Do you have a bucket list of things to do in this life? My husband doesn't have a written one, but he does have a mental one. For years he has been telling me that he needs to take me to the horse races. Everyone needs to go just once.
He grew up in the Los Angeles area and he loved going to the horse races at Hollywood Park with his friend in his later high school years. He has great stories about how his older looking appearance allowed him to place the bets for his wealthier friend. Hollywood Park closed last December after 75 years of races. Now Del Mar Race Track has started a fall season in addition to their summer season hoping to take up the slack.
This mural inside depicts the celebrities who have enjoyed some surf and turf over the years.
Bing Crosby is first on the mural having created Del Mar. The new fall season is known as the "Bing Crosby Season." I copied the following from Wikpedia:
When Del Mar opened in 1937, Bing Crosby was at the gate to personally greet the fans. On August 12, 1938, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club hosted a $25,000 winner-take-all match race between Charles S. Howard's Seabiscuit and the Binglin Stable's colt, Ligaroti. In an era when horse racing ranked second in popularity with Americans to Major League Baseball, the match race was much written and talked about and was the first nationwide broadcast of a Thoroughbred race by NBC radio. In the race, Seabiscuit was ridden by jockey George Woolf and Ligaroti by Noel Richardson. In front of a record crowd that helped make the fledgling Del Mar race track a success, Seabiscuit won an exciting battle by a nose.
Now that is some history and it makes this track a year older than the now closed Hollywood Park. Trains used to run to Del Mar from Los Angeles. Del Mar has been renovated and the turf track widened and, of course, there is a big screen so you can follow the horses around the back stretch.
I loved watching the whole culture of the track as well as the logistics of preparing for each race which were held about thirty minutes apart for a total of nine. We missed the first two but the crowd was a fluid one.
Glen's high school friend taught him how to read a race form. Note: Glen wants to make sure that everyone knows he hasn't been to the races for over thirty years :)
Each race is heralded in by the trumpet call and the horses are led out one by one.
Then it is time for a warm up as the starting gate is put in place.
Both dirt and turf tracks were used and the gate moved according to the distance to be run.
And they are off!
And they are so fast. I was intrigued by the pure beauty of these Thoroughbred horses. As Glen called it, "They are the prima ballerinas of the horse world."
We were seated just above the finish line. Now I know more about odds and placing for win or to show. All Glen's bets were $2 and he was breaking even until the last two races, mostly because he started picking horses based on their names which matched those of his grand children and children, like "Warren walk about and Welcome home Ryan." It was a fun afternoon and another bucket list item has been checked.
As we left the track an added bonus was the drive on Highway 101 as the sun set over the ocean.
You're welcome! Nothing better than ocean meeting the sky at sunset. Then we journeyed on to Carlsbad and Pelly's for dinner. I know that I've discussed Pelly's before on my blog, but honestly it is the best for fresh sea food. It may not be fancy but it is delicious! And we can tell that the word is out because it is busier and the wait is longer. Remember, turn off the 5 at Poinsettia Lane, go west and turn at the first left past the freeway. It is hidden in the middle of the shopping center behind Starbucks and Subway. Don't let the chains deter you! Go on back and get in line.