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 (which was called the Del Mar Fair from 1984 to 2001). In 1936, its Del Mar racetrack was built by the Thoroughbred Club with founding member Bing Crosby providing leadership.[1]

The Fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and is managed by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, a state agency that hosts more than 300 annual events.[2] 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.[3]


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


Del Mar Arena is a 3,500-seat arena in the fairgrounds complex; and it is 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 home of the San Diego Sockers indoor soccer team from 2009-2012. The Del Mar National Horse Show is hosted here.[4][5]

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, a ceiling height of 35 feet (11 m), and seating up to 6,800. 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 seating up to 3,500; the 45-foot (14 m) Wyland Center with 30,800 square feet (2,860 m2) of space and seating up to 3,000; the 19,800-square-foot (1,840 m2) Activity Center seating up to 2,200; and Mission Tower with 13,000 square feet (1,200 m2) of space and seating up to 1,200.

Del Mar Golf Center[edit]

The Del Mar Fairgrounds 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 offers private lessons, clinics, and classes.[6]

During peak demand periods, e.g. during the Live Races and the San Diego Fair, the driving range is used for additional parking.


The race track is exactly 1 mile (1.609 km) long, 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 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 the race track 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.[7][8]

The Del Mar racetrack runs live racing from July through early September and, beginning 2014, a second live meet is run in November.[9][10] A satellite wagering facility operates during the other months of the year.

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—at 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2), one of the nation's largest and most prestigious sports bars and off-track betting facilities—is located on the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It is open Wednesday through Sunday during the day, and Friday through Sunday at night as well. (It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.) The off-track betting facility is open during the off-season of the Del Mar Racetrack live meets and offers day-and-night televised racing, on over 1000 televisions, and live wagering on results at major racetracks.

It has been used for handicapping contests[11][12] 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.[13][14]

Patrons of the Surfside Race Place sports bar can view, and bet on, horse races televised via satellite from around the country, 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; high-stakes races such as the Dubai World Cup; and Grade 1 races such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes which constitute the Triple Crown.[15]

Surfside Race Place offers multiple food and drink options throughout the day. From 9 to 11 am free coffee is available to patrons who come in early. Following the free coffee, a carving stand is opened, with a daily special that changes each day, salads, soups, and sandwiches made with freshly carved ingredients. Across from the carving stand is a small food bar that serves a variety of food, as well as drinks, and allows patrons to order food from the exclusive Saddle Club, which is a sit-down restaurant located upstairs in Surfside Race Place, with its own special menu that also has a daily special that changes day-to-day.

Surfside Race Place currently offers Bingo on Sundays.[16]

Del Mar Horsepark[edit]

Del Mar Horsepark is a 65 acres (26 ha) equestrian facility located 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The park offers:[17]

  • 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 Horsepark offers free parking for the fairgrounds patrons with free shuttle service to the fairgrounds.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History: 1936 — A Permanent Home for the Fair". Del Mar Fairgrounds. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  2. ^ Horn, Jonathan (February 7, 2011). "Del Mar council approves preliminary fairgrounds governance model". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  3. ^ "About Us". Del Mar Fairgrounds. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  4. ^ Del Mar Horse Show[dead link]
  5. ^
  6. ^ Del Mar Golf Center[dead link]
  7. ^ Del Mar IMSA GTO footage (Video). YouTube. May 14, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2018.
  8. ^ Del Mar
  9. ^ Del Mar Racetrack
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Streiff Wins National Handicapping Tour". Blood-Horse. January 10, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Tuley, Dave (December 20, 2010). "National Handicapping Tour leader tries to maintain slim advantage over two rivals". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  13. ^ Zweig, Linda (January 31, 2014). "Surfside Race Place home to 2014 Handicapper of the Year!". Del Mar Fairgrounds (Press release). Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Dempsey, Michael (January 21, 2013). "Surfside Race Place Site for 2.75 Million Handicapping Contest". Bleacher Report. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Shown Race Tracks[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Del Mar: Charitable bingo games begin at fairgrounds". Del Mar Times. 2013-04-13. Archived from the original on March 29, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  17. ^ "Horsepark". Del Mar Fairgrounds. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Mar Fairgrounds Free Parking at Horsepark[dead link]

External links[edit]

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