Ten Things You Should Know: Delaware Handicap
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Delaware Handicap is a Grade 1 race open to fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. It is run at a distance of 1 1/4 miles and is sometimes referred to as the “Del Cap.” It was upgraded from Grade 2 to Grade 1 in 2013.
2) The race is held at Delaware Park in Stanton, Delaware, which is located about ten miles from Wilmington, the largest city in the state.
3) The race was run for the first time in 1937 — the inaugural year of the track — as the New Castle Handicap. It has run under its current name since 1955.
4) In 1953, it became the first-ever $100,000 race for fillies and mares, making it the richest race in the world for female racers.
5) In 1955, Delaware Park started the Distaff Big Three, a series of three stakes races for fillies and mares, run on successive Saturdays that culminated with the Delaware Handicap. The series disappeared without a winner less than ten years after it began.
6) Three of the two-time winners of the Delaware Handicap — Endine, Obeah, and Susan’s Girl — have stakes races named in their honor at Delaware Park.
7) Susan’s Girl is the only two-time winner who did it in non-consecutive years (1973 and 1975) — the same two years she was named Handicap Mare of the Year.
8) Obeah — two-time winner in 1969 and 1970 — was owned by the Delaware-based Christiana Stables. Obeah’s most famous daughter — Go For Wand — was a Christiana home-bred and raced under the stable’s colors.
9) Hall of Fame trainer Henry Clark won four editions of the race (the most of any trainer) with two horses (Endine and Obeah) for one owner (Christiana).
10) In 2011, Blind Luck beat Havre de Grace just as she did in the previous year’s Delaware Oaks. In spite of the loss, Havre de Grace would win that year’s Eclipse for Horse of the Year, the only ‘Del Cap’ runner to win that award.