Off and running for the 82nd year, the Del Mar Thoroughbred meet has been a hot bed for the sport to say the very least. Located as they tout “just a good chip shot from the Pacific Ocean”, this piece of heaven on earth has enjoyed a dynamic opening two weeks. Let’s take a quick look at a few of the reasons…
If we get past the scenery of the Seaside Oval, which as we know is breathtaking, it begins with the level of competition. Large and very competitive fields have been the norm during these first six days of racing. There have been no “gimmes” for anyone and there have been more than a few heavy-hitting headknockers. With 61 races now in the history books, 39 different trainers have danced to the winner’s circle and 19 different riders have booted home a winner.
“I think the biggest thing the first two weeks has told us is everyone wants to win at Del Mar”, says California training staple Doug O’Neill. “You drop your horse a level or two and think you have a huge chance and then you see all the other entries and realize the water is still very deep. It has been some crazy, competitive stuff.”
The 2020 meet was a very good one for trainer Peter Miller as he topped all conditioners in wins (28) and purse money ($1,499,572). Off to a good start again in 2021, this “California Kid” is atop the early standings again in wins with 4.
“So far it has been very competitive here at what we consider our home track”, says Miller, a resident of Encinitas, California. “Right now we are all scratching for wins and there are no “easy” races.”
The large fields and super competition has been great for the fans in many aspects. Of course the suspense of it all makes things hotter than a piece of Nashville chicken, but that is just the beginning. Winning tickets have yielded some very nice returns thus far. A sampling of two popular plays exemplify the delight Del Mar has provided at the wagering windows. The 50 cent late pick four has paid an average of $612.45 to those engaging in that form of exotic play. In the ten stakes races that have taken place thus far, the 10 cent superfecta box has returned an average of $303.73 on a $2.40 investment. In a word…CHA-CHING!!!
Racing at Del Mar resumes on Thursday, July 29 with an eight race card. Stakes action picks up on Friday July 30 with the Real Good Deal for California bred runners at 7 furlongs. The Bing Crosby Stakes, a win and you are in race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is the headliner on Saturday with the Clement Hirsch slated for Sunday as a Breeders’ Cup Distaff win and you are in race.