(Edited press release)
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Darley have announced a partnership starting in 2009 highlighted by the renaming of the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) as the Darley Debutante.
The Debutante, Del Mar's championship race for 2-year-old fillies, has been won by six champion juvenile fillies in recent years and was captured this past summer by Stardom Bound, a solid favorite to earn an Eclipse Award in her category for 2008.
The 59th running of the seven-furlong headliner has been scheduled for Sept. 5 during the closing weekend of the seaside track’s annual summer meeting. Additionally, its purse will be enhanced from $250,000 to $300,000.
Darley, the global breeding operation of Sheikh Mohammed, will be involved in its first West Coast sponsorship, and the group is planning additional extras around the race to enhance the experience for horsemen and fans. Notable among them is that the owner and breeder of the Darley Debutante winner each will receive a free breeding season to a Darley stallion.
"We are honored and delighted to partner with the folks from Darley," said DMTC president and general manager Joe Harper. “They bring nothing but class to the table, and Del Mar will be a better place for this special association."
Olly Tait, chief operating officer of Darley America, said, "The opportunity at Del Mar is terrific as it not only allows us to partner with one of the country's premier racing organizations, but it also presents a fantastic way to actively engage a segment of the market very important to us and to the Thoroughbred industry as a whole. We are very excited and look forward to a long relationship with Del Mar."
Del Mar's 70th racing season will open July 22 and run through Sept. 9.