Del Mar

Jul 20, 2010 7:02 AM

Though Del Mar’s simply not the same

I received such a nice response from my "take me back I’m begging you" article that I will do just one more since Del Mar opens this Wednesday.

Every year since 1977 we would make some kind of trek to Del Mar, bet some ponies and just get out of the Las Vegas heat. It was such a great time in the 80s and you could actually afford to go to the track and even go out and have a nice dinner, but now it is just not that way.

We would get a room at the Del Mar Hilton at the horse player rate of $59 a night; we would park our car in their lot, but not now. The rooms are in the $200 range and they charge you to park your car even if you are staying there.

But the one thing that I miss the most is that the umbrellas are gone.

If you got to the track when the gates opened you could get seats right by the saddling area, they were just great. We would go to the store the night before and load up a cooler with beer and food.

We would drive Jim Long over and drop him off at the gate and he would shoot in and grab the best umbrella seat, where we could see the big tote board, the horses coming out and all the sun-tanned girls.

We would just sit and relax all day, and back then we would even get a winner or two.

Now the umbrellas are gone, and you will be arrested if you try and bring beer in the gate and the boys would even smoke a cigar – if you tried to smoke a cigar at the track today, bye bye.

So instead of buying a case of beer for 10 bucks and some bread and cold cuts for 10 bucks now you need to pay $7.50 for a bottle of beer. One thing is for sure on opening day the Del Mar handle will be down but there will be a huge handle at the beer stand and sandwich stand.

There will be more people on opening day just hanging and checking things out than there will be betting. After having a little lunch and a few Buds there will be little money to bet on what most likely will be a sorry card.

But we do have one thing to look forward to and that is Patrick Valenzuela will be back and continue his saga of the nine lives of P Val. Hopefully we will still hear Bing Crosby singing, "Where the turf meets the surf down at old Del Mar" or will the all knowing in charge change that song like they did at the Belmont when they ditched Frank Sinatra.

I just may take a little jaunt down for a few days if I can find a free room and if I am able to scrape a few bucks together, but right now it just doesn’t look good and I really don’t care because it is just not the way it was, and boy would I love to go back just one more time, where the turf meets the surf down at old Del Mar; take a train, take a plane, take a car, I would just love to be back at old Del Mar.

A few angles to look for if you are at the track or at your favorite race book; keep an eye on the opening odds and look for horses that are bet down on the first flash and then creep back up, you will catch some good plays.

One trainer you really need to watch will be A. C. Avila; when he has a horse ready to run they will get a ton of early action. Especially keep an eye on the maiden races for this angle.

What I love to see is when a horse is 10/1 on the morning line and on the first flash the horse opens at 2/1.

If you are taking the 4½ hour trip to Del Mar just to get out of this 115 degree heat just remember to load up with a lot of cash, you will need it.

Football is right around the corner and I noticed that the two big favorites to win the BCS Championship game are Alabama at 9/2 and Ohio State at 5/1. I saw these lines on Pinnacle with all the others much higher so the odds-makers at this big time book see it as a two team race.

We have exhibition football right around the corner and I will be making selections on all the games, so stay tuned and keep visiting this website.

Race comp Saturday was a huge success at Palace Station and the big guy who just doesn’t get any respect, Zack Goldberg, was as crazy as ever; Palace will have two more this month so get over there and get some free comps from the nutty Goldberg.