Del Mar is one of the many beachside communities in San Diego County that makes this region a great place to call home. A playground for the rich and famous, Del Mar’s European vibe gives it a uniquely tranquil pace that contrasts with its neighbors’ busy and active lifestyles.
Yet, Del Mar is far from a sleepy village. Its collection of shops, boutiques, hotels, and restaurants rivals that of the French or Italian Riviera. In addition to hosting the annual San Diego County Fair, Del Mar is also the stage for major horse racing events that draw thousands of fans and visitors to San Diego every year.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club was founded in the 1930s by Bing Crosby and partners that included actors Pat O’Brien and Gary Cooper. When it opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was present at the gates to welcome the fans.
The DMTC leases and operates Del Mar Racetrack, a thoroughbred horse racing track located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Owned by the State of California, the Del Mar Racetrack is the second largest horseracing facility in the United States, with an audience capacity of about 44,000. It adopted the catchphrase “Where the turf meets the surf” because of the fairgrounds’ location next to the ocean.
The most famous race staged by the DMTC was the match between Charles S. Howard’s Seabiscuit and the Binglin Stable’s Ligaroti in 1938. The winner-take-all prize money was $25,000. It was the first thoroughbred race broadcasted nationwide on radio, and the close, by-a-nose win by Seabiscuit is now the stuff of horseracing legend.
Since then, Del Mar Racetrack has become an important summer destination for racing aficionados, featuring high-stakes races that saw the rise of fabled jockeys like Bill Shoemaker.
Del Mar Racetrack facilities
In addition to a six-level seating area and two separate “party areas” – the Pacific Pavilion and the Seaside Tropical Cabana – Del Mar Racetrack is also home to Seaside Stage, the venue of the Summer Concert Series that comes free with a paid racetrack admission.
All facility levels feature at least one of four Trackside Restaurants, which also serve as premium seating areas. Accommodation in these restaurants is so popular during major races that advanced table drawing events are often held to reserve tables for race day.
The summer racing season also includes Camp Del Mar, a day camp program for kids aged 5 to 12, offering activities like crafts, outdoor games, and miniature golf.
Racing season events
The DMTC organizes two racing seasons a year – the summer and fall seasons. These events are considered a class apart from other horseracing events in the country, capturing the Old Hollywood glamour, excitement, and sophistication of the venue and the sport.
The summer racing season traditionally opens a few days after the end of the San Diego County Fair. This year, the much-anticipated opening takes place on July 19, and the season will run up to Labor Day, September 4. The season’s highlight is the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic, which will be held on August 19.
The fall season, also known as the Del Mar Bing Crosby Season, will run from November 1 to 26 this year. DMTC’s very first Breeders Cup will be the highlight of the season.
And while these racing events are Del Mar’s trademark attractions, this affluent village has more to offer. If you have any questions about life in Del Mar, or if you would like to get started in your home search in any San Diego County community, feel free to give us a call.