Day At The Track

Record numbers enter Delaney Memorial Weekend

06:43 AM 11 Aug 2016 NZST
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Jammed crowd for the 2015 Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend
Steven Wolf Photo
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Vincent Delaney and his daughter, Ryhanna, before his death in 2011
The Vincent Delaney Memorial Trophy
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DUBLIN, Ireland – A record number of 180 horses have entered the weekend race card for the Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend at Portmarnock Raceway just outside of Dublin.

“My brother James and I cannot believe how everyone wants to race this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, head of the Vincent Delaney Memorial Committee. “For the fourth straight year we keep growing and growing.”

A total of 188 horses have been entered for the Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14 two-day meet. That is up 11.12% over prior year.

The big race of the weekend is the 5th annual Ladbrokes Vincent Delaney Memorial (VDM) for two-year-old pacers. This is first year that there are both a colt and filly division with 14 youngsters entered in both events.

The VDM is a rugged event that requires horses to compete in elimination divisions on Saturday and then come back again Sunday to race in the finals. The inaugural filly division is being sponsored by Diamond Creek Farm of Kentucky, USA. Each of the finals race for a purse of $16,000 euros. 

Vincent Delaney was Derek and James younger brother who tragically died in 2011 at the age of 27. The brothers then developed the memorial race series in his honor and it has since grown to become the richest stakes event and weekend in the history of harness racing in Ireland the UK.

Additional major stakes events over the weekend include the Oakwood Stud Derby for three-year-olds at 1.5 miles, the Paul Murtagh, Sr. Memorial for four-year-olds, the RocknRoll Heaven/Pet Rock Irish-American FFA Pace, the Lee Edwards/PJI Engineering Junior FFA Pace and the Elvin-Delaney French FFA Trot.

There is a gala kickoff dinner Friday evening at the Airport Hilton Hotel that is already sold out and Sunday’s VIP Marquee Tent is also sold out with over 300 to attend.

Every year the VDM Committee selects a local charity to benefit from the VDM Weekend, especially at the Friday night gala dinner auctions. This year’s charity is the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) of Dublin.

The organization, which is comprised 100% of all volunteers, operates a seven-day outreach service across the city, coinciding with their mobile outreach unit. ICHH’s outreach support service operates nightly providing access to beds, sleeping bags, food or case management referrals. ICHH works a 16-hour mobile outreach service, responding to rough sleeper reports within 15 minutes of getting a call. The service also operates seven days a week.

The website is at http://www.innercityhelpinghomeless.ie/.

It is just grand how all of this has come together,” Derek Delaney said. “And this year we have so many great horsemen and women coming over for Vincent’s weekend. Dexter Dunn from New Zealand, Aaron Merriman from the USA are the special guest drivers, Diamond Creek Farms Adam Bowden, Joe Bellino and his entire crew, Roger Huston, Heather Vitale, Heather Wilder, Murray Brown, John McDermott, Alan Galloway, Sydney Weaver, Joann Looney-King, Susan Looney and a huge group from Australia on tour.

"What a great time we will show them all!” Delaney said. "Most everyone is arriving today and tomorrow and we are looking forward to meeting everyone."

The guests begin their VIP weekend with carriage ride tours of downtown Dublin plus lunch at the world famous Temple Bar, a bus trip to Oakwood Stud training and breeding facility, the gala kick-off dinner Friday and then the two big VDM race days Saturday and Sunday.

For more information, visit www.vincentdelaneymemorial.com.

By Steve Wolf, for the Vincent Delaney Memorial Weekend

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