Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Race Tracks > Del Mar

Del Mar Racetrack Facts

  • Address: 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
  • Phone: (858) 755-1141
  • Website: https://www.dmtc.com/
  • Dirt Track: 1 mile oval
  • Turf Track: 1 mile oval
  • Racing Season: July to September

Del Mar Racetrack opened on July 3, 1937 and is currently owned by the State of California and operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. During the course of the racing season, Del Mar hosts a series of Grade-I races including the Pacific Classic, Clement L. Hirsch Handicap and the Del Mar Oaks.

Grade I Stakes Held at Del Mar

  • G1 Bing Crosby Stakes – 3-year-olds & up going 6 furlongs on dirt
  • G1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes – 2-year-old fillies going 7 furlongs on dirt
  • G1 Pacific Classic – 3-year-olds & up going 1-1/4 mi.
  • G1 Del Mar Oaks – 3-year-old fillies going 1-1/8 mi. on turf
  • G1 Del Mar Futurity – 2-year-olds going 7 furlongs on dirt
  • G1 Clement L. Hirsch – 3-year-olds & up fillies & mares going 1-1/16 mi.

Del Mar’s Significance to Handicappers

Del Mar’s summer meet is a special time on the Southern California racing circuit, anticipated by horsemen and horseplayers alike. The seven-week session, which begins toward the end of July and runs through Labor Day weekend, presents handicapping challenges because races tend to be so competitive — owners, trainers and jockeys are striving to win at the seaside track.

Del Mar currently offers 17 different wagers included the following recent additions:

  • An early Pick Four starting on Race 2 daily that is a .50¢ minimum wager.
  • A late Pick Five offered on the last five races daily. It, too, is a .50¢ minimum bet.
  • A Win, Place, Show Parlay available for a minimum of two races and a maximum of six. It is a $2 bet.

Handicapping Del Mar

Tools: Ultimate Past Performances from TwinSpires and Brisnet feature BRIS Class, Pace and Speed Ratings that can be a valuable tool when handicapping races. Additional data, including trainer, jockey, track bias and pedigree stats, allows further inspection into key details and Ultimate PPs also contain a predictive Prime Power Rating for every horse that’s started. Ultimate PPs are free to TwinSpires.com players when they wager on the track and day of the product purchased.

Horse-for-the-course angle: Individual records (track, distance etc) are listed in Ultimate PPs and horseplayers can expect form reversals at Del Mar. Horses who have shown an affinity for either the dirt or turf surface can display significant improvement upon recent efforts at other tracks. And vice versa – a horse in good form at Santa Anita is often vulnerable if they’ve performed below par at Del Mar previously.

Hot/cold trainers and jockeys: Well-known trainers like Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill and Jerry Hollendorfer always gear their horses up for the summer meet and we expect to see these stables well-represented in 2-year-old races. But even top barns will go through hot and cold streaks at times and it’s a good strategy to keep tabs on how trainers have been performing during the meet because winning and losing can be contagious. Same goes for jockeys: horses can feed upon the confidence of a hot rider and logical win contenders will come up short with pilots mired in a cold slump.

Different dimensions: Turf sprints have become a staple of racing circuits across the country and Del Mar will card many 5-furlong races on its Jimmy Durante turf course. The difference between turf sprints at Del Mar and Santa Anita can be significant, with Santa Anita races being run downhill at 6 ½-furlongs. Early speed tends to be more important at Del Mar.

Best Bets at Del Mar

Best bets can make the difference between winning and losing – horseplayers interested in making money won’t wager the same amount on every race. Some races appear inscrutable, more wide-open than others, and that places a premium on leveraging your strongest opinions when handicapping.

Developing a game plan is simple: identify your best bets on the program and attack accordingly. Best bets can be “singled” in multi-race wagers like the Pick 3 and Pick 4, where stringing together winners is of critical importance. Singling allows you to utilize more horses in other contentious races.

