The largest crowd in Del Mar history of 46,588 turned out Wednesday, July 20, for the opening day card at the seaside oval in Southern California.
Attendance exceeded the record set a year ago on opening day when 45,309 were on hand. Total pari-mutuel handle for the opener this year was $13,234,590 compared to the $12,461,600 wagered last year, for an increase of 6.2%.
In the day’s feature race, even-money favorite Mr. Commons and jockey Mike Smith rolled to victory in the $112,100 Oceanside Stakes. Outrun in the early stages of the race for 3-year-olds, Mr. Commons, a son of Artie Schiller , circled his rivals on the stretch turn and wasn’t pressured in the final sixteenth as he won by 1 1/2 lengths. Final time for a mile on grass was 1:34.96 (VIDEO).
Mr. Commons, owned and bred by the St. George Farm Racing, LLC of Ian and Carrie Banwell and trained by John Shirreffs, returned $4.20, $3.60 and $2.60 while earning first money of $67,260 with his third victory in six starts.
Burns, an 11-1 longshot ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, ran second and returned $8 and $4.80, while Extensive returned $3.60 to show. Robbie’s War finished fourth in the field of nine.
Mr. Commons had previously finished eighth in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and the Oceanside marked the colt’s return to grass, over which he broke his maiden last January at Santa Anita.