Breeders Cup 2021 – Del Mar Friday 5th & Saturday 6th November 2021

Where the turf meets the surf, down at old Del Mar, take a plane, take a train, take a car. There is a smile on every face, and a winner in each race, where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar

What a cracking couple of days racing, with some surprises and real drama, and a very nice result for me in the end with 8 winners from the 14 races and a level stakes profit of +23.65 

Breeders Cup Del Mar 2021 Ante-Post Portfolio

Breeders Cup Sprint: Jackies Warrior 13-8

Breeders Cup Classic: Essential Quality 3-1

Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint: Gamine 4-6

Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf: War Like Goddess  100-30

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint: Averly Jane 11-4

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies: Echo Zulu 11-10

FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile presented by PDJF: Space Blues 5-2  NRNB

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf:  Modern Games 3-1 NRNB

Big Ass Fans Breeders Cup Dirt Mile: Life Is Good 4-5 NRNB


Future Stars Friday

If like me you are here in the UK rather than California ‘where the Surf meets the Turf’ you can still enjoy every race. Sky Racing will be all over it showing all the action whilst ITV Racing will be on ITV4 from 9.30pm on the Friday evening for Future Stars Friday and 7.30pm on Saturday, before switching to the main ITV channel from 11.15pm for the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf and Longines Breeders' Cup Classic.

They get underway at 9.50pm our time in the UK for the Breeders Cup Future Stars Friday racecard. We have five races to get involved with and hopefully I have a winner or five to get the meeting off to a flying start.  

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint 5f

The only race over the two days that isn’t a Grade One gets the meeting underway. It should surprise no one that Wesley Ward is well represented here, in fact he trains the two that head the market. Averly Jane is four from four and looked all about speed thus far. Apparently, they have been training her to come from behind as well at home so she can be more versatile but it would be no surprise if she blasted out and led every yard. An easy all the way winner at Keeneland last time in the Listed Indian Summer Stakes visually she has been very impressive thus far and is the pick in the opener. 11-4 was the best price about earlier in the week and I took that on Monday, she is shorter now. Ward said this week “We’re doing good and everything looks great. Averly Jane is going to be tough (to beat), but I like Twilight Gleaming too. She’s in there with a really good chance as well and I think Kaufymaker is coming into it in good shape too. All three have good chances and they all deserve to be there.”

Netjets Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies 1m½f (Dirt)

Echo Zulu is short but the daughter of multiple G.1 winner including the Breeders' Cup Classic Gun Runner is three from three,   two of them at this G.1 level and the Steve Asmussen trained filly looks very good. She won the G.1 Frizette Stakes by 7¼ lengths as her warm-up down the coast at Belmont Park and I was very impressed with what she did there; simply went further and further clear under no more than encouragement from Ricardo Jr Santana in the saddle. As it happens for the big race Joel Rosario will get the leg-up suggesting Steve Asmussen aint taking any chances. Santana has only ridden at Del mar twice in his entire career whilst Rosario has three leading rider titles to his credit at the Californian racetrack and thirteen Breeders Cup race victories under his belt. The 11-10 I took a few days back aint big but I have it happily as she is now odds-on!  

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf 1m

Probably one of the most open races of the two days. Hello You looks to be going in the right direction and won the G.2 Rockfel Stakes over 7f at HQ on good-firm last time nicely and the form of the race is fair. Malavath travel from France but this is a step up on the six furlongs she has been running at and will be by far the fastest ground she has ever encountered; G.2 Criterium De Maisons-Laffitte win was on heavy! Koala Princess is seen by a few as the main hope of the home team, she is two from two, but the trip is also a step into the unknown for her. With a few of these having been campaigned at sprint distances it would be no surprise if they went quick early and that could set it up for one stalking the early paces. The grey Cairo Memories is two from two over a mile so enters calculations but is up markedly in class here. That leaves me with Pizza Bianca who chased home Wild Beauty in the G.1 Natalma Stakes over a mile at Woodbine last time out, found a little trouble turning in which slowed her run at a crucial time. That’s pretty good form, the Godolphin filly going on to finish fifth, not beaten far, in the G.1 Fillies' Mile at HQ in October. She had seen out the trip really well on debut to win at Saratoga over 1m½f in July and I think she is worth an interest here. Breaking from stall one Jose Ortiz should be able to slot her in just off the leaders early and I think she will be hitting top gear as a number of these start to cry enough. Get on at 15-2 best odds guaranteed this morning.  

TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance 1m½f (dirt)

It was to be the East versus West match-up with the Chad Brown trained Jack Christopher travelling from New York to take on the Bob Baffert trained Corniche in their California backyard. Sadly, it won’t now happen Jack Christopher being a non-runner. Corniche was likely going to be my bet, should have gone ante-post with hindsight, so is a solid looking punt now. Unbeaten in two starts he took the G.1 American Pharoah Stakes last time at Santa Anita up the coast; his other win was here at Del Mar albeit a little maiden over 5½f on debut. He wasn’t lucky in the draw and is widest of all in twelve but the concern is eased a little with the biggest danger not running. Visually the victory in the G.1 American Pharoah Stakes looked very impressive to me, I think there may be quite a bit more to come from this colt yet. Mike Smith was doing no more than gentle hands and heels encouragement as he cruised clear of the field ears pricked down the straight, in fact the jockey was checking the TV screen he was so relaxed. He may not lead from out wide but I am sure Mike Smith can burst him from the stalls and get across into a decent position and that should be good enough if he has as much up his sleeve as I think he has. I am on at 7-4 best odds guaranteed this morning.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf 1m

It will be Saturday morning by the time they go down for this it being due off at 12.30am our time; it’s a race that should be worth the wait though as it looks competitive. Aidan O’Brien saddles Glounthaune but he was a well beaten sixth in the G.1 7f Dewhurst Stakes and looks held by a few in here. Dubawi Legend has just a maiden win to his name but was second to Native Trail last time out in the aforementioned G.1 7f Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket which is obviously pretty strong form. Being drawn 14 of 14 aint helped his chances though and even open to improvement yet as he is the Hugo Plamer trained colt isn’t for me. Albahr has form on his travels having won the G.1 Summer Stakes over a mile at Woodbine last time (tipped on here) and has to be shortlisted. Third on debut he has won all four starts since and is proven at the trip with two wins over a mile. Dettori rides again as he did in Canada last time. Stable mate Modern Games is another I have followed before and he warmed up with a good win in the 7f G.3 Tattersalls Stakes at HQ in September. The son of Dubawi is drawn in one with stable mate Albahr next door in two which could be seen as a good thing as they both like to be prominent from the off but there is of course the danger that they get in each other's way! My preference is slightly for Modern Games as I feel there is the potential for a little more yet and his win in the Tattersalls Stakes suggested he had a big race victory in him and the mile round here should be just fine. He is the pick and I am on at 3-1 taken earlier this week. Talking on track at Del Mar Thursday Charlie Appleby said: “In the Juvenile Turf Modern Games comes in off the back of a nice win in the Sommerville Stakes. He’s got a nice draw and I think he’s got the pace to travel well around here and he’s probably going to be a worthy favourite. With the rub of the green he’ll be hard to beat."

Breeders Cup Saturday

What an opening evening! I had four out of the five winners meaning I end the evening +13.85 to level stakes and it is already a winning weekend and a case of how much can I win now! 

Wow there was some drama though, what was going on with the last! With Albahr rearing up in the stalls and being withdrawn it was announced on track after a vet inspection Modern Games had been scratched. After a couple of minutes of confusion he was then back in the race but racing for 'purse money' only and couldn't bet on. In the States Tiz The Bomb, Mackinnon and Grafton Street were declared the first three for betting purposes, although Paddy Power (who I was on with) were among the bookmakers who said they would pay out on the two 'winners'. Crazy.  I'm coming for you again Bookies on Saturday. 

Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint 7f (Dirt)

The Grade One 7f Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint looks at the mercy of last year's winner Gamine again and she is priced appropriately at 4-6 which I took over a week ago. She dropped back in distance for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint after not seeing out the 1m1f in the Kentucky Oaks last season (later disqualified for a positive test for Betamethasone) and ran the competition off their feet. She took on 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress and crack sprinters such as Bell’s the One and Sconsin and trounced them, winning by over six lengths. Gamine has not been beaten since, taking the G.3 Las Flores, the G.1 Derby City Distaff, the G.2 Great Lady M and the G.1 Ballerina. She has been so dominant at eight furlongs or less that only six rivals even pre-entered against her! She will be the banker of the meeting many people.  

