Beginning in November 2014, the Del Mar Racetrack will host an additional 5-week season of horse racing. Steven Luke reports on what these added dates will mean for local businesses and racing.
The racing season at Del Mar will add a second meet to its season in coming years, following a vote from California racetrack officials.
The California Horse Racing Board voted on a fall meet schedule for Del Mar that will last five weeks from early November to December.
Typically Del Mar hosts horse racing season from mid-July to early September, but starting in November 2014, Horses will return for a full five weeks in the fall.
In 2014, Del Mar will host this second racing season from Nov. 5 to Dec. 7. In 2015, races will be held from Oct. 28 to Dec. 6, according to the California Horse Racing Board.
Business owners at the racetrack said they are excited about bringing in more customers.
"It brings tons of people to the area, and I mean that's what we really need is a second meet, I mean we have the best track in the country, in most people's eyes, and we only have 7 weeks of racing...So we're very excited,” said Del Mar restaurant owner Mason Meredith.
The change in dates will also give Del Mar the opportunity to host more advanced races. This will be the first time in the track’s history where fall racing is part of a major circuit.
The reason for the second racing season in Del Mar has to do with fact that Hollywood Park is closing down at the end of the year, so Del Mar along with Santa Anita will pick up additional dates to keep the California Circuit intact.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club expects this new fall season to be more low-key, with fewer horses and fewer attendees, but it will still bring excitement to the area – and more customers for local businesses.
John Luciano, the owner of Crush restaurant in Solana Beach, says his business notices a positive difference during regular racing season. He’s looking forward to what this added second season might mean for his restaurant.
“Del Mar has been after that for a few years now. That would be a tremendous feat for Del Mar to get that,” Luciano told NBC 7.
Perhaps the most exciting news, however, is that local racing executives think the new dates will give them a better chance at possibly one day hosting the Breeder’s Cup, a major event with worldwide appeal.
"That is a significant thing that is a major, major 48 hours of racing and what that means to the community and local businesses is very important,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club director of racing Tom Robbins said.
Editor's Note: The article originally stated the changes to the season would take place this year, but a second meet will not be added until a later date. We have since corrected the article and apologize for the error.