Thursday, July 23, 2009

Delaware Park Photos and Thoughts

As I mentioned in my last post, I visited Delaware Park last Sunday for the first time. I was very impressed with how the slots and the racing peacefully coexist and seem to thrive together. The modern-feeling grandstand nicely complemented the classic-looking paddock.

I was told that the building that houses the jockey's room is protected as some type of historical site. I was unable to corroborate this, but you can certainly feel the history in the area. Does anyone have any information on this?

A particularly charming area of the track is the bench on which the jockeys wait for their mounts to be saddled. Here are Justin Shepherd, Dusty Shepherd, Gabriel Saez, Ramon Dominguez and Osvaldo Vargas waiting.

Alan Garcia was the man on Sunday, emerging victorious in the Barbaro Stakes and the Del Cap.
He started celebrating a little early, but Garcia and Swift Temper took the big share of the $1,000,000 Delaware Handicap purse over Icon Project and Unbridled Belle. The photo is much better if you click on it.
This view of watching a race was new for me. You can go right up to the rail in the clubhouse turn to see the action. This is also where the playground and picnic area are. Due to the lengths of the races, there was more action there in the post parades than competition, but it was a great place to be if you have to balance enjoying your kids and enjoying the races.
I'm looking forward to a return to Delaware Park. I was impressed that the casino did not step on the toes of the track. It is a race track with a slots parlor underneath the grandstand. If you don't want to see it, you don't have to. Sports gambling is coming this Fall and I wonder how this will affect the dynamic.


Ernie said...

Great pics. Those jocks, famous and not, sitting on that bench. GREAT

I am going back to Delaware very soon. I wouldn't mind having an extra home down the street.

suebroux said...

Beautiful paddock (and great photo, too)! It certainly exhibits the charm of racing in a bygone era.

Michelle said...

I love the photos! You got some really great shots.

Riposte said...

(Posted earlier on another site, re-posted here)

Could not agree more with the suggestion that Delaware Park be selected as a BC site.

We visited the track for the first time on May 20th, 2009, & were knocked out cold by how friendly & hardworking the staff was; how spacious, professional, comfortable - & most importantly, CLEAN - the accommodations were; & the charm of the paddock area.

It rained all day & most of the fields were one scratch away from being match races.

Didn't matter.

And the Larry Jones Appreciation Day ceremonies were staged with a warmth & wealth of spirit almost never seen in racing.

(When was the last time Belmont or Monmouth Park knocked themselves out honoring a retiring trainer, while he was still on the premises? Was it Sunny Fitzsimmons?)

Major adjustments would have to be made, but since racing's alternatives are vanishing almost by the day at this point, make a necessity a virtue.

Since it is a big ticket item, the logical place to stay for a good many visitors would be the DuPont Hotel in Wilmington, about eight miles away. It has the regal splendor & the presence of a European castle & - we felt - very reasonable rates for what they provided.

Food? The Stone Balloon restaurant, close by Delaware Park in Newark DE, is the equal of anything offered up in Saratoga (and like Del Mar, which also doesn't solely cater to racing fans, the locals who just barely tolerate outsiders are nowhere to be seen).

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I was a jockey for years, but have been out of the business for a while. It was cool to hear some familiar names in your blogs. I'm writing a blog about the insane highs and lows of my journey in the sport of kings. I would love the input of race goers.


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