Del Mar Racing returns for its fall season Friday, a 15-day stretch at the Stretch Run that will also bring festivals and concerts to the venue.
Back for its third year is Bing Crosby Season, which runs Nov. 11 through Dec. 4. After the three-day opening weekend, the track will host racing Thursday through Sunday during the fall season, with the first post daily at 12:30 p.m.
Opening Day – which lands on Veterans Day – will honor U.S. military service members. That day, the track will host its Veterans Day Salute – a day of horse racing, BBQ and a 4 p.m. country music concert featuring Coffey Anderson.
Track admission is free for active duty military and Veterans with valid ID cards on Opening Day.
For others, a $25 general admission ticket gets you racetrack admission on Opening Day, plus food at the BBQ, which includes a spread of pulled pork sandwiches, wedding beans, Southern slaw and peach cobbler. Another $10 gets you into the country concert. Proceeds from the Veterans Day Salute at the track will benefit Save Our Legion and the Semper Fi Fund to support local military families, organizers said.
Instead of an Opening Day Hats Contest like the one that traditionally signals the start of the summer season in Del Mar, Bing Crosby Opening Day will feature a “Stars & Stripes Fashion Contest.” Attendees are encouraged to wear their most patriotic gear for a chance to enter the contest and will more than $3,000 in prizes.
This fall, the Bing Crosby season includes concerts by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (Nov. 12), Reggae Fest With Iration (Nov. 19) and the Craft Beer Cider & Food Truck Festival (Nov. 26). A full calendar of fall Del Mar Racing events can be seen here.
This year’s summer racing season in Del Mar was plagued with an increase in horse deaths. According to a state report, 16 horses died since the season began on July 15. California State Assembly member Lori Saldana urged the California Horse Racing Board to investigate the deaths and injuries at Del Mar and called for changes.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC), facing increased criticism over the deaths, decided it would push back the start date of the 2017 summer racing season and implement new biomarker technology on horses next year in an effort to prevent further deaths.
After an early rash of horses suffering fatal injuries at Del Mar over the summer, track president Joe Harper said a specialist was hired to study the turf. Harper also said more veterinarians were called in to check the horses.