Ten Things You Should Know: Kent Stakes
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Kent Stakes is a race restricted to 3-year-olds run at Delaware Park near Wilmington, Delaware.
2) The race is named for one of the three counties in Delaware. Delaware Park also runs races named for Sussex and New Castle Counties. This has been a tradition since the track opened.
3) The Kent Stakes was run for the first time in 1937; the race disappeared from the racing calendar in the 1980s when Delaware Park struggled financially and closed temporarily. The race was revived in 1996 and has been part of the September stakes schedule in Delaware ever since.
4) The race earned Grade 3 status in 2007. It had been graded in the 1970s but lost its grading during its hiatus in the 1980s.
5) It has been run at 1 1/8 miles on turf since its revival in 1996. From 1937 to 1968, the race was run on dirt at 1 1/16 miles. It moved to the turf and shortened to one mile in 1969.
6) The race was not run in 1943 when all racing ceased in the United States as a result of the Second World War.
7) The first Kent Stakes (then known as the Kent Handicap) was the feature race on the first ever day of racing at Delaware Park on June 25th, 1937.
8) War Admiral was scheduled to run in the first Kent Stakes as a favor from his owner Samuel Riddle to the owners of Delaware Park. But a few weeks before the Kent, War Admiral was injured during his victorious run in the Belmont Stakes and did not race again until later in the year. Hope remained that he would run in the Kent until he was officially withdrawn a few days before the race.
9) In 1998, the winner’s share of the Kent exceeded $100,000. By 2007, when Nobiz Like Showbiz won it, the winner’s share was over $300,000 with a total purse of a half million dollars. In 2010, the total purse was reduced to $250,000. The purse is currently set at $200,000.