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Old 08-09-2022, 01:44 PM   #1
ScottJ
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Del Mar Road Trip Recap, Sunday, August 7th

Although I was disconnected from the Saratoga racing and betting scene for Days 15 through 19, I was traveling in the SoCal area and did attend Del Mar for their Day 11 on Sunday, August 7th. Thought that this might help some folks with future planning and those looking for East Coast/West Coast experience differences.

Logistics : Del Mar is an easy drive from San Diego to the south or Carlsbad/Oceanside to the north. Parking trackside is $10 for general spots ($15 preferred, $25 valet) and admission is $8 per person to the grandstand. With admission, you get a pocket program which on this Sunday included about a dozen tracks plus Del Mar's program. For those familiar with the NYRA Post Parade Program, there is no equivalent so $9.50 for the Daily Racing Form is a needed expense. (Note that since I was away from home, I did NOT download PPs ahead of time.)

General Observations : The track itself has low ceilings on several levels (remember when it was built) but has maximized outdoor table space on many levels. Seats are available on the second and third levels, both pay-for and open seating.

The betting windows are beyond slow with many one-day-per-year gamblers clogging the windows with attempts to play. The processing time per patron was more than 60 seconds on several occasions. Be sure to get on line with no less than 10 minutes remaining to post - in at least two cases, I was last or next to last at the windows. Use your online account or wagering voucher. (Interestingly, I used my NYRA Bets account for Races 9 through 11 as I just got tired of the window experience.)

Although the listed attendance was short of 10,000, it certainly felt more crowded. Remember that there is no backyard as we have at Belmont or Saratoga which might also contribute to the feeling of more people.

Hearing Trevor Denman's voice over the loudspeaker was a joy. The crowd absolutely erupted when the gates opened for the first race. The grandstand cheering drowns out the live racecall with 4f remaining.

Amazingly, the Saratoga Oaks Invitational was broadcast live on the infield video board (1:30pm local time, post time at 2:00pm) with John Imbriale's voice piped throughout the track. It honestly made me chuckle when I heard John "calling at Del Mar".

As for the Racing : As an East Coast clutch-and-grab racing "enthusiast", watching opening quarters with early pace battles (22 seconds) was almost a handicapping reset. The outside flow was very good on the dirt throughout the day. The sightlines felt more like the Meadowlands thoroughbred meets (one mile track) than Aqueduct or Saratoga.

Apprentice Emily Ellingwood won her second race in two days at the meet as much the best Darling Donna took the opener. Race 2 was the "they knew race of the day" as 15-time maiden M Is for Magic goes turf-to-dirt against a field of Starter Allowance winners and cruised at 5-2.

Meanwhile, Race 3 was the "they didn't know race of the day" as the two longest shots in this MSW sweep the $1742.20 exacta.

The La Jolla ($150,000, Grade 3) was on the turf in Race 5 and my exacta was split as stakes performers Cabo Spirit got the win for Joe Bravo. Meanwhile, Sumter with Mike Smith was run down in the final strides by last-out maiden-claiming winner Perfect Flight.

Race 6 was my first push at recovering some cash at the windows as Florent Geroux stalked and pounced at $14.80 with firster Fast and Shiny. Second choide Doinitthehardway completed the 16-1 exacta.

Off the also eligible list, Ryan Curatolo wins another with Nolongerahobby leading a big exacta on the turf in Race 7.

Race 8 saw my 16-1 longshot Tayet run third behind exacta partner Teddy's Barino as Mike Smith tipped his cap to the waiting winner's circle fans.

Race 10 was my other noteworthy score on the day as I tossed all of the runners shipping from the north for this California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Stakes ($125,000). The only two to have started at Del Mar this season combined for a 35-1 exacta.

Hope that this was a fun recap! Back in action at Saratoga tomorrow. (Always wanted to attend the two biggest meets in the same week - scratch that one off the bucket list!)
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Old 08-09-2022, 03:33 PM   #2
cj
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Love Del Mar, hard to go wrong. If you haven't been, it is a must whether you stay in the area or commute from San Diego. Both have advantages and I alternate between the two.
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Old 08-09-2022, 04:36 PM   #3
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Although the listed attendance was short of 10,000, it certainly felt more crowded. Remember that there is no backyard as we have at Belmont or Saratoga which might also contribute to the feeling of more people.
I was there in 1994 for the Chula Vista Handicap (now the Clement L Hirsch), which featured Paseana and Exchange at 1/5. Almost 27,000. Felt like we were packed in like sardines, and the infield was open. When I heard about these Opening Day crowds of 40,000+ I couldn't imagine where they put the people!
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Old 08-09-2022, 04:54 PM   #4
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Great post

Perhaps the most important track to take in what the horses look like in the paddock as everyone wants to win where the turf meets the surf
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Old 08-09-2022, 05:49 PM   #5
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It has been years since we went to the meet, aside from the first BC there a few years ago, but it used to be an easy commute from San Diego to Solano Beach on the Amtrak; a shuttle took racegoers from Solano Beach to the track. Beautiful place.
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:06 PM   #6
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Always got chills when they played Bing sing where the turf meets the turf at old del mar.
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Old 08-09-2022, 06:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for the recap!

Do they still sell Todays Racing Digest there and is there 2 editions of the form or just one?
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Old 08-09-2022, 07:05 PM   #8
ScottJ
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Thanks for the recap!

Do they still sell Todays Racing Digest there and is there 2 editions of the form or just one?
As far as I could tell, there was a single form (the book format, $9.50 per copy) that was available covering just about every track across the country. Truth be told, the format made me miss the large newspaper edition (that you folded into quarters) some 30+ years back.
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Old 08-09-2022, 07:08 PM   #9
ScottJ
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Always got chills when they played Bing sing where the turf meets the turf at old del mar.
More often than not, I will "sing" a song with "De-De-De-De" words (more humming than words).

Family members heard me singing the Old Del Mar theme prior to post time and they almost fell over that I actually knew the words to a song - specifically this one!
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Old 08-11-2022, 05:57 AM   #10
dilanesp
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More often than not, I will "sing" a song with "De-De-De-De" words (more humming than words).

Family members heard me singing the Old Del Mar theme prior to post time and they almost fell over that I actually knew the words to a song - specifically this one!
"Where the turf meets the surf
Down at old Del Mar
Take a train, take a plane, take a car.
There's a smile on every face
And a winner in each race
Where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar."
[Followed by the call to the post]
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:10 PM   #11
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Cigar getting his 16 race winning streak broken was the biggest crowd I was in at Delmar. The place was a zoo.
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Old 08-11-2022, 06:25 PM   #12
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Cigar getting his 16 race winning streak broken was the biggest crowd I was in at Delmar. The place was a zoo.
Same. Far bigger than either of the Breeders' Cups.
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