2012 and 2013 and from 2015 through 2018. Joseph Besecker won the leading owner title by recording 22 wins.
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