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Opening Day at Del Mar on July 16 draws a crowd. Photo by Bill Slane
Columns Inside Information

Inside Information: Del Mar doing big post-pandemic business

Six days down, 25 to go in the 2021 Del Mar summer racing season. The first two weeks (three-day racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) have shown post-pandemic growth both in on-track and off-track handle.

The surge is not surprising to me, as fans are betting with both hands on some very competitive thoroughbred horse racing, indicative of Del Mar’s handle north of $130 million in six racing days.

Racing for week three begins on Thursday and will run a four-day race week through closing day Sept 6. Friday’s first post is at 4 p.m. Del Mar now allows walk-up traffic and paid admissions.

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Trainer Victor Garcia has three wins in the first six days. Back in the day, his father, Juan, also a horse trainer, was known as The King of Caliente at the now closed racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico.

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Jockey Flavien Prat, of France, is atop the leaderboard in defending his leading rider title the last two years with 12 wins. Abel Cedillo, of Guatemala (7 wins), and Italy’s Umberto Rispoli (5 wins) once again will be chasing. 

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The Bing Crosby Handicap for sprinters runs this weekend and when this race approaches, I always think of the late trainer and my friend Bruce Headley and his back-to-back winner Kona Gold (2000 and 2001). I miss them both. Kona Gold died in his stall in a freak accident at the age of 15 in 2009.

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A blind radio listener of our show once shared with me that when he goes to the track and hears Trevor Denman call a race, he can see the horses running. I believe him. Better than ever track announcer, Trevor Denman.

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Musical parlay of horses last week: Dance to the Music (Sly & The Family Stone) and Superstition (Stevie Wonder).

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Solana Beach Junior Little League still standing after weekend wins in Los Angeles and competing for a state championship and title. There is no quit in these boys and they play well together.

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Two San Diego high school baseball stars were drafted into MLB. Shortstop Marcello Mayer (Eastlake) was the top pick for the Boston Red Sox, with a $6.6 million signing bonus; and shortstop Carson Williams (Torrey Pines) signed for $2.3 million with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both were top picks for their respective teams.

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Back to Music: The Rolling Stones have released their 13-city No Filter Tour dates beginning in September in St. Louis. They will also do shows at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles. No San Diego?

Maybe Rancho Santa Fe resident Ralph Whitmore should contact the booking agency again. When The Stones toured last in 2015, San Diego was not a tour stop until Whitmore agreed to pay the Stones a cool $2 million to play at the Belly Up in Solana Beach. The whole deal was near $2.5 million, including a fenced training track behind the venue for lead singer Mick Jagger who jogs and works out before every show. By the way, happy belated birthday to Mick who turned 78 on July 25.

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Bruce “Q” Fraser, assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors and most notably known for his work with Steph Curry’s pregame regimen, was seen at Del Mar with his “Gumbies” (former members of the Arizona Wildcats basketball team). No Steve Kerr, however. And it should be known that they never could beat my man Tark’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.

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Four-time Super Bowl champion Terry Bradshaw is donating his time and energy to benefit the Kentucky Derby Hall of Fame Museum and promoting the new Terry Bradshaw Bourbon.

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No more Cleveland Indians (soon to be the Guardians) and no more War Paint, the mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs. How long before the lions ask Detroit for a name change?

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First time in 49 years that the USA Olympic Team did not have a member medal on opening day.

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The 182nd college football season begins Saturday Aug. 28 and a major matchup early will be Georgia vs. Clemson on Saturday, Sept. 4.

The NFL’s opening weekend will be Sept. 9, 17 games (one added this year) over 18 weeks with all teams getting a bye week.

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Complete turnaround… Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he will now play for the Packers this season after a full 360. Tim Tebow, former national champion at University of Florida and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, is trying to make the Jacksonville Jaguars roster.

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In closing … Dick “Don’t call me Richie” Allen is on his final year of getting voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. He missed by ONE single vote in 2014 and died last year. “Richie” was my first hometown hero and idol hailing from Wampum, Pennsylvania, a stone’s throw from my hometown. The “Wampum Walloper” deserves the HOF. Baseball committee and voters — do the right thing! VOTE him in!

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Pick 6 Jackpot to begin this Week No. 3 at Del Mar $328,081.37.

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See you on the radio Saturday morning 9 a.m. The Mightier 1090 AM and mightier1090.com

Contact Felix at [email protected].

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