Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014 Website: www.dmtc.com
Meeting: Like Saratoga, Del Mar hosts a boutique meet in the summer months that runs from mid-July to early September and is highlighted by the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at 1 ¼ miles for older horses. The southern California track rivals Saratoga in nearly every way, including a loaded stakes schedule that features several other Grade 1’s: the Bing Crosby, the Clement L. Hirsch, the Del Mar Debutante, the Del Mar Futurity and Del Mar Oaks. Upon the closure of Hollywood Park in 2014, dates were added to Del Mar’s calendar, including a fall meet that took on some of Hollywood’s marquee races — the Hollywood Turf Cup, the Hollywood Derby, and the Matriarch, which are all Grade 1 events.
History: One of the crown jewels of American horse racing, Del Mar was founded by stockbroker and former college football coach William A. Quigley and entertainer Bing Crosby, who created the Del Mar Turf Club on May 6, 1936. Crosby was on hand to greet guests when the track opened in 1937, and Quigley stayed on as general manager of the track until his death in 1942. On August 12, 1938, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted a $25,000 (about $454K today) winner-take-all match race between the great Seabiscuit and the Argentinean champion Ligaroti. In an era when horse racing was among the most popular sports in the world, the race was the first to be broadcast nationwide by NBC radio. Due to its incomparable setting directly on the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, CA (thus its tagline, ‘Where the turf meets the surf’), Del Mar is considered to be among the most beautiful racetracks in the country. In 2017, it hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time ever.
Facilities: Del Mar’s tan stucco grandstand located right on the Pacific Ocean is one of its most recognizable features. The track is a one-mile dirt oval with a seven-furlong turf course. The elegant racetrack has a few exclusive clubs, including The Turf Club, which you must be a member to visit, and on the same property is the Surfside Race Palace, one of the nation’s largest sports bars and off-track betting facilities. The dining options are plentiful at the track, with several restaurants to choose from and many concession stands.