Few tracks in the nation can match the ambiance of Delaware Park, which offers the first of 137 programs tomorrow afternoon.

The Stanton track, just off I-95, has been the launching pad for racing greats Afleet Alex and Barbaro in recent years, and Hard Spun, a Kentucky Derby hopeful this season, learned his early lessons there last autumn.

While high-profile jockeys and trainers have improved the quality of racing at Delaware Park in recent years, the track has been hampered by small fields with too many short-priced favorites, and limited fields will again be the rule this weekend.

Ramon Dominguez will seek his fifth straight riding title after winning 214 races and $5.4 million in purses during last season's meeting. He was followed by Jeremy Rose with 126 wins and Mario Pino with 122.

Scott Lake will try to become the leading trainer for the sixth straight year after saddling 107 winners last season.

Other major outfits to compete this season are those of Larry Jones, Steve Klesaris, Michael Matz, Tim Ritchey, Tony Dutrow, Michael Pino, Howard Wolfendale, Jonathan Sheppard and Graham Motion.

Racing will be conducted on a Saturday-through-Wednesday schedule with a first post time of 12:45 p.m.

Barbaro birthday party. There will be a birthday celebration for Barbaro on Sunday at Delaware Park, with festivities all day long. Barbaro owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson are expected to attend.

Contact Craig Donnelly at 215-854-2839 or cdonnelly@phillynews.com.