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Day at the Races to aid lung cancer research

DEL MAR — Promising a great deal for a great cause, the Lung Cancer Foundation of America will hold its third annual Day at the Races from 1 to 6:30 p.m. July 29 at the Del Mar Race Track. 

Acting as the master of ceremonies this year is Tim Conway Jr., host of his eponymous KFI-AM 640 radio show and son of the iconic comedian best known from “The Carol Burnett Show.”

The cost is $150 and includes entrance to the Turf Club, a lunch buffet on the patio of Il Palio Restaurant, cocktails and wine, a private betting window, tours of the paddock, betting instructions, a silent auction and a raffle to determine who will present flowers and champagne to the winner of the Breath of Life horse race being dedicated to the organization.

The event also offers an opportunity for area lung cancer researchers to meet survivors of the disease, including one San Diego patient who credits a drug created by a local company for saving his life.

“It has been very gratifying for all involved to meet each other in such a relaxed and informal setting,” said Rachel Schwartz, spokeswoman for the event.

“The researchers have an opportunity to actually meet people and families touched, or whose lives have been saved, by the important work they do each day,” she said. “And the lung cancer survivors and advocates have an opportunity to express their gratitude and excitement about breakthroughs in lung cancer research.”

Day at the Races was started by Paula Zinnemann who, while living in Rancho Santa Fe about six years ago, went to the emergency room of a nearby hospital because she was having trouble breathing.

She said she wasn’t surprised to hear the chest X-ray revealed she had pneumonia, but she was shocked that it also detected a mass in her right lung that was later confirmed to be cancer.

At first she thought the doctors were wrong because she ate right and exercised. Although she had smoked socially, she quit more than 30 years earlier.

The disease has the stigma of being associated with tobacco use, a lifestyle choice, however, it is estimated that 60 percent of new lung cancer diagnoses will be on nonsmokers, Zinnemann said.

“Anybody who has lungs has to get in there and fund research,” she said.

Visit for more information or to register.