Del Mar: An oasis in a sports sauna bath

Jul 16, 2002 5:20 AM

With the temps at over the 100 mark on a daily basis, perspiration is building in more ways than one with Del Mar around the corner.

I can feel cool breezes now and see the ponies driving down the stretch. There is absolutely nothing finer than being in Del Mar in August. Even if you can’t pluck a winner, just getting away from this heat and traffic is worth all the losers the races can deal you.

One of the best things about this oceanside track is the Damon Runyon characters that still roam the grandstands and the clubhouse. I have been going to Del Mar for over 25 years and still see the same diehard horse players, just a little older and shorter.

Another thing that never changes is the availability of good things. One quick walk from the ticket window can bring you at least three sure things. Every now and then one of them even gets to the finish line first.

Being at any racetrack is great, the smell, the people, the excitement that’s in the air when your horse comes back to the winner’s circle to the cheers of the fans.

You can even tell that the horse appreciates all the attention. If you have never made this little jaunt, just a simple five-hour drive or about an hour by air, you owe it to yourself whether an everyday horse player or just a casual better.

I guarantee a great time, if only to cool off. It is also exciting to know that by the time you get back it will almost be football season. After another lackluster baseball All Star Game with a pending strike, the steroid question running rampant, players jumping from one team to another and salaries in the clouds who cares?

It’s not about baseball anymore, but about the players and owners. It’s not about the baseball fan, but the owners getting robbed by the players.

Bring on football, I don’t mind laying —7 at 10/11. Bring on those parlay cards, ½ point, teasers, superteasers, reverse teasers, ties win, Sunday, Monday, 10-teamers, I’m getting so excited.

This is the time of year you can really appreciate living in Vegas, just five hours to San Diego and football season, what a life, it just doesn’t get any better. I forgot, football contests everywhere.

So don’t let this heat get you down, and don’t let baseball depress you. It will be over soon and life will begin again. It’s almost like the mover cocoon.

I will be releasing my top football plays in this column starting the first week of exhibitions in the NFL and the beginning of the college season. Looking forward to a winning season, so stay tuned. Do not switch channels.