Breeders Cup Turf Sprint 5f

I nearly backed A Case Of You for the G.1 d Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp last month when he broke his G.1 duck. He is consistent and should go well again but all his form is on considerably softer going. Defending Champion Glass Slippers and Sprint Cup winner Emaraaty Ana give Kevin Ryan a decent chance of collecting the pot again. Glass Slippers was the first European-trained winner of this race year. She has the inside berth but has been a little below her best this season. Emaraaty Ana might be the European raiding parties best hope of victory, he should be fine on the going, but I wonder if he is better over six furlongs. I am going with the Wesley Ward trained Golden Pal. The colt has lost on both starts in the UK, second in the G.2 Norfolk Stakes as a two-year-old just caught in the last strides and this summer in the G.1 Nunthorpe he was leading into the final furlong before fading. He put that defeat behind him landing a Keeneland G.2 in October leading from the off and showing some guts to go again when challenged in the final furlong to win by two-lengths. Breaking from three the three-year-old colt has a great chance to lead here and put his greater experience round tight American tracks to good use. I have a bit of the 3-1 best odds guaranteed. Wesley seems confident enough saying “Golden Pal is doing super. I don’t know what happened in York – but he’s doing really good right now, I can tell you that. Everyone knows he’s my man – he’s special.” 

Big Ass Fans Breeders Cup Dirt Mile

Life Is Good warmed up for the big night with an easy 5¼ length win in the G.2 Kelso Handicap over a mile at Belmont Park. He was of course the Kentucky Derby favourite earlier in the season before missing the entire Triple Crown series with an injured hind ankle, but looks in fine form again now. Only beaten once in his career, and that by just a neck over 7f by favourite for the Breeders' Cup Sprint Jackies Warrior at Saratoga on his comeback run from injury in August, he looks the one to beat for this. I should have probably got on earlier but have the 4-5“He’s a special talent, I have been fortunate enough to be around some good ones that are in the top tenth of one percent and he displays that kind of talent,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of him in the build-up. Silver State looks the best bet for a place and would be the pick of the rest. 

Breeders Cup Filly & Mares Turf 1m3f

Somewhat surprisingly the raiding party isn’t that strong for this with Love and last year's winner Audarya both having something to prove after average campaigns. I have gone with one of the home team in the shape of War Like Goddess. The Bill Mott trained filly looked decent winning the G.1 Flower Bowl at Saratoga last time and has been improving with every run in 2021. Purchased for $30,000 at the 2019 Ocala Breeders' Sales she looks an absolute bargain having notched three consecutive graded stakes wins this year. I took the 100-30 with Paddy Power about the Yank filly a few days ago but she has lengthened slightly after it was confirmed Love comes for this. I find that surprising as she hasn’t looked as good this year and when you look at her middle-distance wins over her career, they have all been on galloping testing tracks such as Ascot, York and of course Epsom for the Oaks. None of them even slightly resemble the tight turning track at Del Mar with a run-in of only just over a furlong! 

Breeders Cup Sprint 6f (Dirt)

I thought Jackies Warrior was short enough at 13-8 when I took that in October but he has tightened further and stall two looks an ideal draw. Steve Asmussen has recently kept his charge to one-turn races as they like to call them in the States and the three-year-old is eight wins from nine starts over one-turn winning his last three starts including the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Grade One Stakes last time in which he and Life Is Good where clear of the field; four he beat that day including the second have won since. The colt looks to be at the peak of his powers coming into the big meeting and a number of judges the other side of the pond think the 6f Dirt track record could be under threat; from what I have seen I would agree with them. 

FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile presented by PDJF (Turf) 

I was always going to back Space Blues for the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile presented by PDJF, I am a big fan of the horse and if he is to win a big one over a mile a track such as Del Mar gives him as good a chance as any. Breaking from stall three is almost ideal, he can track the early pace, be perfectly positioned turning into the short straight and on such a short run-in his ability to turn on the turbo and nip clear should prove decisive. I honestly think he looks the best bet of the European raiders all weekend. I have the 5-2 NRNB. Charlie Appleby said of his charge earlier this week at Del Mar “I imagine Space Blues will be favourite, he’s got a nice draw in three and the perfect profile coming into the race, winning the York Stakes and we saw him winning the Foret. A few people have questioned stepping up to a mile and on a sounder surface, but he won in Saudi on quick ground and he won in Deauville on quick ground, so the surface doesn’t worry me. As regards the trip he broke his maiden over a mile. Admittedly it’s a different ball game winning a maiden at Nottingham to running round here over a mile, but he’s the class horse in the race. He travels well and is a big player off his draw.” Mother Earth is over from Ballydoyle and Aidan O’Brien appears to think she can put up a bold bid for glory whilst Mo Forza is clearly the big hope for the Americans.  

Breeders Cup Distaff 1m1f (Dirt)

Malathaat has to be considered, she is a gutsy type, but I just can’t she her picking off the best in this field late-on which is her style. Shedaresthedevil looks a decent filly and has won four out of five starts this year, including the G.1 1m½f Clement L. Hirsch Stakes here in August. A neck victory over Crystal Ball in the G.3 Locust Grove Stakes at Churchill Downs in September wasn’t the best warm-up but she still won. For me though there is only one to be on here and that is Letruska. The five-year-old mare has gone from strength to strength this season winning six of seven starts in 2021. The one defeat was to Shedaresthedevil by a head in the Azeri Stakes back in March giving that rival 5lb – they're off levels here. As her warm-up for this she won the G.1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland as she liked; Crystal Ball 6½ lengths back in fourth suggesting, on that line of from at least, that revenge on Shedaresthedevil is on the cards. Another bold bid to lead every yard is expected and I have the 13-8 BOG.    

Breeders Cup Turf 1m4f

There has been a shake-up to the field with a couple of withdrawals so Bolshoi Ballet is set to be a third contender for Aidan O’Brien after the late scratching of second-favourite Domestic Spending. He has been a disappointment this year truth be told but is a G.1 winner in America taking the Belmont Derby four months ago. Aidan O’Brien already had two contenders in the shape of Japan and Broome, after electing to run Love in the Filly & Mare Turf, but they both look to be running for place money at best. The Richard Mandella trained outsider United was also taken out meaning Channel Maker is now in the filed as well. Tarnawa defends the title she on in Keeneland last year. She might have two little ducks next to her name but you can hardly knock the form, second in the Irish Champion Stakes and second in the Arc! A concern is the going as it is by far the fastest ground she has ever encountered. trainer Dermot Weld did say a couple of weeks back “I’m well aware what we face is going to be a lot quicker and it is a concern – our good to firm or firm ground, I don’t think that is quite as firm as what I expect to find in Del Mar to be quite honest.” The mare has also been handed a wide draw in stall 13 which though not terrible with her style of running, she swooped late and wide last year, it aint great either and don’t forget it is a very short run-in from the last turn to the finish here. She is the top-rated, and a favourite of mine, but she may be vulnerable and is short enough in the betting - I am taking her on. Charlie Appleby has Yibir and Walton Street lining-up. Walton Street won a G.1 at Woodbine in September and is decent but perhaps not quite good enough for this. Stable mate Yibir has clearly been a little difficult to train at times, but the three-year-old gelding has talent as he showed when winning the G.2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York in August and valuable conditions race the Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park worth $630,000 as his warm-up in September on firm going, Bolshoi Ballet back in fourth. He came from last to first there, as he did at York, so the good news is it confirms he can be placed anywhere in the race, has run prominently before, dependent on pace which is advantageous. James Doyle said after winning the Great Voltigeur on him “he has got quite a potent kick. If they ran good sectionals over a mile and a half in America, it would play to his strengths because he has the tactical speed to travel wherever.” Charlie Appleby has said of the gelding “...we plan to have him around hopefully for the next few years..............hopefully, he can become one of those fun international campaigners.” I hope so and I am on at 8-1 BOG as I think if the jolly get turned over he is the most liekly to benefit.    

Breeders Cup Classic 1m2f (Dirt)

We will actually be into Sunday morning by the time they go down for the Classic as it’s due off at 12.40am our time; I'll probably be a few beers in by then as well!  

