Del Mar Opening Day

And they’re off! Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s 82nd horse racing season begins [today] Friday, July 16 (Opening Day), and runs through Monday, Sept. 6 (Closing Day).

Each week, Del Mar will feature races Friday through Sunday for the first two weeks and Thursday through Sunday for the remainder of the season. Gates: 12:30 p.m. First Post: 2 p.m. (Starting July 23, every Friday gates open at 2:30 p.m. and First Post is at 4 p.m.).

No concerts after the races this year and no walk-up admission. Tickets and seats must be purchased online.

Watch for several new jockeys (men and women) joining the lineup this year. Trevor McCarthy and “Jersey” Joe Bravo are hanging their tack here, in addition to a pair of up-and-coming female riders, Jessica Pyfer and Ellie Ellington.

Del Mar will also have new strings of horses and stables from outside the Golden State, such as trainers Michael Maker and Mark Casse bringing strings of about 25 horses.

Additionally, California-based trainers will be recruiting and scouting horses from other tracks to bring to Del Mar in order to qualify for the lucrative “Ship & Win,” a program that offers starter bonuses for out-of-state winning horses.

Here’s some historical highlights from the track:

Record $2 Win: Cipria $263.40 (September 1955)

Record $2 Daily Double: $5,299.30 (July 1971)

Record of $2 Pick 6 $2 million 100,000 (August 2004)

Highest Single Day Track Attendance: 47,339 (July 2012)

Longtime track announcer Trevor Denman returns to the microphone after a yearlong absence due to COVID-19 concerns. The veteran race caller will be another bright spot to Del Mar racing along with the addition of fans…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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