What's new at Delaware Park this season is a giant infield video screen, a VIP room for high-rollers where you can wager and order lunch from the comfort of your seat, and walls of TV screens to follow action from across the country.
What's old are the hundred-foot-high oak trees that make the track's paddock one of the nicest anywhere and the feeling of tradition throughout the plant.
What's getting old is the chronic problem of small and often noncompetitive fields that limit true wagering opportunities and can make a player start searching his simulcast program for more lucrative options.
The Stanton track offers the first of 137 cards this afternoon, with a first post of 12:45 p.m. on a Saturday-through-Wednesday basis.
July 14-15 will be the dates for the signature events of the meeting - the running of the $1 million Delaware Handicap (Grade II) for fillies and mares at 11/4 miles, and the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (Grade II) for 3-year-old fillies.
The Barbaro Stakes (Grade III), $300,000 at 1 1/16 miles, replaces the Leonard Richards Stakes and will be run on Del 'Cap day, July 15.
For those who prefer alternative forms of gambling, the track has 3,000 slots on two levels, which have helped fuel purses in the last decade.
Monthly handicapping contests with cash prizes will now include paid entry, airfare and lodging at the $1 million Coast Casino Horseplayers' World Series at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas in January.
Today's feature is the $75,000 Sweet N Sassy Stakes.
The meeting will conclude Nov. 4.
Atlantic City meet. Following the first of four live programs contested on Wednesday and Thursday, the Mays Landing, N.J., track attendance averaged about 3,500, with the on-track handle averaging about $170,000.
Those figures may appear small, but in these days of phone and online wagering, tracks such as Philadelphia Park and Delaware often fall below the $100,000 mark in daily on-track betting.
Atlantic City Race Course, which is expected to be renovated after next year's meet, will race again next Wednesday and Thursday with the $50,000 Tony Gatto Dream Big Stakes on closing day. The five-furlong test (all of the races are on the turf) is headed by grass star Max West, returning from a winter vacation.
Workout coverage. Live coverage of Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls can be seen live from 6:30 to 10 a.m. today and tomorrow at www.keeneland.com.
Todd Pletcher will send out Illinois Derby winner Cowtown Cat along with Oaks contenders Octave and Cotton Blossom this morning. Circular Quay, Scat Daddy, Any Given Saturday and Oaks favorite Rags to Riches can be followed tomorrow.
Tony Black returns. The leading jockey in the history of Philadelphia Park will make his comeback on Tuesday, the first anniversary of his 5,000th career victory.
Tony Black, 55, has been idle since a spill Nov. 4 that resulted in three broken vertebrae and two fractured ribs.
The Cherry Hill native said he was eyeing retirement in the not-too-distant future.
Servis milestone. John Servis, who guided Smarty Jones to within a length of a Triple Crown in 2004, is just two winners shy of the 1,000 plateau in training victories. Servis saddled Three Tiaras to win the final race at Philadelphia Park on Tuesday for Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission chairman Bernard J. Daney.