Record crowd of 46,588 for Del Mar opener

by | 07.20.2011 | 10:13pm

They took planes, they took trains, they took cars — especially limousines, lots of limos. Some of them probably came on rollerblades and skateboards. They heard Bing Crosby croon about where the turf meets the surf, and I'm sure they downed plenty of cold refreshments.

Del Mar's opening day crowd on Wednesday totalled 46,588, an all-time record that topped last year's previous high of 45,309. They bet, too, contributing toward total handle of $13,234,590, a 6.2% increase from the $12,461,600 bet in 2010.

The 72nd season of summer racing at Del Mar got started without me this year, my first opening-day pass in several years. There were some other regulars not attending opening day. No boycott or anything like that; more a matter of “been there, done that.” Seen the funny, sometimes elegant hats, the beautiful women, the sports celebrities (like New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, stylishly decked out in Dolce & Gabbana), the people more interested in being seen than seeing the races. But it's all part of what makes opening day at Del Mar so special.

It's not quite the place that's so crowded no one goes there anymore, but it's not a place for grumpy old men like me. That's why the Paulick Report sent out reinforcements to take my place this year in the form of my partner Brad Cummings and contributor John Scheinman, neither of whom has attended Del Mar previously. I'm looking forward to the video diary of their experiences at the seaside track and will be interested to see if their eyeballs popped out because of the attractive scenery.

As for me, I'll be there for the second week, when the form is a bit more established and the atmosphere is not quite so intense.

  • SixteenK Claimer

    Congrats to Del Mar on the record setting crowd. Hope it continues!

  • caroline

    It’s not a place for claustrophobic, impatient women either, but I applaud all those able to stomach the queues. I prefer Sundays, myself, and formerly loved Mondays…

    I’d like to point out that the end of chart equibase handle numbers (which you use in this piece) for southern California racetracks do, and have for an indeterminate number of years (at least dating to 1999 for at least one track), include local handle on “import” races. The absolute numbers are therefore inflated as a result, IF you interpret those handle numbers as reflecting betting on live races.

    It would be great to get a statement from The Jockey Club that their national handle figures don’t reflect bottom of equibase chart totals from California or any other state in which this practice is conducted since clearly that would involve some degree of double counting.

    The actual comparison of Del Mar live handle/pools today is more favorable in percentage terms, roughly 8% increase, with about 1/3 of the difference over 2010 coming from the players pick 5.

  • Kelso


    Record crowd in the 72nd season of Del Mar. 46,588 people came to the races today!

    The truth is……

    Jerry Jam can shut his pie hole. Though he may continue to be a miserable hater, it looks like Del Mar will be just fine without him and his incessant negativity!

    Go Baby Go!


  • Satch

    Actually interesting to watch on TV, too. The buzz about the place and the party atmosphere made watching the races more fun. Much better than the usual factory-type atmosphere at other tracks.

  • M-D


    Please provide a Del Mar babe-sighting report!

  • PTP

    Big meets are the future of the sport, in my opinion, and will be around forever. They are the only ones that show growth, while the rest of the sport has trouble.


  • Terry

    mobile website is cool! mobile.DMTC

  • dmd

    Shows what you get when you create a fun and exciting experience for fans. Del Mar does it right!

  • ace

    babe report-
    considered to be the best year ever for hotness, sorry you weren’t here

  • Late to the Party

    Much as I love Del Mar, I’m glad I wasn’t there. Anything over 30,000 at that track is too many people for comfort. Good for Del Mar though! If anyone had problems with traffic, parking, lines, etc. I hope they realize that they can come back at any other time and have a great time without the huge crowd inconveniences.

  • s/s

    The front side was a blast however I noticed their are many empty boarded up barns on the backside perhaps more than last year. As you know everyone wants a horse on opening week, then ship their horses back to Santa Anita or Hollywood, so the numbers will continue to dwindle as the meet goes on.

  • Del Mar Day 2
    2010 CHRIM Numbers – $6,988,054
    2011 Equibase Pool Total – $6,599,598
    DOWN $388,456

  • What is the policy on this website….I gave Day 2 Del Mar handle…cited the source of numbers and because they were DOWN nearly $400k….you delete the post…ah.. the unbiased Paulick Report.

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