The great Bing Crosby sang: “Where the turf meets the surf down at old Del Mar take a plane, take a train, take a car. There is a smile on every face and a winner in each race where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar.”
Bing and his followers had the vision to build this remarkable track right beside the cool ocean waves, and it has become a mecca for Las Vegas bettors since this gambling metropolis became the place to be.
Most of us old timers still look forward to making our once a year trek to Del Mar, not only to bet the ponies but to get away from the heat, go to some great eating spots and see the slightly clad tanned beauties. We have some great memories of how it was and some of the real movie stars who were seen at the track back when.
Del Mar is still a great place to go in August, and come November 2014 we will be able to plan a second trip to this race scene. With the upcoming closing of Hollywood Park, Del Mar will get racing dates next November and one year, maybe, the Breeders’ Cup.
If you have never been to San Diego or Del Mar, jump in your car and take the short scenic five hour trip with family or friends. You will love it there. The weather is worth the trip. You never know, maybe a winner can be plucked.
I started making the trip back in 1977 and haven’t missed a year since. It was a lot cheaper to go down back then. Gas, rooms, food, parking are bigger expenses now, but it is still worth the great week.
If you are planning to go and want to take your wife or significant other, and don’t want to play the horses or go to the track, just spend the day on the shopper shuttle. It goes to downtown Del Mar for shops and food, and to ocean spots like Solana Beach. Plus, it’s free, so check it out.
If you are a degenerate horse player like myself and going down with some buds to take a shot at the players pick five, pick four and pick six and want to get a little help finding a single, stop by the paddock area. Look for my good friend Tom Quigley, who will be standing there before every race tweeting what horses look best.
You can get some great insight from Tom and he is always happy to talk horses. Just tell him you read my article in Gaming Today.
One of the great things I love about going to Del Mar is that everything is so close in the club house.
They always have plenty of tellers and hundreds of self-betting terminals. If you get shut out no one is to blame by your one tardiness, but sometimes it is good to get shut out!
One thing about being in the clubhouse is that the trainers will be there walking about with all of us common folk. Trainers like Bob Baffert are very courteous and always willing to have a little conversation. Owners like Mike Pegram will be there and big Mike loves to wear his shorts and have a beer or two.
It is just one fun place to be especially if you like a really laidback atmosphere. During the week on Wednesday and Thursdays you will have no problem getting a seat. On the weekends if you want a seat in the clubhouse, get there early. The crowds will be big.
If you want to take the kids there is always a concert on Friday nights after the races. Remember there is a late post of 4 p.m. on Friday. All other race days it’s 2 p.m..
With the opening of Del Mar, Mark Dufty down at Jerry’s Nugget will be hosting his one for the little guys Del Mar horse contest, which goes every Saturday from July 20-Aug. 31. Check the neighboring story for more details.
There is more to the Jerry’s Del Mar contest than meets the eye. They have some of the best food in Vegas and Mark will once again offer his famous hand carved sandwiches on a homemade roll for just $2.
I know that if I had these at Del Mar I could sell them for $12. They are just great and I know after you eat one you will want another for later.
The contest at Jerry’s Nugget not only not only promotes horse racing in general, but Del Mar and pari-mutuel wagering. What a good idea it would be if the Del Mar people tossed in an extra $500 each Saturday and make the contest total up to $1500. That would be great publicity.
Hey Mark, give them a call, you never know.
Also another perk for the Nugget is if you have a MORECLUB member’s card and win the contest you get a $30 gift card. Take the drive north and stop in at Jerry’s this Saturday. Win or lose the sandwich or two will be worth it.
Don’t forget there is a smile on every face and a winner in each race where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar!
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].