Record Breaking Attendance at Del Mar Racecourse
In 1996 Del Mar Racecourse saw thousands flocking into the grandstands to watch the legendary Cigar in action in the Pacific Classic. Attracting such a massive crowd is indeed a rare occurrence, but on the opening day of racing at Del Mar Racecourse on the 16th of July 2008, they came very close. More than forty-three thousand spectators rushed through the racecourse gates to get a good seat and place their wagers. It is a record number of spectators, just a few hundred short of the 44 181 who showed up to watch Cigar.
And while racecourse staff were running around wildly, worrying about the weather, the unprecedented number of spectators and trying to get opening day to run as smoothly as possible, the cheerful crowd filling the stands and gathering in groups were far too busy having a great time to notice if anything did go wrong, which it didn’t.
In true Del Mar Racecourse tradition, the One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest was greatly supported with big, small, creative, funny, sentimental and outrageous headgear being paraded around the racecourse. Most of those in attendance brought fashion and style to life for the opening of the racing season, with some being conservative and others unforgettable in their unique and colorful creations.
Over and above the festive fans, a few celebrity guests were spotted amongst the sea of people, such as Chris McCarron (Retired jockey), Antonio Gates (Tight end for the Chargers), Luke Walton (Los Angeles Lakers) and Carson Palmer (Quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals). Another well known face, and a recently appointed member to the California Horse Racing Board, Bo Derek, was waiting in the winners’ circle to present the silver plate to the winner of the featured race of the opening day, the Oceanside Stakes victor Kilderry and jockey, Rafael Bejarano.
Of the nine races of the day, the winners of the other eight races are as follows, in racing order: Plan for Fun, Pocosin's Game Boy, Unusual Heather, I’m in the Mood, Miguel’s Mascot, Perfect Cast, Dixie Chatter and Khun Dan. If the opening day for the new horse racing season at Del Mar Racecourse is anything to go by, the remainder of the season is gearing up for success. Just as much fun, excitement and entertainment is waiting for spectators six days a week until 3 September 2008. It is guaranteed to be a memorable racing season at Del Mar.