Del Mar Details $3 Million in Track Upgrades

(from Del Mar Thoroughbred Club release)
Major renovations to five Del Mar barns as well as upgrades and expansions to its grandstand are underway, with the improvements expected in time for the start of the 2004 racing season on July 21.

The five barns are being gutted and virtually built anew featuring higher roofs and shed rows that will greatly enhance ventilation. On the track's frontside, both a permanent box section and "Stretch Run Grill" restaurant are being put in place directly west of the track's horse path. A new celebrity suite is under construction on its fifth floor. The box and restaurant section replaces the temporary facilities that existed in the same location previously. The new suite will join three others like it that have been in high demand from groups of up to 48 people.

All told, the major projects -- along with several other improvements and additions throughout the seaside racing facility -- will amount to an expenditure of nearly $3 million.

"These are improvements that will benefit everyone involved with racing at Del Mar," said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president and general manager Joe Harper. "We're taking care of our horses and horsemen, and we're also enhancing it for the folks who allow us to put on the show -- our racing fans. Del Mar will be a better place in many ways this summer."

The barn improvements, which will include new roofs, electrical, water and living quarters, will cost approximately $300,000 apiece. Each of the five renovated structures will have stalls for 42 horses as well as eight living quarters designed to hold two to a room.

The permanent box section will consist of 48 new boxes holding a total of 192 people adjacent to the 150 new "four-top" tables seating 600 customers in the popular Stretch Run Grill. The cost for this upgrade is approximately $900,000.

The new celebrity suite, to be named after movie star Betty Grable, who was a horse owner and Del Mar regular in the 1940s and '50s, joins the Bing Crosby, Pat O'Brien and Jimmy Durante suites on the track's fifth floor. Construction of the new 1,000-square-foot area is expected to cost approximately $75,000.

Another project on the track's off-season slate is the installation of a new head-on camera for viewing races on the track's turf course. The camera, which will be installed just north of the current tower that offers a head-on view of the main track, will cost approximately $80,000. Also on the agenda are infrastructure installations totaling $100,000 to accommodate the new, four-color LED tote board purchased and shared by Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. The board will be placed directly in front of the old infield tote board.

Track crews will be working on $150,000 worth of backstretch improvements consisting of new stairways and balconies on existing barns, new flooring in living quarters and renovations to rest rooms throughout the barn area.

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