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Wilmington, Del., April 10, 2013 —Delaware Park is gearing up for the start of an action-packed 2013 live racing season with the announcement of its 15-race $2.35 million stakes schedule highlighted by the $750,000 Grade I Delaware Handicap.

The stakes schedule was finalized when Delaware Park and the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (DTHA) signed a multi-year agreement on Wednesday, April 10. The agreement provides for 81 days of live racing, subject to enactment of legislation by the Delaware General Assembly, which Delaware Park, the DTHA and the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission all support. Opening Day for live racing is set for Saturday, May 18, with Closing day on Monday, October 7th. Live racing will be held on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Daily first race post time is set for 1:15 p.m. Admission and general parking are free.

For the first time since 1989, the Delaware Handicap will be contested as a Grade I event on July 20. The American Graded Stakes Committee announced the upgrade in early December.

Last year, Royal Delta defeated Tiz Miz Sue with a thrilling stretch duel in the Delaware Handicap. Royal Delta, a 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker conditioned by William Mott, followed with a second in the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga and victories in the Grade I Beldame at Belmont and the Grade I Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita Park. For the second straight year, the Delaware Handicap produced the champion of the filly and mare division. In 2011, Havre de Grace finished second to her archrival Blind Luck in the filly and mare summer classic before being named Horse of the Year and the champion of the filly and mare division. The $100,000 Sweet & Sassy Stakes, a six-furlong event for fillies and mares, will be the supporting feature on the Del ‘Cap Day card.

The $300,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks, at a mile and a sixteenth, and the $200,000 Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial, a mile-and-three-eighths turf test for fillies and mares, are scheduled for July 13.

For the first time in the history of the track, both local prep races for the Delaware Handicap and the Delaware Oaks will be run on the same day as part of a Preview Day card. Both the $100,000 Grade III Obeah Stakes, the local prep for the Delaware Handicap, and the $75,000 Go For Wand Stakes, the local prep for the Delaware Oaks, are scheduled for June 15.

The Opening Day feature race will be the $50,000 Our Mims Overnight Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile.

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