Published Sunday, December 3rd, 2023   ( 6 months ago )

Stellar Autumn Turf Festival Highlights Close of Del Mar Meet; Track Continues Industry-Leading Safety Protocols

Del Mar concluded its 10th Bing Crosby fall race meet, Sunday with the Autumn Turf Festival – eight graded stakes over seven racing days – highlighting the four-week meet of highly competitive and fully safe racing.

The nation’s premier fall season turf racing was conducted over Del Mar’s highly respected Jimmy Durante Turf Course and saw California’s best trainers battle with some of the sport’s top out-of-state conditioners, including the likes of Chad Brown, Mark Casse, Graham Motion and Bill Mott.

Proudly, Del Mar continued its precedent-setting equine safety protocols – now followed by many other racing venues countrywide – which once again produced one of the safest race meets in the nation.  Additionally, the Del Mar area’s reputation for fine weather again played to its best and racing was presented daily on “fast or firm.”

“Once more we have been able to put on a first-rate racing presentation here at Del Mar thanks to our horses, our horsemen and women, our staff, our partners and our fans,” said Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s president and COO. “Our racing office put together terrific cards – especially in regard to our Autum Turf Festival – and the response from across the country was strong.”

Total wagering for the meet was $153.50 million compared to $162.02 million from the 2022 fall season.  Handle averaged $11.81 million per day, a decrease of 7.0% from last year's record wagering levels.  The results of the meet continued positive trends for the track over the last several years. 

The track’s unique program to feed the backstretch community – begun this past summer to rave reviews – continued through the Bing Crosby season.  With support from the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation and the Oak Tree Racing Association, Del Mar provided free meals in a communal setting to stable area workers each race day during the fall meet.  

Juan Hernandez won his second fall meet riding title with 21 firsts, outing Flavien Prat, who had 19. Phil D’Amato captured his third straight fall crown with 14 victories, including four stakes. The leading owners were Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables, who earned $360,500 in purses. The top owner for races won was J. Paul Reddam’s Reddam Racing with three.

“We really appreciate the incredible time and effort that goes into this unique and successful November meet,” said Thoroughbred Owners of California Chairman Gary Fenton. “DMTC continues to be a great partner and industry leader and we look forward to hosting the next two Breeders’ Cups at the iconic seaside racetrack with them.” 

Del Mar will return to racing in 2024 with its eight-week summer race meet starting on Saturday, July 20 and running through to Sunday, September 8.  The 2024 fall season will begin on Thursday, October 31, then be host to the 41st edition of the Breeders’ Cup on Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, the third time the international event will be run at Del Mar.  The five-week fall race meet will conclude on December 1, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

Additionally, Del Mar was awarded the 2025 Breeders’ Cup and its fall meet will again host the sport’s world championships on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1.