Del Mar racetrack
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club logo
|Location||Del Mar, California|
|Owned by||State of California|
|Operated by||Del Mar Thoroughbred Club|
|Date opened||July 3, 1937|
|Course type||Turf, Dirt|
|Notable races||Pacific Classic (G1)
Eddie Read Stakes (G1)
Del Mar Oaks (G1)
Bing Crosby Stakes (G1)
Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1)
Del Mar Debutante (G1)
Del Mar Futurity (G1)
Del Mar racetrack, which has a capacity of 44,000, is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 miles north of San Diego. Owned by the State of California and leased by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogans: "Where The Turf Meets The Surf" as well as "Cool as Ever." It was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, actors Pat O'Brien, Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy.
The Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Surfside Race Place all share just one address for the entire complex 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar CA 92014.
History and Information
When Del Mar opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was at the gate to personally greet the fans. On August 12, 1938, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted a $25,000 winner-take-all match race between Charles S. Howard's Seabiscuit and the Binglin Stable's colt, Ligaroti. In an era when horse racing ranked second in popularity with Americans to Major League Baseball, the match race was much written and talked about and was the first nationwide broadcast of a Thoroughbred race by NBC radio. In the race, Seabiscuit was ridden by jockey George Woolf and Ligaroti by Noel Richardson. In front of a record crowd that helped make the fledgling Del Mar race track a success, Seabiscuit won an exciting battle by a nose.
By 1940, Del Mar became a summer playground for many Hollywood stars. Between 1942 and 1944 the facility was closed due to the Second World War. Initially, the grounds were used for training by the United States Marine Corps, then as a manufacturing site for parts to B-17 bombers.
The first Bing Crosby Stakes was held at Del Mar in 1946 and that same year the Sante Fe Railroad began offering a racetrack special bringing spectators, bettors and horses to Del Mar from Los Angeles. Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s the track became the Saratoga of the West for summer racing. The track had large purses for many stakes, many of the stakes races were won by the legendary jockey, Bill Shoemaker.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Del Mar continued to offer high quality racing and continued to be one of the premier racetracks in the country. The track attempted to run a fall meet in the 1960s but later canceled it after getting lackluster results. This allowed for the creation of the Oak Tree Racing Association at Santa Anita race track.
Change marked the 1980s when the infield was opened to spectators and in 1984 Trevor Denman became the voice of Del Mar. The track still offered the best summer racing in the West and continued to grow in purses, handle and attendance.
In the 1990s the track underwent a major renovation. The grandstand of the Del Mar Fairgrounds was demolished and replaced. In 1991 the track ran its richest race to date, the $1,000,000 Grade I Pacific Classic Stakes. The first Classic was won by an impressive three-year-old named Best Pal.
Beginning in the year 2000, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club 's marketing team went through a major shift in their marketing direction. They realized they had to attract a more youthful audience as well as a female audience. They focused Del Mar as a fashionable destination, using social media and other avenues to market the racetrack. The majority of ads didn't show horses. They adopted the slogan "Cool as Ever" and created a new website to draw in the new crowd which is known as delmarscene.com. They also hired jockey and model Chantal Sutherland to be the new face of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club 
Their strategy worked as over 13 years later Del Mar has changed their demographics and audience attendance. The marketing campaign of the Del Mar Racetrack has become a Stanford business study to see if their strategy could be done at other racetracks.
In March 2013, there was a vote to expand the turf portion of the racetrack. Construction began later in the year and the work was completed in time for the 2014 racing season. The work included widening the course to 80 feet and softening the curve coming out of the diagonal chute, thus allowing more horses to compete in turf races.
Starting in 2014, Del Mar is expected to run more racing cards due to the closure of Hollywood Park Racetrack. A fall meet is planned, and Del Mar will host the Breeders' Cup for the first time in the fall of 2017.
The Del Mar racetrack runs live racing July through early September. A second live racing meet runs in November to mid-December starting in 2014. The other months of the year the satellite wagering facility is operating at the fairgrounds.
The Del Mar race track has a large multitude of events as the racetrack has become as source of entertainment and not just about horse racing.
These events include:
- Opening Day at Del Mar with their famous hat contest
- Friday Night Concerts which are free with paid admission before the last race, otherwise the concerts are $20 to attend. Prepaid tickets and promotional tickets become invalid for just the concerts. Prepaid tickets can be used on another day.
- Family Fun Day every Saturday and Sunday where the infield offers low cost entertainment for kids.
- Camp Del Mar A Daycare center for the kids while the parents are spending the day at the track.
- Giveaway Days The items vary each year what is being given away
Physical attributes of Race Track
The track has a one-mile oval with chutes for 7/8 and 1 1/4 mile races and a seven-eighths mile oval with a diagonal straightaway chute for 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 mile races on the turf course. The turf is a mixture of Common Bermuda and Hybrid Bermuda (GN-1). The track runs twice a year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and can stable more than two thousand horses. Del Mar is known for its tan stucco grandstand located directly on the Pacific Ocean.
