Del Mar Report #1: Opening Weekend a Success

Del Mar - Photo Credit: Emily Shields
Emily Shields

Three Stars of the Week

– 1st Star: MIDNIGHT STORM – As far as California turf racing goes this horse is the hottest thing going right now.  Fresh off a nice win at Santa Anita in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile Midnight Storm was back for more in the Sunday featured Grade 2 Eddie Reed Stakes as he went wire to wire to prevail in a very gutty performance.  He’s now won four races over the Del Mar turf course, and with this win he avenged his fifth place effort in this same race last year.  Speaking of last year, he tried dirt after this race in 2015 as he entered in the Pacific Classic.  It didn’t go well there so I suspect he’ll stick to turf if he runs again at Del Mar in 2016.

– 2nd Star: SHE’S NOT HERE – This mare loves Del Mar!  You can’t say she was coming into this years Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Handicap in great form as she was 0 for her last 5, and hadn’t even hit the board in any of those races.  However, the defending Yellow Ribbon Handicap winner just runs better at Del Mar and was just able to prevail by a neck in a close blanket type finish.  The win improves her record to 3 for 4 over the Del Mar surface, and you can be sure that they’ll try to enter her here one more time before the meet is over.

– 3rd Star: MONSTER BEA – The Oceanside Stakes, which is the opening stakes race of the season at Del Mar, can be a tricky one to handicap every year and this year was no different.  Monster Bea went off at 12-1 in the race, and flew by them all late including the well meant Moonlight Drive to win by a little over two lengths.  The win gives Monster Bea two wins in a row after going through a six race losing streak.  This type of performance will definitely set the horse up for non-restricted stakes next time out, perhaps later on in the Del Mar meeting.

Flop of the Week

– BOLO – Another poor effort from him on Sunday in the Eddie Reed Stakes as he finished last.  Just doesn’t look to be the same horse he once was, and not sure what the options are now for him.  Perhaps one more shot against weaker company to see if he still wants to run.

Trainer Standings Jockey Standings
1. Phillip D’Amato – 3 1. Santiago Gonzalez – 4
1. John Sadler – 3 2. Kent Desormeaux – 3
1. Doug O’Neill – 3 2. Tyler Baze – 3
4. Peter Miller – 2 2. Flavien Prat – 3
4. Neil Drysdale – 2 5. Rafael Bejarano – 2
4. Gary Sherlock – 2 5. Gray Stevens – 2
7. Victor Oliver – 1 5. Victor Espinoza – 2
7. Jerry Hollendorfer – 1 5. Mario Gutierrez – 2
7. Jerry Wallace – 1 5. Stewart Elliott – 2

Preview to Next Week

Wed. Jul. 20th C.E.R.F. Stakes
Fillies & Mares, Three-year-olds & up, N/W S/S $50,000 since March 1
$75,000 Added
6 Furlongs
Fillies, Three-year-olds, Cal-Bred
$150,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sat. Jul. 23rd SAN DIEGO HANDICAP (Gr. II)
Three-year-olds & up
$200,000 Guaranteed
1 1/16 Miles
Fillies, Three-year-olds
$200,000 Guaranteed
1 Mile (Turf)
Three-year-olds & up, Cal-Bred
$150,000 Guaranteed
1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
Three-year-olds & up
$100,000 Guaranteed
1 1/2 Miles

Opening Weekend a Success

Del Mar’s 77th summer racing season fired right out of the gate with a solid set of numbers in the bank after the opening three-day weekend at the shore oval.

On-track attendance was up 13.4% after the Friday-Saturday-Sunday beginning and overall handle was up even more at a plus 14.3%. It was an ideal start for a journey that will stretch out until Labor Day Monday, September 5.

“It was great to see San Diegans and racing fans in general respond so positively to our opening week,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club president Joe Harper. “Good crowds; good racing; good action at the window – that’s what Del Mar’s all about.”

Topped off by the Friday opening-day party of 42,562, the three-day crowd at the seaside racing palace totaled out at 76,962 for a daily average of 25,654. Last year the three-day average was 22,613.

Bettors responded favorably to the second year of Del Mar’s new dirt track and its maturing turf course, not to mention the large fields and the highly competitive racing product.

Overall, the track saw wagering reach $15,827,100 per day, a rise of nearly $2 million above last year’s $13,848,778 three-day average.

California off-track wagering numbers showed healthy gains of 12.3% with a rise of more than $600,000 per day during the extended weekend. Out-of-state wagering raced up even higher, providing a 22% gain at more than $1.2 million each afternoon above the 2015 digits for the three days. After three afternoons on-track wagering was up 1.7%.

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