The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission Jan. 17 approved 85 days of live racing at Delaware Park from May 24-Oct. 28, 2023.
As was the case in 2022, live racing will be offered on a Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule. There will not be racing on the following Fridays: May 26; July 28; Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Oct. 27.
The $500,000 Grade II Delaware Handicap on July 8 highlights a $2.25 million stakes schedule. According to a release, all graded and listed stakes will be run Lasix-free in 2023.
The 86th Del Cap for fillies and mares will be run for the first time at 1 3/16 miles. The race has been run at the traditional 1 1/4 miles every year since 1951 with the exception of 2020, when it was 1 1/8 miles. Prior to 1951, the race was run at a 1 1/16 miles.
“It has become increasingly more difficult to consistently attract the top contenders in the filly and mare division with the race at a mile and a quarter, but we also want to be respectful of the distance aspect of the tradition as much as possible,” Delaware Park Director of Racing Jerome “Jed” Doro said. “We are hoping a sixteenth of a mile less will encourage more of the top contenders in the division to come while still keeping the race attractive to those who want a little more ground.”
Owners Day, featuring two stakes restricted to horses that have started at the meet, will be held Sept. 9. Four Delaware-Certified Stakes will be run in late September.