Highlighted by seven Grade I races,
two new juvenile events on the grass and notable purse increases to 10
of its major offerings, Del Mar will present a robust summer schedule of
33 “advertised” and 10 “overnight” stakes with a
total value of $7,775,000 during its highly anticipated 37-day race
The seaside track, founded by
entertainment icon Bing Crosby in 1937, will be celebrating the
anniversary of its 75th year during its July 18 to September 5 stand.
And as it has for the past three seasons, it will conduct its racing on a
Wednesday through Sunday basis with an additional day of sport on Labor
Day Monday, September 3.
Foremost among the track’s showcase
events will be the 22nd edition of the $1,000,000 TVG Pacific Classic, a
10-furlong testing for 3-year-olds and up that will anchor a stakes
tripleheader program on Sunday, August 26. The Grade I headliner was
captured in 2011 by Eclipse champion Acclamation and he’s considered a
solid candidate to try for the prize again in 2012.
The two new juvenile contests – the
Oak Tree Juvenile Turf and the Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf – each
will be run at a mile on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course with purses of
$100,000. The races, meant as stepping stones toward the two Breeders’
Cup’s juvenile grass offerings, also expand the track’s emphasis on its
2-year-old program, considered by many to be among the best in the
nation. The Oak Tree Juvenile Fillies Turf will be run on Labor Day,
while the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf will be unveiled on closing day.
The introduction of the Oak Tree name
to the Del Mar stakes roster serves as a salute to the now-dormant
racing association that conducted one of the most successful and
beneficial meetings in the country for more than 40 years up until 2010,
running almost exclusively at Santa Anita Park. The group, which over
the years dispensed more than $26 million to racing-related charities,
has partially funded the two new juvenile events and also added funds to
Del Mar’s Palomar Handicap, which this year will be renamed the Yellow
Ribbon Handicap, a title with original Oak Tree ties. That Grade II
race, which will be run under the same conditions as in the past (mile
and one-sixteenth on turf, fillies and mares, 3 and up), will be
presented on Labor Day with a purse of $250,000.
“Having the Oak Tree name linked with
that of Del Mar’s is an honor for both groups,” said Del Mar’s chief
executive officer and president Joe Harper. “Oak Tree stands for the
best in this business; they always did and they always will. Clement
Hirsch, my mentor, was an original founder of both Oak Tree and the Del
Mar Thoroughbred Club and my first job in racing management was with him
at Oak Tree. I couldn’t be happier to see us in a way come together
Del Mar’s 10 stakes purse increases
serve a two-fold purpose for the most part – ensuring that the track’s
Grade I program has no race with a value less than $300,000 and also
boosting its California-bred offerings as further encouragement for the
state’s breeding industry.
Four Grade I races – the Bing Crosby
Stakes (July 29), the Del Mar Oaks (August 18), the Del Mar Debutante
(September 1) and the Del Mar Futurity (September 5) – all have had
their values enhanced by $50,000 to $300,000 for the upcoming meeting.
Additionally, four California-bred stakes also have been made more
lucrative, two at $100,000 additional each – the Fleet Treat Stakes
(July 28) and the Real Good Deal Stakes (August 3) – making them each
worth $200,000, while two others – the Generous Portion Stakes (August
29) and the I’m Smokin Stakes (September 3) – have been upped by $50,000
to $150,000 each. Finally, the Grade II Del Mar Derby (September 2),
the track’s 3-year-old championship race, has had an additional $50,000
tacked on to its conditions meaning it will run for the 68th time this
year with a $300,000 prize and, as noted earlier, the newly renamed
Yellow Ribbon Handicap
has been raised
“We are projecting good things for
this anniversary summer, especially on our high end,” said Del Mar’s
executive vice president for racing and racing secretary Tom Robbins.
“If you’ve got good horses, we’ve got good places to go with them. And
we’re leading the charge with tracks around the state that are rewarding
owners for buying and racing California-breds. Our breeding industry is
heading for a turnaround and our Cal-bred purses will help to show the
Besides the four Grade Is with added
purse value and, of course, the Grade I Pacific Classic, Del Mar also
will present two additional Grade I features – the $300,000 Eddie Read
Stakes (July 21) and the $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (August 4).
The track will present two or more
stakes on nine different days throughout the meet, topped by the Pacific
Classic Day triple-header that also will spotlight a pair of Grade II
tussles -- the $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes at seven furlongs and the
$200,000 Del Mar Mile on the lawn.
Five of Del Mar’s stakes have been
tabbed as “Win and You’re In” races by the Breeders’ Cup, allowing the
winners automatic entry and additional monetary benefits into their
designated season-ending championship events. Those races are the
$200,000 San Diego Handicap (July 28), the Clement L. Hirsch, the
$200,000 Del Mar Handicap (August 25), the TVG Pacific Classic and the
Del Mar Futurity.