Del Mar’s second go-round with the “Bing Crosby Season” will be bigger – and possibly even better – when it rolls out for a 20-day, five-week stand starting on Thursday, October 29.
Last year’s initial “Crosby” gathering, where the seaside track went back to its historical roots and put on an old-school fall frolic, ran for only 15 days and four weeks. So right off the bat there’s more to be had for this edition, which continues on to November 29 on the same Thursday-through-Sunday schedule that unfolded last year.
But the track’s initial fall session in 2014 proved such a success – from the gorgeous weather, to the turnstile clicks, to the hum in the counting house, to the patron praise for a vibe that just felt delightful – that one-upping it this time around might be difficult. But Del Mar, as is its way, is going to try, starting right from the start and racing to the finish.
One thing “Bing II” will have going for it is racing’s championship showcase – aka the Breeders’ Cup. After a nice Opening Day splash – you may want to break out those old show biz duds a give a go to the prize-laden Hollywood Fashion Contest – racing accelerates on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 with a bonanza of 13 BC races worth $24.5 million piped in from Keeneland in Kentucky, as well as 18 hometown clashes during the two days, meaning even the hardest of hard-core fans will get their fill and then some.
That Sunday – and every Sunday of the session – will offer a pair of popular presentations, “Free and Easy Sundays” and “Bing+Bubbles+Brunch.” “Free and Easy” is just what it says it is, featuring free admission, a free seat, a free program and half-price domestic drafts, sodas and hot dogs. Do the free and easy sign up for your Diamond Club card and you’re good to go for a price-is-right afternoon. Or, if you’d rather take it up a notch, “Bing+Bubbles+Brunch” gets you a table in the Turf Club, bottomless mimosas or Chandon champagne and a specially prepared brunch planned by master chef Brian Malarkey. The tab there is $100 and more than a few who partook last fall said it was a C-Note well invested.
Over the years, Del Mar has become known as a music venue deluxe and “Bing the Deuce” will only add to that lore. The always-in-demand Reggae Fest will roll on out on Saturday, November 21 featuring local favorites Iration as the lead band. That afternoon also will see the second coming of “College Day Tailgate Party,” where all college kids get in free and events aplenty fill up the dance cards around the day’s races. The following Saturday (November 28) the Seaside Stage will be rocking again with a blockbuster show -- Sublime With Rome. Both concerts are free for those who come to the races.
A popular pair of all-day happenings are sure to ring the bell again – the “Fall Food Truck Festival” (Saturday, November 7) and the November 28 “Craft Beer & Cider Festival.” More than 40 food trucks will populate the former, while 100-plus local and international beers and ciders will flow at the latter. If you’re hungry and/or thirsty, you’ll be covered.
Other food specials at the track throughout the meet include “Daybreak at Del Mar" breakfasts trackside between 8 and 10 a.m. each Saturday, as well as “Football Sundays” when the gates open early (10 a.m.) and several key bars/restaurants offer discounts on food and beverages as the pigskins go flying.
Saturday, November 14 has a special lure all its own with a classy/cozy/fuzzy fleece pullover featuring Del Mar’s black/gold “Crosby Season” logo given free with all admissions. The pullover, which figures to be ideal garb for cool fall evenings, is of especially high quality and track officials believe it just might be the best giveaway ever offered fans at the shore oval.
All Thursdays offer seniors free admission and a free seat; newcomers’ handicapping seminars are available each and every day; Weiner Dog National races will add their cute-but-competitive spice to Sunday, November 8, and eight Thoroughbred races on most weekdays and nine on weekends will be standard fare.
Finally, Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 26) will be special in its own way. The day breaks from the starting gate (literally) with a one-mile "Family Mile Fun Run" on the main track at 8 a.m., then transitions to an eight-race card beginning at 11 a.m. Last year’s initial offering of Thoroughbred sport on the holiday proved even more popular than track officials had hoped and an even larger crowd is anticipated this time around. The track’s Turf Club threw its doors open on the day for those wanting to take part in a special Thanksgiving brunch with all the extras and bottomless mimosas or champagne besides. The $100 ticket with its Turf Club table proved a winner and is expected to be a strong draw again. Reservations are required and can be made on-line ( dmtc.com ) or by calling the track’s Turf Club offices (858) 792-4266.
First post daily is normally at 12:30 p.m., with the exceptions of the two Breeders’ Cup days (first post for local races at 12:45 p.m.) and the Thanksgiving exception noted.