Del Mar to Feature Turf Sprints this Summer

(from track notes)
Del Mar will offer turf sprints on a regular basis for the first time this summer when it opens for its 64th season on July 23.

Racing secretary Tom Robbins is planning on running a variety of five-furlong dashes on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course, including a pair of overnight stakes. Early in the meet the track will offer the $75,000 Daisycutter Handicap for fillies and mares. Midway through the 43-day stand it will present the $75,000 Green Flash Handicap open to all 3-year-olds and up.

The track's seven-furlong grass course with its elbow chute was first opened in 1960. It currently offers one mile, mile and one-sixteenth (chute), mile and one-eighth (chute) and mile and three-eighths races on its layout. Previously, Del Mar presented seven and one-half furlong, two-turn races on the turf, though that distance was dropped after the 1985 season.

The track has run just one five-furlong turf sprint – the Showdown at the Seashore in 1994 – that matched two fillies, Soviet Problem and Mamselle Bebette, at the distance. Soviet Problem, who later finished second in that year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), easily won the "Showdown" in a time of :56 2/5, which stands as the course record.