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Inside Information: Del Mar Racing is back and better than ever

And they’re off! Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s 82nd horse racing season begins on Friday, July 16 (Opening Day), and runs through Monday, Sept. 6 (Closing Day).

Each week, Del Mar will feature races Friday through Sunday for the first two weeks and Thursday through Sunday for the remainder of the season. Gates: 12:30 p.m. First Post: 2 p.m. (Starting July 23, every Friday gates open at 2:30 p.m. and First Post is at 4 p.m.).

No concerts after the races this year and no walk-up admission. Tickets and seats must be purchased online.

Watch for several new jockeys (men and women) joining the lineup this year. Trevor McCarthy and “Jersey” Joe Bravo are hanging their tack here, in addition to a pair of up-and-coming female riders, Jessica Pyfer and Ellie Ellington.

Del Mar will also have new strings of horses and stables from outside the Golden State, such as trainers Michael Maker and Mark Casse bringing strings of about 25 horses.

Additionally, California-based trainers will be recruiting and scouting horses from other tracks to bring to Del Mar in order to qualify for the lucrative “Ship & Win,” a program that offers starter bonuses for out-of-state winning horses.

Shoot for the Sky — Here’s some historical highlights from the track:

Record $2 Win: Cipria $263.40 (September 1955)

Record $2 Daily Double: $5,299.30 (July 1971)

Record of $2 Pick 6 $2.1 million (August 2004)

Highest Single Day Track Attendance: 47,339 (July 2012)

Longtime track announcer Trevor Denman returns to the microphone after a year-long absence due to COVID-19 concerns. The veteran race caller will be another bright spot to Del Mar racing along with the addition of fans.

I’m hearing Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield, who is training in Carlsbad, loves Alce 101 restaurant in Solana Beach.

Talking about Solana Beach: Congratulations to the Solana Beach Junior Little League Team who won the District Title 31 against “big brother” Encinitas last week, 4-1!

Solana Beach Little League has not been able to dethrone Encinitas or advance to the regionals since 2007.

Solana Beach prepares to face District 70’s Vista American Little League in a regional tournament matchup on Saturday, July 17, at 11 a.m. at Shira Field at Lake Murray Community Park in San Diego. Congratulations boys!

A few shoutouts to some great bartenders along the coast: Jimmy, from Red Tracton’s Restaurant; Erik, from Monarch Ocean Pub; Logan and Issac from Alce 101; Ryan at Chief’s Burgers and Brew, and Logan from Sbicca. Get ready boys. Pour ’em strong!

San Diego royalty of musicians Jerry Raney and The Beat Farmers are still banging out classic hits from years ago — and better than ever. Sonic Moonshine, a North County San Diego cover band covering rock and grunge bands, is as good as it gets.

Thinking Purple: The Phoenix Suns on the verge of its first NBA title can do it for my late friends who passed away, such as NBA lifer Al Bianchi (2019), former head coaches John MacLeod (2019), Cotton Fitzsimmons (2004) and Paul Westphal (2021).

Fitzsimmons, an avid horse racing enthusiast, has a race named in his honor at Turf Paradise in Phoenix and will be posthumously inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame this September.

Talking about the Suns… Where were you on June 4, 1976? Game 5 of the NBA Finals was billed as the greatest game between the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns — three overtimes! I watched it at a bar on Coast Highway101 in Solana Beach. But it was so long ago, I forgot the bar’s name.

Make no mistake about it… San Diegans have gone bonkers over their San Diego Padres.

I’m happy to say I’ve covered horse racing on the radio for 25 years with some of the best sportscasters in the business.

My co-host Tommy D Dellerba, Toby Turrell, Larry Zap and Nick (The Sarge) Hines join me at 9 a.m. every Saturday morning on the Mightier 1090 and mightier1090.com. Please tune in!

Horses to Watch ($$$)

Dogtag

Fenway

Eight Rings

Midnight Mammoth

Tatters to Riches

And away they go…. See you next week!

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