Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will conduct its 75th summer racing season starting Thursday, July 17 led by a veteran team of racing officials, and including a well-regarded newcomer.
At the helm, once again, will be DMTC’s executive vice president, racing and industry relations, Tom Robbins, on board for his 34th summer.
But whereas Robbins filled the role of the track’s racing secretary in the past (he’d done so for 25 years), this time around he’ll cede that job to David Jerkens. He joined the Del Mar team this spring after an extended stint in the racing department and as racing secretary at Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area. Jerkens, who grew up in a racing family, also had worked in the racing department of the New York Racing Association and brings a solid background to his new role.
Chief aides in the racing department will be Zachary Soto, returning for his 24th summer at the shore, and Tora Yamaguchi, serving his 12th season in the racing office. Both men work as assistant racing secretaries, while Soto has the additional assignment of stakes coordinator and Yamaguchi doubles as a placing judge.
The track’s Board of Stewards will be similar to last summer’s crew, with one new addition: Scott Chaney will be back for his ninth straight tour at Del Mar, while Kim Sawyer will be serving her sixth season at the track. The new steward this year will be former rider and the track’s former safety steward Luis Jauregui, taking his first full-steward tour at Del Mar.
Placing judges will be Robert Moreno, Merry Young and Yamaguchi. Patrol judges will be Sue Brent, Heather Correa and Ruben Hernandez. Karen Denovel will serve as paddock judge. Overseeing the jockeys’ room again will be clerk of scales Charles McCaul, assisted by Chris Merz.
Other officials for the 36-day session include Bridget Crawford, paymaster of purses; Melanie Stubblefield, clerk of the course; Dianne Piper, horse identifier; Russell Hudak, morning line maker and official timer; Victor Tovar, horseshoe identifier; Barrie Grant, D.V.M., official veterinarian, and Dana Stead, D.V.M., racing veterinarian.
Returning as head starter for the meet is Gary Brinson. This will be Brinson’s 16th summer at Del Mar.