Horse Racing in San Diego is for the Young and Hip


Are you someone who has never made it over to the Del Mar racetrack?  Do you think horse racing is for old guys who have nothing more to do other than gamble? If so, you have an exciting new adventure ahead.

Before I moved to San Diego ten years ago, horse racing was barely on my radar.  The only people I ever heard who went to the horse races were high rollers and old guys who had nothing else to do.  And frankly, I think for most of the country, that’s correct.

Chances are, if you haven’t been to the horse races yet, you probably didn’t grow up in Southern California.  You may have paid attention to the Kentucky Derby and whether or not its winner went on to win the Triple Crown.  Otherwise, horse racing was not on your radar either.

Well, it’s time you take a moment to see horse racing for what it is in Southern California.  More specifically, horse racing at the Del Mar Racetrack is nothing like you would expect. It is hip, it’s cool, and it’s cheap.

Did you ever notice bumper stickers around town that say: Del Mar – Where the Turf Meets the Surf?  You probably thought, sure, the town of Del Mar must be located on the beach because it is where their turf meets the ocean.

Even though Del Mar is nestled against the Pacific Ocean, you are missing the point.  Where the Turf Meets the Surf is the title of a jingle coined by Bing Crosby, which he created for his Del Mar Racetrack.

Bing Crosby, along with actors Pat O’Brien, Jimmy Durante, and businessman Charles Howard, opened the Del Mar Racetrack in 1937.  Their racetrack became the place for Hollywood Stars to come see and be seen. Just a year after opening, the racetrack held the famous Seabiscuit vs. Ligaroti race, which was broadcast nationwide.

Today, the Del Mar Racetrack is still the place to see and be seen.  On any given day, you have the opportunity to see a famous face.  On Opening Day in mid-July, you have the opportunity to see the most beautiful people in the country descend on the racetrack as the women show off their fanciest hats.

Oh yes, there is horse racing too.  The racetrack offers one of the highest average payouts in the country for winning horses. This brings in the top horses from around the world.  (I have to admit I was unpatriotic on my last bet at a recent meet when I picked horses from England to finish #1 and #2.  I lost.)

It is only $6 to get in (+ $8 bucks for parking unless you take transit). Once you are in, you can take a close look at the horses in the paddock when they prepare for their race and then spend as little as $2 on a bet for your favorite horse. If you don’t know what to do once you are at the races, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has put together a beginner’s guide for you.

So, if I’ve piqued your interest, don’t wait. Go! If you like listening to live bands, go this Friday.  Every Friday, there is a free post-race concert.  You can check out the concert line-up and listen to samples online.

If you are excited about seeing world class horse racing, go this Sunday for the Pacific Classic.  This is the biggest race of the season with a million dollar purse.  The winner of the Pacific Classic gets an automatic entry in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the end of season championship for thoroughbred horse racing! You can call your friends back home when they are watching the Breeders’ Cup and say, ‘hey, I saw that horse in Del Mar!’

Try something new and have fun!!!

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