Del Mar Set For 79th Season Of Racing By The Sea
Popular Seven-Week Summer Meet Underway Today
By Margaret Ransom
A 10-race card, led by the traditional opening-day feature — the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes for sophomore turf runners — kicks off the 2018 meet at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Solana Beach, California, on Wednesday. The track, where the turf literally meets the surf, was built by Hollywood legend Bing Crosby with his pals, fellow actors Pat O’Brien, Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown, Oliver Hardy and car dealer/leading thoroughbred owner Charles Howard (of Seabiscuit fame). Del Mar opened its gates for the first time on July 3, 1937, and has been the West Coast summer sanctuary for racing fans and horsemen from around the country.
While the oval, which is situated literally yards from the Pacific Ocean, doesn’t carry as lengthy a history and tradition of its sister summer track Saratoga in upstate New York, it does offer some of its own customs, including a rich stakes schedule and some of the sport’s top runners listed in its record books.
Rich Stakes Schedule
Like last year, a total of 41 stakes races worth $7.3 million are on tap over the 36-day season, led by the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1) on Saturday, Aug. 18. The 1 ¼-mile fixture will be run for the 28th time and is one of the five annual Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifying events held at Del Mar, guaranteeing the winner a spot in the gate for the now-$6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Nineteen of the stakes will be… (more)