Powered by Midwest Thoroughbreds, the leading owner in North America in both starts and wins, Ness is the prohibitive favorite to take the trainer title, even though he has never been the leading trainer at Delaware Park before. Midwest Thoroughbreds has been the leading owner by wins at Delaware Park for the past two years.
“Going into the gate, we will give it the best shot we can,” said Ness, who finished second last year in the trainer standings at Delaware Park to two-time defending champ Juan Vazquez. “If it turns out we are the leading trainer, so be it. If it turns out that we are not, so be it. It is not like I am coming into this meet with the sole goal of being leading trainer. My approach has always been one race and one day at a time. At the end of the day, once the numbers are all tallied, then I will worry about whether or not I am the leading trainer.”
The 35-year-old native of Heron, South Dakota, has been the leading trainer at Tampa Bay Downs for the past six years, and after wintering in Florida, he is looking forward to racing back in Delaware.
“We like living in Delaware, and we like the long meet,” said Ness, who won his first career race with Blue Rocket at Canterbury Downs in 2000. “Plus, making two moves is better than three like we used to do. But the bottom line is our horses fit well into the Delaware Park program. We had a great season last year and we are optimistic we can carry that success over into 2012. Delaware Park is also very centrally located. I also have stalls at Penn National, Presque Isle and Laurel, so it is very centrally located with my other strings. It works well for us, and that is where we want to be.”
The 75th season of live racing at Delaware Park will feature 100 days, with the meet concluding on November 3. Live racing will be held on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Live racing will not be conducted on the first Thursday of the meet on May 17. A special Father’s Day live racing card will be held on Sunday, June 17. There will not be live racing the following Monday, June 18. Daily first race post time is set for 1:15 p.m. except on August 23 and 30 and September 6 and 13 for twilight racing when first race post time is set for 3:30 p.m. Admission and general parking are free.
Delaware Park’s premier races, the Delaware Oaks (Gr. II) and the Delaware Handicap (Gr. II), will be held on July 14 and July 21, respectively.