I can hear Del Mar calling, it’s where the turf meets the surf

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The “dog days of summer” are here but there is good news this week, the World Cup is over.

Just kidding.

The good news is Del Mar opens this Thursday!

Even though the race books here in Vegas offer us great betting, air conditioning, freebees for parking, a Racing Form and cocktails there is just something about getting away to Del Mar to breathe that cool ocean air.

Bettors from Vegas have been making the trek to the San Diego area ever since Bing Crosby cut the tape and sang the Del Mar anthem,  “take a train, take a plane, take a car” to old Del Mar. No matter how many times I hear it something just ticks and I am drawn to it like a magnet pulling me there.

As I look out of the windows here at our GamingToday office it is raining, windy, dreary and humid. I feel the cool fresh sea air calling me to come!

Horse bettors do have it made in Vegas, but we should make the easy 5-hour drive if just for a few days. The track is beautiful and the ladies in those sun dresses…well I will leave that to your imagination.

The end of July will be huge for horse bettors in Vegas. We have several horse handicapping contests on the agenda.

Saturday, Sept. 19, sees the South Point hosting a live money tournament in that beautiful race book. It’s a good one to check out if you have an extra dime to put in action.

The Gold Coast will have their big race handicapping tournament, a three day event July 24-26. Big money to win both tourneys.

Yes, there is one for the little guy as Jerry’s Nugget will again offer its Del Mar horse handicapping contest for just a $10 bill. This will be held every Saturday during the Del Mar meet and, yes, they will be serving those great $2 carved track sandwiches or, as we call them back in Steubenville, “sangwiches.”

Every Saturday you can win the first place cash prize of $800 and $200 for second. You only need to pick five races. This one is easy. So take a 15 minute ride to North Las Vegas and check it out. If you have any questions just ask Mark Dufty for some help. Believe me the $2 sangwiches are worth the drive.

The first week of August, John Avello will again host his $2,000 horse handicapping contest and this one has grown every year. In 2013, I think he had around 150 players entered with some huge payouts for both days of the event. This contest uses just two tracks, Del Mar and Saratoga.

So there are lots of things to do here in Vegas this month as we gear up for football season. And football season will be huge, you can bet on that.

Just a few things to look for at the upcoming Del Mar meet. We have a lot of new jockeys who have never ridden at this meet.

Drayden Van Dyke, the apprentice who just won the riding title at the Los Alamitos meet, is going to be a superstar. Keep an eye on him when he rides for trainer Tom Proctor. These two will be a very good hook up, especially on the grass.

Jockey Tiago Pereira can flat out ride, with over 1,750 wins, including the Dubai World Cup in 2010. Pereira is from Brazil and when we see him on any horses trained by A.C. Avila we will be betting.

Another jockey we will be keeping an eye out for is Elvis Trujillo, who has come back West where he started. Elvis is a top jock and has been getting live mounts for Doug O’Neill. A very good grass rider, Trujillo will be on or near the top of the jockey standings by the end of the meet.

This will be the last meet at Del Mar run on the synthetic surface. Thanks for ripping it out to put back conventional dirt in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup down the road. Del Mar also has installed a new turf course, so we may need to watch a few races to see how it is playing.

All I hear is “they’re off and running at old Del Mar.”

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.

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].

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