Del Mar Sets Dates for Two Meets in 2014

Del Mar Sets Dates for Two Meets in 2014
Photo: Benoit Photo

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will hold a 15-day fall meeting this November in addition to its regular summer stand, it announced in a statement released Jan. 15.

The November meet is part of Southern California racing's plan to fill the gap in the calendar caused by the closure of Betfair Hollywood Park in favor of development. The additions to the San Diego County track's schedule have been approved by the California Horse Racing Board and the California Coastal Commission. In addition, Del Mar also worked through date and grounds issues with its landlord, the 22nd District Agricultural Association, the state body that oversees the multi-purpose, 350-acre Del Mar Fairgrounds that is home to the seaside racing oval.

Del Mar plans to run its fall dates from Friday, Nov. 7 to Sunday, Nov. 30, it said in a press release. The fall meet will have a three-day opening week (Friday-Sunday) and then settle into a four-day schedule (Thursday-Sunday) for the duration. Del Mar said the autumn stand is planning a Hollywood theme, harkening back to the era of the track's founder, Bing Crosby, and his show business connections.

The 36-day summer stand, its 75th going back to 1937, is to to commence Thursday, July 17 and runs through Wednesday, Sept. 3. The meet usually begins on a Wednesday but will open a day later this year to give track maintenance and horsemen extra time to prepare following the San Diego County Fair's conclusion July 6.

Both meets this year will showcase the debut of Del Mar's new seven-furlong inner turf course, a wider, safer racing surface that is replacing the track's original layout installed in 1960.

DMTC noted that its 2015 meets will be longer. The 2015 summer season is slated for Wednesday, July 15 through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7, an expansion from seven to eight weekends and a total of 41 racing days. The fall session would be scheduled from Wednesday, Oct. 28 through Wednesday, Dec. 2. The five-week season would enable the track to be open and available during the Breeders' Cup traditional dates, which are normally either the last weekend in October or the first in November.

"Our fall race meeting starting this year will be totally separate from our summer session," noted track president and CEO Joe Harper. "They will be two different animals. We know our summer meet is a winner; we've proven it over and over again. And we expect our autumn run can be special, too, in its own way. With the backing of our horsemen and all our many racing fans in the San Diego area, we think we can put on a first-rate show here in the fall and help to keep racing in Southern California strong and successful."
 

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