It’s never too early for horseplayers nationwide and especially those in Nevada to begin thinking about the Del Mar thoroughbred season.
In an announcement this week, the track has unveiled an added-money program including 41 stakes races worth $7.3 million during a 36-day season. 2017 will mark the 78th year for the fabled track founded in 1937 by Bing Crosby and a troop of his Hollywood cohorts. The summer thoroughbred season will serve as the precursor to the 34th edition of the Breeders' Cup slated for the first time at the seaside track as part of its fall season. The summer stakes are expected to serve as likely “preps” for horses being pointed for any of the 13 championship events that will be held on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4.
Summer racing commences on Wednesday, July 19 and concludes Labor Day, September 4. Saturday, August 19, is the date for this year’s $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic to be contested for the 27th time.
This year the Pacific Classic will headline a stakes tripleheader afternoon that also will offer the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks and the Grade II, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap. The Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies, is run at nine furlongs, while the Handicap, an 11-furlong marathon, is for 3-year-olds and up. Both of those races will be disputed over the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Del Mar returns to its traditional Wednesday opening this year and will race five-days-per-week (Wednesday through Sunday) for the entire summer, finishing with a six-day week concluding on the Labor Day Monday holiday. As usual, post time throughout the session will be at 2 p.m. with the exception of Fridays when the first race goes off at 4 p.m. for the first five weeks, then at 3:30 p.m. for the last two Fridays.