In early 2007, Del Mar became the second track in Southern California to install a synthetic surface and the first to install a Polytrack brand surface  for a price of approximately $9 million. However, in February 2014 Del Mar president Joe Harper announced his intention to return to a dirt surface for the 2015 racing season. Harper cited a lack of synthetic surfaces in Southern California as the reason for the switch - Santa Anita Park had experimented with a synthetic surface but then reverted to dirt, while Hollywood Park, which had a synthetic surface, is now closed.
- Jon Lies (2007–present)
- Bob Ike (?–present)
- Mike Willman (?-2006 full-time, 2007–2009 part-time)
The track races from July to September as well as a second meet in November through early December as of 2014. The race track presents the following graded stakes races:
Grade 1 :
Grade 2 :
Grade 3 :
Ungraded stakes :
Discontinued stakes :
Surfside Race Place, one of the nation's largest and most prestigious off-track betting facilities is the 90,000 sq ft satellite wagering facility of the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Del Mar racetrack. It's located at the northeast corner of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
They are open Wednesday through Sunday (closed Mondays & Tuesdays) during the day, and Friday through Sunday during the day and at night. The satellite wagering facility offers live wagering on simulcasts horse races on over 1000 televisions during the off season of the Del Mar racetrack live racing known as live meet's.
Surfside Race Place has been used for handicapping contests  as well as handicapping seminars. The 2013 National Handicapping Tournament winners Brent Sumja played and won multiple tournaments at Surfside.  The 2014 Handicapper of the year Jose Arias qualified and won here. His check at the end was $750,000. 
The sports bar Surfside Race Place give horse racing fans excitement by broadcasting horse races via satellite from around the country. Race fans can view and bet by satellite on other racetracks such as Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Calder, Cal Expo Harness, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Ellis Park, Fair Grounds, Fairplex, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Hastings, Hawthorne, Kentucky Downs, Laurel, Los Alamitos, Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Oaklawn, Oak Tree, Pimlico, Remington, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga, Sunland Park, Turfway Park, Victoria Race Tracks, and Woodbine. As well as high stakes races such as the Dubai World Cup but also Grade 1 races known as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes which combined form the Triple Crown.,
Surfside Race Place has multiple food and drink options throughout the day. First thing every morning from 9am to 11 am they give away free coffee for patrons who come in early.
Following the free coffee, a carving stand opens up. This has a daily special which changes each day. They offer salads, soups and fresh carved sandwiches. Across from the Carving Stand is a small bar which serves a variety of food, as well as drinks and also allows patrons the ability to order food from the exclusive Saddle Club. The Saddle Club also has a daily special which changes day to day.
The Saddle Club has its own special menu which is a sit down restaurant located upstairs in Surfside Race Place.
Meanwhile later on in the week Friday through Sunday there is a bar that opens up late at night serving typical bar food and alcohol located in the theater of Surfside Race Place.
The Del Mar Diamond Club is a free membership shared between the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and the satellite wagering facility Surfside Race Place.
The Diamond Club gives half price admission to both venues. The racetrack offers free Wednesdays for Diamond Club members.
Members can choose to have their cards turned on for holding account balances like a credit card which can then be used on the wagering machines.
Diamond Club members can get a free parking pass to the Del Mar Fairgrounds with paid admission to Surfside Race Place and inquiring about it inside at the giftshop. The parking pass is good year round as long as Surfside is open. The only exception is during the live racing season the pass isn't valid for the fairgrounds.
Diamond Club Members who scan their card while wagering on California tracks can receive various perks depending on the amount wagered.
Premium Clubs of The Del Mar racetrack
The Turf Club
The Turf Club is the Premium Club of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. It currently costs $800 a year to join. To visit the club the fee currently is $60 per day and a member has to vouch for you. A buttoned up shirt and jacket are required attire for men.
The Saddle Club
The Saddle Club is the Premium Club of Surfside Race Place. It currently costs $900 a year to join. Anybody may visit for $10 per day. There is no required dress code.
The two clubs have no relation to one another. Membership in one doesn't grant access to the other one.
- Cool As Ever Campaign
- Del Mar Times
- Chantal Sutherland face of Del Mar
- / Del Mar Racetrack marketing
- / Del Mar Race track marketing
- / Del Mar Racetrack Stanford Study
- /, Opening Day
- /, Opening Day
- Del Mar Racetrack expansion
- Williams, Gene (2013-08-16). "A Wider, Better Turf Course Is Coming Soon To Del Mar" (Press release). Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
- LaMarra, Tom (May 9, 2013). "Hollywood Park to Close in December". bloodhorse.com. The BloodHorse. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- Del Mar racetrack considers additional months
- Del Mar Racetrack
- Mar Race track entertainment
- 2012 Del Mar Media cGuide
- Anderson, Steve (February 18, 2014). "Del Mar plans to install dirt track for 2015". drf.com. Daily Racing Form. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- SurfSide RacePlace Times
- Horse Racing Handicapping
- Horse Racing Handicapping
- Brent Sumja
- / 2014 Handicapper of Year
- Jeff Munson Handicapping Seminar
- Bob Ike Handicapping Seminar
- Surfside Race Place Site for 2.75 Million Handicapping Contest
- Diamond Club
- Holtzclaw, Kenneth M. Del Mar Racetrack (2006) Arcadia Publishing ISBN 978-0-7385-3146-5
- Del Mar Media Guide