Skip to main content

Newark Life

Flying Without Wings

Oct 08, 2021 11:53AM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Photos by Moonloop Photography
Text by Richard L. Gaw

It is not known whether William duPont, Jr. the designer of 23 racing courses who designed and built Delaware Park Racetrack in partnership with Donald P. Ross in 1937, ever articulated his love of horses.

It really is of very little matter really, because for the millions of spectators like DuPont who have had the pleasure to witness a thoroughbred in full stride on a racetrack, the feeling is one of awe and reverence and humble acknowledgement.

Tight around the bend and coddled and cajoled by a jockey, a thoroughbred is a breathing machine of grace and power and courage and an eagerness to understand and utterly absent of ego and words. Samuel Riddle, the owner of Man O’War – regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of all time -- used to say that thoroughbreds have an even greater gift than speed. He called it heart.

“Thoroughbreds do not cry,” he said.

For the past 84 years, those who have flocked to the Delaware Park Racetrack have witnessed the same quiet majesty of racehorses from the grandstand and the rails, and in recent years, they have seen some of the best thoroughbreds to ever grace the oval. Near Triple Crown winner Afleet Alex and Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro made their racing debuts there, and the track is home to many horses who go on to win major circuits at top racetracks in New York, Florida and Kentucky.

On any given day, the Delaware Park complex is alive with the energy of its casino, the White Clay Creek Country Club, its many high-quality restaurants and lounges and its simulcasts of horse racing at tracks around the country. For those who have been to the Delaware Park Racetrack, however, they are the live witnesses to the churning miracle mesh of acceleration and preparedness, rounding the home stretch and appearing to those most in love with the motion of thoroughbreds as if they are about to take flight without wings.

Live racing at the Delaware Park Racetrack continues through Oct. 30. To learn more about the Delaware Park Racetrack and see its 2021 racing calendar, visit

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Newark Life's free newsletter to catch every headline