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Del Mar News and Notes

Santa Anita Park closed out their five week fall meet on Sunday with two good race cards over the weekend after struggling the previous week with entries. The highlight on Sunday was the Rainbow pick six, which had not been hit by a single ticket holder the entire meet. The pool had climbed to almost $800,000 by Sunday and $4,593,444 was added to that with the mandatory payout. 354 ticket holders got it right on Sunday for a nice payout of $12,164 for the 20 cent wager. There was only one real long shot in the six race sequence and that was Clampett, who paid $21.20 in a maiden claimer and was dropping out of straight maiden races for the red hot Doug O’Neill barn. The other winning mutuels were between $7.60 and $11.40 and were certainly all playable. They did have a return to racing of the turf sprints down the hill this meet, which is a fan favorite, and there were no issues with regards to fatalities or accidents with that venue. Racing will not return to the Great Race Place until December 26, when they start their long six month stand with three Grade 1 races on the card, led by the ever popular Malibu stakes for sophomores at 7 furlongs on the main track.

But now racing returns to the ever popular Del Mar race track, just 25 miles north of San Diego and sitting just a few furlongs from the Pacific Ocean. This will be their 8th fall season which they call the Bing Crosby meet, named for one of the founders of this little race track way back in 1937. They will race for four weeks at Del Mar and they start with a five day week right off the bat this Wednesday. They will have stakes races just about every day of the meet and of course, the 38th edition of the Breeders Cup will be run this Friday and Saturday where the surf meets the turf. The meet will conclude on November 28 and that final week will have 7 graded stakes, all on the turf course, for their Fall Festival of turf racing. First post each day will be at 12:30 with the exception of the two Breeders Cup days and Thanksgiving Day, which will be at 11:00 AM. The track will run 8 races on weekdays and 9 races on both Saturday and Sunday each week. And most importantly, purses will increase 20% over last year’s fall meet across the board and will be at least 10% higher than Santa Anita’s recent fall meet. This is all due to the success of their 8 week summer meet. Unfortunately, Trevor Denman will not be on hand to call the races, as he recently slipped and fell at his home in Minnesota and suffered a herniated disc, which does not allow him to travel. Larry Collmus, who called the races here last year, will be on hand to fill in for the popular Denman.

This will be the second time that Del Mar has been able to host the World Series of thoroughbred racing, the first being in 2017, which was a rousing success with a total of $166 million wagered on the two days. They will have 10 races on this Friday with five Breeders Cup races and five other races on the under card, mostly made up of Cal bred stakes. First post Friday will be 11:55 AM. Then on Saturday they will run 12 races of which they will run 9 Breeders Cup races and three others on the under card. First post Saturday will be at 10:15 AM and will conclude with the B/C Classic at around 5:40 PM. Will the wagering pools be big for the Cup? You better believe it, as 19 countries will be co-mingled into the pools and for the first time ever, Hong Kong and Japan will be included. And if you’ve ever been to Sha Tin or Happy Valley in Hong Kong, and I have, then you know what kind of wagering takes place in those two venues with 100,000 patrons at the track daily. The five Breeders Cup races on Friday will all be for two year olds with what they call “Future Stars Friday” while the nine races on Saturday will be made up of 3 and up older horses. The first Breeders Cup race on Friday will be at 2:50 PM which will be race six on the program while on Saturday race four will be the first Breeders race at 12:05 PM.

Wagering on the Breeders Cup: $1.00 minimums will take place for win, place, show, daily double, exacta, and pick six wagering. 50 cent minimums will apply for trifecta, pick 3, pick 4, pick 5, and the super high five wagers. There will be a 10 cent minimum for the superfecta wager. Pick five and pick six wagering from Friday may carry over into Saturday should nobody hit the wager. Saturday has an all turf pick four which will be on races 5,7,9, and 11. There will be three SPECIAL DAILY DOUBLES that will encompass the two Breeders Cup days. One will be for the turf, races, 7 on Friday to race 10 on Saturday, one will be for the fillies, i.e. race 10 on Friday to race 11 on Saturday, and then one for the featured event each day, race 9 on Friday to race 12 on Saturday. Also, super high five wagers will be available both days, even if they are not Breeders Cup races. It’s just like football’s Super Bowl, a bevy of various wagers.

And finally, the Breeders Cup committee has allowed trainer Bob Baffert to run his horses in the two day Breeders Cup races, aren’t they nice? However, his stock will be under heavy scrutiny all the way. Since October 20, a team of two investigators, three security officers, and one B/C executive have been watching Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita on a 24 hour basis. Are you kidding me? What do they think he’s going to do, rob all the purse money from the track!! On November 2nd, samples of blood, urine, and hair will be taken from each of his Cup entrants and thoroughly examined. Is this over the top or what? Baffert has agreed to all of this and even has to pay for the extra scrutiny himself. All of this because of Medina Spirit and the Kentucky Derby (which still hasn’t been decided) and his other Class 4 violations the last two years (which are like misdemeanors, not felonies). As we have stated in this column all along, Baffert is not a cheater. He may very well be negligent in many areas, and he should be penalized for that negligence, but he doesn’t cheat to win races like so many other trainers in this country. Just for spite, I hope Baffert wins every Breeders Cup race that he has an entry in, and with some of the quality he has lined up, i.e. Gamine, Corniche, etc., he just might.

By Rod Young (Turfdom)

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