Horse racing begins at Del Mar
By Bill Tamburrino
The Ramona Sentinel will be making several trips to Del Mar to report on the proceedings and, unfortunately, to make up some of the losses incurred during opening week.
Horse racing is experiencing hard times, but one wouldn’t know it by what has gone on at Del Mar so far this season. Opening Day last Wednesday brought in a record crowd of over 46,000 horse players and featured Ladies Hat Day. There was more material used in most of the hats than was used to make most of the skirts and dresses. However, there is no work stoppage and the horses try to win in every race — something this writer believes the NFL and many MLB teams should emulate.
Del Mar is major league in every sense of the word. The location is better than most major sports venues. The competition is top-notch. Some of the best trainers and jockeys are residents at Del Mar as are some of the top thoroughbred horses in the world.
Last year will forever be known as the year of Zenyatta. She put on a show before, during and after her victory in the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap to break the record for most consecutive Grade I wins and tie the record for 18 consecutive victories without a defeat.
The jockey colony is loaded with present and future Hall of Famers. Many of the jockeys are millionaires. Jockeys get paid what they are worth. They get a percentage of the purse. The horses have yet to go on strike. The owners have yet to lock out the horses or jockeys.
Del Mar is the least expensive major sports venue in San Diego. As a matter of fact, it is free on Wednesdays for everybody. The free admission includes a program, a seat and half-priced domestic drafts, sodas and hot dogs. Seniors are free on selected Thursdays. General admission with a program is $3 every day with a Diamond Club Card, which takes two minutes to get just before you enter the track. Twenty-five dollars can get you in and get you action in every race.
There are concerts every Friday and on Saturdays, July 30 and Aug. 6, and Sunday, Sept. 6.
Like other major sports, Del Mar is joining the fight against breast cancer. On Saturday, Sept. 3, those wearing pink will receive free Stretch Run Admission. Del Mar asked that supporters gather up loose change and place it in pink buckets in the Plaza de Mexico as a part of its “Make Change” campaign.
Bets start at 10 cents, and it would take an entire article to explain all of them. However, one does not have to wager to enjoy a day at Del Mar. The excitement of the horses rounding the turn and heading for home is as exciting as a home run or touchdown.
The horses and jockeys are world class athletes. Seabiscuit was Time Magazine Man of the Year and Secretariat was Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Later in the season the Sentinel will feature a Day at the Track with “Back Stretch Bob.” The Sentinel will follow “Back Stretch” from the morning workouts, into the jockey room and into the paddock and hopefully into the Winner’s Circle and to the pari-mutuel winners’ windows.
The meet is on and runs through Sept. 7. Del Mar is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays except Labor Day. Gates open at noon and the first post is 2 p.m. except for 4 p.m. starts on Fridays. Sunday, Aug. 28, has a 1 p.m. first post for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic/Sports Bag Giveaway, which is only one of several promotions and giveaways.
“There is a smile on every face and winner in each race where the surf meets the surf at Delmar.” —Bing Crosby
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