Last year, the 38-year-old native of Schuyler, Nebraska, posted his best Delaware Park season by finishing third in the standings with a record of 31 winners from 142 starters with earnings of $885,962. In 2010, he posted a record of 12 wins from 88 starters.
“This year, I sent a few more horses to Canterbury and few more to Arlington,” said Robertson. “Delaware has a pretty long meet, so that could change depending on how things work out. We still expect to win our fair share of the races at Delaware. But right now, at the beginning of the meet, I sent a few less to Delaware. I think last year, I sent 50 horses to Delaware, and this year it is going to be around 45.”
There are approximately 1,300 miles between Delaware Park in Stanton, Delaware, and Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, but the distance between divisions, with Arlington Park in the middle, does not bother Robertson.
“Right now it just makes sense for me,” Robertson said. “I have been based at Canterbury for 15 years and my dad is at Arlington in Chicago, so I do not do much there. He has trained for 42 years and won 1,200 races. Whatever, I tell him, he is not going to do anyways. From Minneapolis to Philadelphia is a two-and-a-half-hour flight, and the gates in Minneapolis are about 20 minutes from the track and gates in Philadelphia are about 30 minutes from the track, so it is not really all that bad. As long as you fly back and forth, it works out. I really like all three tracks, and each track offers something unique for my stable. Also I like having my operations in different locations, because I can keep all of my options open for the future.”
Robertson noted a pair of horses to watch at Delaware Park. They are Jer-Mar Stable’s Win Willy and Barry and Joni Butzow’s Bryan’s Jewel.
“I think Bryan’s Jewel really likes Delaware Park,” he said. “This year, we went to Oaklawn, and she did not run well. Last year, we went to Oaklawn, and she did not run any good. It just seems like she really thrives at Delaware Park, and I hope to run her in stakes at Delaware. Win Willy is another. He is rounding into form after having about a year off. He ran better in the Oaklawn Handicap, which was a paceless race. He always trains well at Delaware, and I am hoping to get to run him in something there or something in the region. Good old horses like him can run with anybody when they are right.”
Bryan’s Jewel has a career record of four wins, a second and three thirds from 12 starts, with earnings of $134,073. At Delaware Park, the 4-year-old daughter of Rockport Harbor has a record of three wins, a second and three thirds from eight starts. In her most recent, the Kentucky-bred finished fifth in the $75,000 Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park on January 21.
Win Willy has career record of seven wins, four seconds and two thirds from 20 starts, with earnings of $827,127. In 2010, the 6-year-old son of Monarchos ran second in an overnight stake and followed with a victory in the $125,000 Brandywine Stakes. Last year, the Kentucky-bred won the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap. In his most recent, he finished seventh, beaten nearly 8-lengths in the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap on April 14.
Robertson is also optimistic he will get positive results from his 2-year-old crop.
“My 2-year-olds were real real slow last year, so I would think I have a least a few this year with a little speed,” he said. “Everything I had was slow, so I am optimistic this new crop will make up for the slow one last year.”
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 when first race post time is set for 3:30 p.m. for twilight racing. 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.