Del Mar Park Racing Tips
When you want to bet Del Mar, mark these stakes down on your racing calendar as some of the major horse racing events held each year on the West coast.
When Hollywood Park closed in 2014, Del Mar inherited one of the most famous races in America in the form of the Hollywood Derby, a race for three-year-olds racing 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Run in late November or early December, the race is currently worth a total purse of $300,000 and is an important event for horses vying for end-of-year awards for the best turf runners in North America.
The highlight of the summer meet at Del Mar is the $1 million Pacific Classic, for horses aged three-and-up racing 1 1/4 miles on the dirt course. Since 2008, the Pacific Classic has been part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, whereby the winner gains an automatic entry into the BC Classic.
Among other notable events in Pacific Classic history, in 2003 jockey Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win a $1 million race when she took the Classic aboard Candy Ride in a track-and-race record time that stands to this day.
In what has become one of the most important stakes races of the year for fillies and mares, the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes is run every July at Del Mar on the dirt course at the distance of 1 1/16 miles. In recent years the race has seen some excellent rivalries develop and in 2016, Stellar Wind took the win after a stretch of battle with the great Beholder, who had beaten her in their previous match up. Hall of Fame superstar Zenyatta took the Hirsch three times in a row from 2008-10.
The Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes is named for the late Hollywood star and founding member of the Del Mar Racetrack. It's open to horses aged three and older, and is a six-furlong sprint on the dirt for a purse of $300,000. In 2016 Lord Nelson won the race and in the process set a new race-record time of 1:07.65, only 5/100th of a second off the Del Mar record time for the distance.
In recent years the road to the Kentucky Derby has gone through Del Mar, as the last two winners of the Kentucky Derby, Nyquist and American Pharoah, both won the Del Mar Futurity during their two-year-old racing season. California-based trainer Bob Baffert has all but owned the Del Mar Futurity since 1996, as his horses have won 13 of the past 20 races, including seven-in-a-row from 1996 to 2002.