This really could be a classic as we have a top-class field lining-up. Bob Baffert trained and G.1 Kentucky Derby winner (at least for now following that positive test for Betamethasone) Medina Spirit is an intriguing runner. He won the G.1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita as his prep in October and has to be considered. Baffert trained runners can compete but he has had to agree to an unprecedented level of screening, observation and testing, including security officers with body cams for his runners! Hot Rod Charlie won the G.1 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx last time out but has seen the backside of a couple of these more than once and looks held. Art Collector has notched a hat-trick of wins since moving to the barn of trainer Bill Mott but regular jockey Luis Saez has deserted him for Essential Quality which tells you a fair bit. Brad Cox has every chance of training the winner as his Knicks Go has been favourite throughout the build-up having proved himself a very good horse in the last twelve months winning the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile and the Pegasus amongst others. The question mark for me is the extra furlong he has to go in this. It is only 220 yards but the five-year-old has one way of running and that is to run the opposition into the ground from the off. He may get the trip, his Grandsire is Awesome Again, but there is plenty of speed in the pedigree especially on the Dam side. There are a few in here that will want to be on, or near, the early lead such as Medina Spirit, Art Collector Tripoli and Hot Rod Charlie and come that last furlong they may all be crying enough setting it up for one that has tracked them. The other Cox trained runner is three-year-old and last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality is unlucky not to be lining-up with a perfect record, had he had a clearer run in the G.1 Kentucky Derby he would be. With no worries about the distance and the race almost certainly going to be run to suit where he can sit just off the pace and swoop late; since I placed my bet, he has been drawn in stall four which is nigh on perfect for him to get a good position and stalk the early leaders. He has a massive chance to my eyes and of course gets the 4lb weight-for-age off stablemate Knicks Go. Godolphin had options here, such as running Maxfield, but have chosen to go with the three-year-old alone which looks another positive to me. The Champion three-year-old Essential Quality will be retired following the Breeders' Cup to join the Kentucky stallion ranks for Sheikh Mohammed’s international Godolphin racing and Darley stallions' operation and can do so on a high confirming himself the best middle-distance Dirt horse on the world. I have the 3-1 I took in late October after the Breeders’ Cup Pre-Entry stage. Brad Cox told the Godolphin website “Essential Quality has never missed a beat. He seems to be developing physically all the time and looks tremendous. His only defeat in his career was in the Kentucky Derby and you could argue that he probably ran the best race that day, or one of the better races, to end up fourth. The one thing about Essential Quality is that he has shown his ability to adapt to pace. If it's a hot pace, he can sit off and come running, and, if it's a soft pace, he can sit close. It's not going to be a soft pace here. So, we're thinking that they'll probably get away from him the early part and he'll be running around the turns and down the lane.”

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4th November 2021:

Life Is Good warmed up for the Big Ass Fans Breeders Cup Dirt Mile with an easy 5¼ length win in the G.2 Kelso Handicap over a mile at Belmont Park. Only beaten once in his career, and that by just a neck over 7f by favourite for the Breeders' Cup Sprint Jackies Warrior at Saratoga on his comeback run from injury in August, he looks the one to beat for this. I should have probably got on earlier but have the 4-5 and I think he'll be shorter by Saturday evening. 

2nd November 2021: 

I was pretty much always going to back Space Blues for the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile presented by PDJF, I am a big fan of the horse and if he is to win a big one over a mile a tight little track such as Del Mar gives him as good a chance as any. Breaking from stall three is almost ideal, he can track the early pace be perfectly positioned turning into the short straight and on such a short run-in his ability to turn on the turbo and nip clear should prove decisive. I have the 5-2 NRNB that is available Tuesday morning.  

I have also taken the plunge in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. I have taken 3-1 NRNB about Modern Games as I just prefer this colt to stable mate Albahr in what is a competitive looking race with Dubawi Legend also crossing the pond. I think Modern Games has the potential for a little more yet and his win in the 7f G.3 Tattersalls Stakes at HQ in September suggested he had a big race win in him and the mile round here should be just fine. 

1st November 2021:

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint get things underway on the Future Stars Friday. It should surprise no one that Wesley Ward is well represented here, in fact he trains the two that head the market. Averly Jane is four from four and looked all about speed thus far. An easy all the way winner at Keeneland last time in the Listed Indian Summer Stakes visually she has been very impressive thus far and is the pick in the opener. 11-4 is the best price about and I have taken that on Monday.  

