Del Mar Park


Racing Dates: July – November
Max per Race Payout: US$ 30,000
Main track (polytrack): 1-mile oval with chutes for 7/8- and 1 1/4-mile races
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 919 ft
Track width: 80 ft
Composition: Polytrack
Turf: 7/8-mile oval with chute for 1 1/16- and 1 1/8-mile races
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 761 ft
Width of stretch: 63 ft
Turf composition: Hybrid Bermuda GN-1

Bing Crosby was the biggest star in America. He was also a smart businessman and a lover of sports – Crosby was part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the central figure behind the construction of the Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, California, nestled on the Pacific Coast just north of San Diego.

Crosby had some help, of course. He and noted businessman/horse lover Charles S. Howard (who owned the legendary Seabiscuit) founded the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 1937, in partnership with a group of actors including Oliver Hardy and Jimmy Durante. Del Mar quickly became a meeting place for Hollywood’s movers and shakers, and remains one of the premier destinations on the American thoroughbred racing circuit.

Del Mar Racetrack holds races six days a week (Tuesdays are off) from June/July through August/September. The main track is a one-mile oval that switched from dirt to Polytrack in 2007; the turf course is seven furlongs. The grandstand was rebuilt in the early 1990s and doubled in size to seat over 40,000 spectators. Del Mar is regularly among the nation’s leaders in both attendance and handle.

The summer session may be short, but Del Mar still manages to host 20 graded stakes races every year, none more prominent than the $1-million Grade 1 Pacific Classic Stakes (10 furlongs, 3-year- olds and up) on the main track. This was where two-time Horse of the Year Cigar was thwarted in his bid to break Citation’s modern-day record of 16 straight wins; a crowd of 44,181 people gathered in 1996 and watched 40-1 long shot Dare and Go beat the 1-10 favorite.