They’re calling it the worst kept secret in Del Mar Racing history: after months of rumors and speculation the Breeders' Cup has chosen Del Mar racetrack as the host site for the prestigious horse race in 2017.
The Breeders' Cup organization made the official announcement on Tuesday, confirming that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will host the 2017 Breeder’s Cup World Championships on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, 2017. This will be the first time Del Mar has ever hosted the event.
The selection committee said it chose Del Mar because of its "reputation for outstanding racing, entertainment and first class hospitality."
Also, an improved track, luxury boxes and San Diego as a top travel destination were also important factors in the grand decision.
The president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said improvements to the track and the turf club were added with the Breeder’s Cup in mind.
Last September, a $5 million project began to expand the turf course at the track. This included widening the green to 80 feet with 10.7 acres of grass to allow for 14 horses, four more than the course previously allowed.
Along with a first-class track, the Breeders' Cup recognized the San Diego market as a top luxury and travel destination for the wealthy participants often associated with the race. That being said, the city chosen to host the event needed to have enough accommodations for travelers, something San Diego definitely has covered.
San Diego has at least 50,000 hotel rooms, 30,000 of which are within minutes of the Del Mar racetrack.
Del Mar Racing estimates that the 2017 Breeders' Cup will bring about $70 million in revenue for San Diego.
City leaders said they’re thrilled to welcome the event to America’s Finest City. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released the following statement Tuesday:
“I’m proud that one of our region’s most iconic entertainment venues – the Del Mar racetrack – has been chosen to host the Breeders’ Cup in 2017. San Diego County provides a world-class setting for this world-class event to unfold. I’m looking forward to this being the first of many Breeders’ Cups in the San Diego region for years to come.”
Meanwhile, City of Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu also said Del Mar was thrilled to be chosen as a host site.
“As the premier racetrack on the West Coast that brings together the fun and excitement of horse racing and the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the protected lagoon, the city is well‑prepared to welcome the expected high volume of attendees to this exciting event,” said Haydu.
Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. also agreed that Del Mar was the right choice for the 2017 event.
“Over the years, Del Mar has established an extraordinary reputation for outstanding racing, entertainment and first-class hospitality. We are excited by the energy and support of the local San Diego community and their efforts to make the 2017 World Championships one of
most successful in our history,” he said.
By the way, the 2014 Del Mar Racing season begins next month and runs from July 17 through Sept. 3. A second racing season returns Nov. 7 through Nov. 30.