TwinSpires.com is the place to bet races from Del Mar and horseplayers can rely on a wealth of reports, including Daily Selections and Workout Reports from Brisnet.com, to help take the guesswork out of selections.

Wagering at Del Mar

The Pick-6 remains one of the most popular pool bets at Del Mar with a $2.00 minimum bet on the last six races of the day.

Del Mar also boasts a Pick-4, a bet based on the last four races of a program with a guaranteed pool of $400,000 on weekends and a pool of $200,000 on weekdays.

The full list of Del Mar bets is as follows: $2 win, place and show; $1 Exacta; $2 Quinella; $1 Trifecta; $2 rolling Double; $1 rolling Pick Three; $1 Superfecta (.10¢ minimum); $1 Place Pick All; $1 Super High Five; $2 Pick Six; .50¢ Player’s Pick Five, and .50¢ Pick Four.

Del Mar Racetrack History

Del Mar Racetrack is located in Del Mar, California, on the 340-acre Del Mar Fairgrounds about 20 miles north of San Diego. However, the track actually has its roots centered a bit farther north in Hollywood.

Singer and actor Bing Crosby founded the track and served as president, while his brother Bob was vice president. Fellow actors Oliver Hardy – best known as one half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy duo – and Pat O’Brien acted as officers while other prominent Hollywood stars such as Gary Cooper and Joe E. Brown served on the executive committee.

The small, and today affluent, town of Del Mar, located in San Diego County, soon became the “Playground of the Stars” as celebrities flocked to the seaside track during the summers.

Crosby greeted the first patron through the gates on July 3, 1937, and was a constant presence at the track. That first card attracted close to 15,000 fans.

Over the years, the likes of Don Ameche, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Grable, Ava Gardner, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin and Red Skeleton – just to name a few – passed through the track gates.

Just two years after opening, Del Mar hosted the famous Seabiscuit—Ligaroti match race on August 12. During the race Seabiscuit’s jockey, George “The Iceman” Woolf, and Ligaroti’s rider, Noel “Spec” Richardson, began hitting each other with their riding crops as their mounts dueled down the stretch.

Del Mar shut down from 1942 through 1944 as the U.S. entered World War II. The Del Mar Fairgrounds were used for training Marines and then as a manufacturing site for B-17 bomber parts.

In addition to Hollywood stars, Del Mar has showcased such racing celebrities as Bill Shoemaker, John Longden and Charlie Whittingham. In fact, Longden became the world’s winningest rider at that time on September 3, 1956, when scoring at Del Mar.

Records have come and gone at the seaside track, but one that has stood the test of time is the $263.40 win payout that bettors received when they placed a $2 wager on the Argentinean-bred filly Cipria on September 1, 1955.

South African race caller Trevor Denman took the mike at Del Mar in 1984, and has been calling the races there ever since.

One of Denman’s more memorable calls probably came on August 10, 1996, when the mighty Cigar tried for a record-breaking 17th straight victory but instead was upset by the outsider Dare and Go in the Pacific Classic. A crowd of 75,201 in attendance that afternoon still serves as a single-day record at the track.

Denman also presided over the Polytrack era at the track that began in 2007 and ended in 2014. In 2015 Del Mar opened their fall season to a dirt surface debut. The track began the pre-planning of replacing their synthetic surface in February of 2014, seven years after installing a Polytrack main track surface. Del Mar hosted its first-ever Breeders’ Cup in 2017 and it was an overwhelming success. Race fans from around the world got to bet the Breeders’ Cup and see one of America’s most beautiful tracks alongside the Pacific Ocean.

Del Mar has preserved its rich history, as evidenced by the crowds who follow the advice Crosby laid out in his “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” – which is played before the first race and the last race every racing day – to “take a plane, take trainer, take a car,” and easily overwhelm the track’s 14,304-seating capacity each year.

Del Mar
Del Mar (Benoit Photo)