Del Mar horse racing
Jul 2018

Racing At Del Mar

by Jen Perkins in Features category

For horseracing fans, summer means one thing – it’s time for Del Mar! The San Diego area track is a summer staple for locals and fans across the country.

Whether you are a casual fan or a serious horseplayer, find out why Del Mar is a must for horse racing betting.

Where the Turf Meets the Surf

We recently named Del Mar Race Course the top racetrack for the summer. Based in the coastal town of Del Mar, California — just north of San Diego — the track sits just off the beach and is truly where the turf meets the surf.

From the grandstand you can catch a glimpse of the ocean, but if you are home watching and wagering on the races through TVG, Xpressbet or Twinspires, you can get your beach fix by just turning on the Del Mar live video feed before the races start. The track is so close to the coast that they have a beach cam, and you can enjoy a live feed of the beautiful Del Mar beach.

The quiet seaside town of Del Mar comes alive each year — as it has since 1937 — with celebrities, Thoroughbred owners and trainers, and fans all converging for racing, beaches, shopping and food during the boutique summer meet.

Cool as Ever

Del Mar is as a cool now as it was back in 1937. The track is impeccably maintained, and it feels like stepping back in time to when Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy first opened the track.

Bing Crosby may not be onsite to personally greet fans as he did when the track first opened, but the track features his song, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf”, every day at the track. Not many tracks or other sports venues have their own song, but as Bing Crosby reminds everyone:

Where the turf meets the surf
Down at old Del Mar
Take a plane
Take a train
Take a car.
There is a smile on every face
And a winner in each race
Where the turf meets the surf
At Del Mar.

Today, the track is owned by the state of California, and the track is part of the Del Mar County Fairgrounds. Renovations over the years have made improvements to the grandstand, turf course and dirt track.

Celebrity sightings are just as common now as they were when the original Hollywood set first opened the doors. The early days of the track were a playground for actors and actresses, and for decades the track continued to cater to that crowd.

Betting at Del Mar

It’s not just about the beach, parties and Del Mar-garitas; Del Mar provides some serious opportunities to make money on horse racing.

Del Mar offers an impressive wagering menu. In addition to the usual win/place/show, exactas, trifectas and superfectas in each race, there are many options for multi-race bets.

Rolling daily doubles and rolling Pick 3s are offered at Del Mar in every race, allowing horseplayers the chance to pick winners in two or three consecutive races.

There is also a Place Pick All wager, in which you pick a horse in each race to finish first OR second, for the entire card! A small wager can get you started for all-day excitement on the races.

Each card features two Pick 4s, in which you pick the winners of four consecutive races. Every day, you can also play in two Pick 5s if you think you can pick the winners of five consecutive races. It is easy to put together a ticket that has a good chance of hitting, because the Pick 4 and Pick 5 wagers start at just $.50.

Del Mar’s signature wager is a classic, like the track itself – the Pick 6. The Pick Six is a little pricier to get in with a minimum $2 bet, but the payouts can be life-changing.

The Pick 6 is available every day. If you pick the winners of each race in the Pick 6, you win. But recently, the track made the Pick 6 even better by adding the Pick 6 Jackpot. Now, if you hit the Pick 6 you will cash a ticket for impressive money, but if you are the only person with a winning ticket, you will win the Pick 6 Jackpot! In 2017, Payouts for individual Pick Six Jackpot winners exceeded half a million dollars in 2017!

You don’t have to go to the track to take advantage of these wagers; you can bet any or all of them from home with an advance deposit wagering account.

Familiar faces

Del Mar is a place to see and be seen, and the horses are no exception. Some of the most famous Thoroughbreds in the country have raced at Del Mar:

Seabiscuit – Champion Thoroughbred of book and movie fame, one of Seabiscuit’s owners was involved in opening the track in 1937 and the ‘Biscuit won a famous match race at Del Mar

Zenyatta – the Queen of Thoroughbred racing, Zenyatta won 19 of 20 career starts and was the three-time champion of Del Mar’s Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1)

California Chrome – two-time Horse of the Year champion and current second all-time leading money earner, California Chrome raced often at Del Mar, winning the Hollywood Derby (G1), San Diego Handicap (G2) and Pacific Classic (G1)

Arrogate – the all-time leading money earner of American Thoroughbred racing, Arrogate raced several times at Del Mar, including the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and the TVG Pacific Classic (G1)

Cigar – winner of 16 consecutive races and all-time leading money-earner at the time of retirement, Cigar suffered his most famous defeat in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar

Beholder – One the best mares in recent history, Beholder was named Champion 2-year-old Filly, Champion 3-year-old Filly, and two-time Champion Older Female Horse. She broke her maiden at Del Mar and returned years later to beat the boys, including California Chrome, in the TVG Pacific Classic (G1)

Something for everyone

Opening Day at Del Mar is the event of the season in San Diego, as all the locals make their annual pilgrimage to the track decked out in the best summer attire and hats. There is a good crowd most days, but especially every Friday, when Del Mar hosts popular bands to play after the races and the party spills out into the infield.

Track announcer Trevor Denman has one of the most familiar voices in the sport, and there are multiple analysts and TV commentators to help you figure out who to bet. Del Mar is a premier meet, meaning that it is not unusual to spot big names and faces strolling through the crowd, such as two-time Triple Crown champion trainer Bob Baffert. You can even catch Mike Smith, jockey of Triple Crown winner Justify, anytime there is a big stakes victory on the line.

Whatever draws you to the track, don’t miss the Del Mar summer meet! Racing begins every summer in mid-July, with live racing Wednesday through Sunday.

Image courtesy of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club