What first started in 2014 continues forward this year when Del Mar’s ninth fall racing meet – the “Bing Crosby Season” in honor of the track’s iconic founder – begins its four-week run Friday and goes through to Sunday, December 4.
Racing will be conducted over 13 days primarily on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday basis each week with a first post daily of 12:30 p.m. The lone exception to the routine is Thanksgiving Thursday, November 24, when racing will be held starting at 11 a.m. and finish around 3 p.m., allowing plenty of time for turkey dinner with the works.
Del Mar is coming off the heels of its most successful meeting ever, a 31-day summer stand that saw it establish a record daily average handle of $18.6 million and a remarkable average field size number of 9.1 horses per race, best among all major tracks in the nation.
The opening weekend will feature a trio of stakes, starting Friday with the $75,000 Let It Ride overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on the turf.
The track will offer its usual complement of betting options, starting with win, place and show wagers and going on through to a series of “exotic,’ or multiple bets, including Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s and the highly popular ‘Rainbow Pick Six.’ The last-named bet only costs 20¢ and can lead to five-, six- or even seven-figure payouts. It requires a bettor to be the lone ticket holder to capture the entire pool, but it will have one “mandatory payout” day on closing day when the entire jackpot will be distributed to those with the most winners.
The fall session’s full stakes schedule – 13 major stakes and two overnight over the 13 days – is the most lucrative ever offer at a total of $2,450,000. The slate is highlighted by a pair of $400,000 Grade I headliners on closing weekend – the Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at nine furlongs on turf and the Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares at a mile on the lawn.
The final two weeks of the stand feature eight graded stakes on grass worth more than $1.4 million, a “turf meet’ inside the regular meet that has proven to be a substantial lure to good turf runners from across the country.
Del Mar will offer a variety of special events on track over the course of the meet. There will be a Veterans Day salute on opening day, an “Uncorked: Derby Days Wine Festival” on Saturday, November 12, a unique “Brunch & Brews” happening on Saturday, November 19, College Day (with free admission for college students), also on November 19, and a Taste of the Turf Club program each Sunday. Seniors receive free admission, a program and a seat each Friday throughout the fall.
After opening week when Del Mar’s solid back-up announcer John Lies will be at the mic, Triple Crown/Breeders’ Cup announcer Larry Collmus will be in the stand once again for the balance of the session.