Corporate Name: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 700, Del Mar, California 92014
Street Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard, Del Mar, CA 92014
Telephone: (858) 755-1141
Fax: (858) 792-1477
Del Mar, the scenic seaside oval “where the turf meets the surf,” first opened its gates in 1937. The man at the turnstile collecting tickets that sunny July 3 afternoon was none other than the fellow known as “Der Bingle” or “The Crooner,” the original laid-back Californian himself, Bing Crosby.
Bing and a bunch of his Hollywood buddies hatched this marvelous idea for a horse palace by the ocean where you could play all day, party all night, and leave the cares of the world behind.
That first day, 15,000-plus came for a look and, when word got around, there were more than 18,000 on hand for the second afternoon. The little horse course by the blue Pacific had made its mark and seven decades later continues to draw equine fanciers from near and far to its seven-week swirl of high-class hoofbeats by the sea.
Out on the track itself, Del Mar has had its share of magic moments. Drawing on its Hollywood connection, the sun-splashed plant was the first to make use of the photo-finish camera at its inaugural meet in 1937. The camera, an invention of Lorenzo del Riccio, an optical engineer who headed Paramount Pictures’ technical research laboratories, was designed to produce a strip photograph of the passage of time at a fixed point, in this case the finish line.
In 1938, Del Mar hosted the historic match race between the American handicap champion Seabiscuit and the South American import Ligaroti. It was a $25,000 winner-take-all, drew 20,000 to the track, and was heard coast-to-coast on the NBC radio network. At the end of a ferocious battle that saw the horses trading head bobs and the riders trading whip slashes, “The Biscuit” won by a nose in 1:49, breaking the nine-furlong track record by four seconds.
Del Mar was also the place where John Longden became the world’s winningest rider on Labor Day of 1956 when he rode his 4,871st winner to surpass the Englishman Sir Gordon Richards. Fourteen Labor Days later in 1970, Longden’s title of “winningest rider of all” fell to a tiny Texan named Bill Shoemaker when he booted home Dares J for his 6,033rd victory. There to shake The Shoe’s hand in the Del Mar winner’s circle was Longden himself.
In recent times the track has been a fertile proving ground for many of the nation’s best horses and horsemen. Its 2-year-old program has shone the first spotlight on many of the sport’s stars-to-be and its 3-year-old grass stakes series is among the most popular and competitive high-profile events in the country. In 1991, the track inaugurated its richest and most prestigious offering, the $1 million Pacific Classic. The Grade I feature quickly became one of the nation’s top summer prizes while being offered at the classic American distance of a mile and one quarter.
In 2015, Del Mar continued its run as one of the nation’s top tracks in the key categories of daily average attendance and handle. Its on-track daily count of 14,558 put it in the forefront of North American meets, and its daily handle of $12,151,518 placed the shore oval among the cream of the country’s racing crop.
Also in 2015, Del Mar again presented a second season of racing between October 29 and November 29 that was well met and proved financially successful for all on the Southern California circuit. The track’s summer season consisted of 40 days of racing on a five-day-per-week basis between Wednesdays and Sundays. Its fall season, which now has become a regular part of the California landscape, was made up of 20 racing days presented on a four-day-per-week arrangement from Thursday through Sunday.
Officers: David H. Batchelder, Chairman of the Board; Joe Harper, Chief Executive Officer, President, General Manager; Michael R. Ernst, Executive Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer; Thomas S. Robbins, Executive Vice President, Racing & Industry Relations; Craig Dado, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer; Josh Rubinstein, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Vice President & Controller: Lynn Wright
Vice President, Operations & Collective Bargaining: Tim Read
Vice President, Human Resources & Administration: Ann Hall
Vice President, Plant: Robert Sanchez
Director of Media: C. P. (Mac) McBride
Director of Pari-mutuels: Bill Navarro
Simulcast Sales Contact: Paul Porter, (858) 792-4232; (619) 261-3556 (cell)
Owner Relations Contact: Lisa Iaria, (619) 261-8301 (cell)
Racing Secretary: David Jerkens
Track Announcer: Trevor Denman
Horsemen’s Liaison: Lisa Iaria, (858) 755-1141, ext. 1040
Track Photographer: Benoit & Associates
Track Caterer: Premier Foods
Nearest City: San Diego (20 miles to the south). Population 1.3 million (nation’s eighth largest); San Diego County, 3.1 million
Nearest Airports: Lindbergh Field, 18 miles south of the track. Private planes and helicopters may land at Palomar Airport, 12 miles to the north
Track Data: 1-mile oval; chutes 7 furlongs and 1¼ miles; stretch length: 919 feet; infield grass course: Jimmy Durante Turf Course (completely rebuilt in 2014), 7-furlong oval, with a diagonal chute that allows for races up to 11/8 miles; total Del Mar fairgrounds acreage, 350; stable accommodations: 2,100
Seating Accommodations: 14,112; grandstand, 8,573; clubhouse, 2,655; Sky Boxes, 614; Turf Club, 2,344; Restaurants, 2,038
Price of Admission: Grandstand, $6; clubhouse, $10; all admissions include a free program; children 17 and under admitted free
Minimum Age Admitted: Children admitted if accompanied by parents at all times; day care facilities on-site through Camp Del Mar
Parking Facilities: Capacity, 10,000
DMTC Official Transportation Company: Skye Limo (www.skyelimo.com) (619) 239-7599 (Del Mar discounts apply)
Morning Programs: Public is invited to view morning workouts daily, 7:00–10:00 a.m.; “Donuts at Del Mar,” a family-oriented session held two Saturdays during meet; “Daybreak at Del Mar,” featuring a buffet breakfast trackside every Saturday and Sunday morning while watching workouts, 7:30–9:30 a.m.
Simulcasting: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Summer–Live racing five days per week (Monday, simulcasting only, Tuesdays, dark); full live card exports; full card imports from California tracks and fairs; full and partial imports from other states and countries; Fall–Live racing four days per week (Dark, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday); full card exports and imports from California tracks, full and partial card imports from other states and countries
Additional Amenities: Features an extra video and timing system– Trakus –installed in 2007; offers a parallel website–www.delmarscene.com, aimed at younger racing fans