Also on Future Stars Friday we have the Netjets Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies 1m½f (Dirt). Echo Zulu is short but the daughter of multiple G.1 winner including the Breeders' Cup Classic Gun Runner is three from three and the Steve Asmussen trained filly looks very good. She won the G.1 Frizette Stakes by 7¼ lengths as her warm-up down the coast at Belmont Park and I was very impressed with what she did there; simply went further and further clear under no more than encouragement from Ricardo Jr Santana in the saddle. 11-10 aint big but I have it happily as I think she'll be odds-on by the night.  

29th October 2021: 

Two more ante-post bets have been placed, on Filly & Mare races on the Saturday card. 

The Grade One 7f Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint looks at the mercy of last years winner Gamine again and she is priced appropriately at 4-6. I hate betting odds-on, especially ante-post, but truth be told there is nothing in the field I want to take her on with and she simply has to be the pick. Only ever beaten once, when not seeing out the 1m1f in the Kentucky Oaks last season (later disqualified for a positive test for Betamethasone), she has been untouchable at eight furlongs or less and is impossible to oppose. 

Somewhat surprisingly the raiding party isn’t that strong for the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Turf this year with Love and last year's winner Audarya both having something to prove after average campaigns. Tarnawa won’t run in this so that leaves Teona as perhaps the best hope for Europe and good as she is, she aint a world-beater to my eyes. I am going with one of the home team in the shape of War Like Goddess. The Bill Mott trained filly looked decent winning the G.1 Flower Bowl at Saratoga last time and has been improving with every run in 2021. Purchased for $30,000 at the 2019 Ocala Breeders' Sales she looks an absolute bargain having notched three consecutive graded stakes wins this year. I have the 100-30 with Paddy Power about the Yank filly.  

28th October 2021: 

The second ante-post bet has been placed with Essential Quality being the pick for the Breeders Cup Classic at 3-1. The Godolphin owned Brad Cox trained three-year-old is unlucky not to have a perfect record, his only defeat coming in the G.1 Kentucky Derby where he had trouble in running. He will be off to Stud after this race and can go out on a high. 

25th October 2021: 
I have placed the first ante-post bet for the 2021 Breeders Cup meeting at Del Mar in the Breeders Cup Sprint. Jackies Warrior is short enough at 13-8 and getting shorter but is arguably the best bet of the evening. Steve Asmussen has recently kept his charge to one-turn races as they like to call them in the States and the three-year-old is eight wins from nine starts over one-turn winning his last three starts including the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial Grade One Stakes last time in which he and Life Is Good where clear of the field; four he beat that day including the second have won since. The colt looks to be at the peak of his powers coming into the big meeting.  A number of judges the other side of the pond think the 6f Dirt track record could be under threat and from what I have seen I would agree with them. 

The Build-Up to the Breeders Cup 2021

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be run at Del Mar Racecourse - Where The Turf Meets The Surf - Del Mar being a beach town in San Diego County, California, located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Del Mar has a dirt track and a grass track, prepare yourself for some nerdy facts.

Del Mar Racecourse has been a racing destination since its founding in 1937 by entertainment icon Bing Crosby and a crew of his Hollywood pals. Owner breeder Crosby, known as the original laid-back Californian, put his special stamp on the place “where nobody’s in a hurry but the horses.” Bing penned and sang a ditty called “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” in 1938 and the song is still played today at the start and finish of every card.

Over the two evenings we have fourteen races worth $31 million, thirteen of them being Grade One, the main event of course being the $6 million Longines Breeders Cup Classic. 

The Dirt surface at Del Mar comprises El Segundo Sand 10’ deep with a compacted decomposed granite base. The dirt track is an oval of exactly a mile with chutes for races over 7f and 1m2f. The distance from the home turn to the finishing post is a mere 306 yards making it the shortest Breeders’ Cup home straight in history.  

The Turf course comprises Greg Norman #1 Bermuda grass with 9’ sand layer beneath on a compacted sub base. The course is an oval of 7f, with a diagonal straight chute for races over 1m½f and 1m1f. The distance from the home turn to the finishing post is a tiny 272 yards.  

Perhaps surprisingly with such a short run-in most of the experts Stateside see the track as a pretty fair one against say Santa Anita where frontrunners tend to do well. A low draw in the Turf track does appear advantageous though especially over a mile and more.