Del Mar Fairgrounds

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Del Mar Fairgrounds logo
Aerial view of the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack looking northwest along the Pacific Ocean coastline

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is a 370-acre (1.5 km2) property that is the site of the annual San Diego County Fair (called the Del Mar Fair from 1984 to 2001). Its Del Mar racetrack was built by the Thoroughbred Club in 1937 by founding members Bing Crosby and Pat O'Brien with Paramount Studios as corporate sponsor.

The fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and is managed by 22nd District Agricultural Association, a state agency that hosts more than 300 annual events.[1] Its staff organizes four major annual events, including the annual San Diego County Fair, and runs Surfside Race Place, the year-round satellite horse racing facility. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club leases the facilities for their live meets each year.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club all share just one address for the entire complex 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar CA 92014.


The length of the race track is exactly 1 mile (1.609 km), and races are run counter-clockwise. A 100-mile AAA championship (Indianapolis-type car) race was held at Del Mar in November 1949, but the death of popular local driver Rex Mays in that event caused "big car" racing to disappear from Southern California circuits for another 18 years. (In addition, the horse racing community was deeply resentful of oil-dripping cars being run on the horse-oriented dirt racing surface.)

There was a temporary auto racing circuit held in its parking lot during the mid-1960s and between 1987 and 1992. The latter hosted an IMSA Camel GT race. Both circuits were 1.6-mile (2.6 km) long with layouts that were different from each other.[2][3]

The Del Mar racetrack runs live racing July through early September and beginning 2014 a second live meet runs in November.[4][5] The other months of the year the satellite wagering facility is operating.


Del Mar Arena is a 3,500-seat arena in the fairgrounds complex, used for sporting events, concerts and other special events. It was built in 1991. In 2009 it was remodeled and a roof was added.

It was the home of the San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team from 2009-2012. The Del Mar National Horse Show is hosted here[6]

Exhibit facilities[edit]

Del Mar Fairgrounds features six exhibit halls totalling 219,380 square feet (20,381 m2) of space. The largest is Pat O'Brien Hall with 68,680 square feet (6,381 m2) of space and seating up to 6,800; its ceiling height is 35 feet (11 m). Others include the 55,200-square-foot (5,130 m2) Exhibit Hall seating up to 5,500; Bing Crosby Hall with 31,900 square feet (2,960 m2) of space and capacity of up to 3,500; The 45-foot (14 m) Wyland Center with 30,800 square feet (2,860 m2) of space and capacity of up to 3,000; the 19,800-square-foot (1,840 m2) Activity Center holding up to 2,200; and Mission Tower with 13,000 square feet (1,200 m2) of space and capacity of up to 1,200.

Satellite wagering[edit]

Picture of Surfside Race Place
Inside view of one of the rooms at Surfside Raceplace satellite wagering facility and sports bar of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Surfside Race Place, one of the nation's largest and most prestigious sports bars and off-track betting facility (90,000 sq ft) is located in the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It is open Wednesday through Sunday (closed Mondays & Tuesdays) during the day, and Friday through Sunday during the day and at night. The off track betting facility is open during the off season of the Del Mar Racetrack live meets, and offers day and night racing with over 1000 televisions and live wagering of major racetracks.

It has been used for handicapping contests [7][8] as well as handicapping seminars. The 2014 Handicapper of the year Jose Arias qualified and won here. His check at the end was $750,000.[9] [10][11][12][13]

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, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Hastings, Hawthorne, Kentucky Downs, Laurel, Los Alamitos, Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Oaklawn, 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.,[14]

Surfside Race Place currently offers Bingo on Sundays.[15]

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, 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.

Del Mar Golf Center[edit]

The Del Mar Fairgrounds also includes the Del Mar Golf Center. The Golf Center includes two 18 hole miniature golf courses, a driving range, The Golf Mart golf store and also private lessons, clinics as well as classes. [16]

During Peak Demand i.e. The Live Races and the San Diego Fair the Driving Range is used as additional parking.

Del Mar Horse Park[edit]

Del Mar horse park is a 65-acre horse facility located 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The park offers:

  • Two grass jumping stadiums with seating for 1,320
  • Covered and lighted arena
  • Four show rings
  • 400 permanent show stalls
  • Dressage ring
  • Four training rings

During the San Diego Fair the Del Mar Horse Park offers free parking for the fairgrounds patrons with free shuttle service to the fairgrounds.[17]


There are over 300 events that take place on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Some of the most well known include.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°58′34″N 117°15′43″W / 32.97611°N 117.26194°W / 32.97611; -117.26194