Off to the Races!
I had the distinct pleasure to go to the races at Del Mar last week for a Green Flash sponsored event and it was fantastic! Up in the luxury sky box with complimentary food and beverage and our very own “bookies” for easy betting, it’s hard not to have a great time.
The track opened in 1937 to much fanfare and anticipation. Bing Crosby himself stood at the gate opening day and greeted all the fans. Back in the 1930’s horse racing was second only to Major League Baseball in terms of fan support and turnout and in 1938 the first nationally broadcasted thoroughbred race happened from Del Mar between Seabiscuit and Ligaroti; one guess who the winner was. In the early years of the track it became a stomping ground for the who’s who of Hollywood and brought a lot of business to the area but all good things must come to an end. During World War II the track was closed and used for military training exercises and later for a manufacturing site for B-17 bomber parts.
After the war the track reopened and became known as the Saratoga of the west due to the high stakes racing and large purses. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s Del Mar continued to garner success and was considered one of the premier racetracks in the country.
There was a major renovation to the property in 1990’s, including demolishing the grandstand and rebuilding it; this is the track as it is today.
While I’m not a big gambler, I certainly put a little money down on the ponies and I can see why people love it so much. The strategy of choosing your horses, the anticipation of the start, the thrill of the race, the buzz throughout the crowd, and the electric shock of a win!!! Del Mar, where the surf meets the turf.