Del Mar Horse Racing 101: Brief Guide and Fast Facts

The Del Mar Track is one of the most famous horse racing tracks in the United States. Moreover, it is now a major part of the racing schedule in Southern California for both the summer and fall seasons.

A lot of bettors make money here from world-renowned horses participating in the races it hosts. Both fans and experts agree that Del Mar is one of the significant scenes in American thoroughbred racing.

If you’re a newbie horse racing fan or bettor planning to participate in this year’s tournaments, get to learn more about Del Mar horse racing with this brief guide.

Key Facts

Del Mar horse racing is located in Del Mar, California, operated by the del mar club and owned by California state. It has been in the industry for a long time now, ever since it was established on July 3, 1937.

The track is the second largest horse racing venue in the western US, next to Santa Anita Park. It can hold a lot of people who want to witness the races in person with its 44,000 seating capacity.

There are two track types in Del Mar: the main track (dirt type) and the inner track (turf type). The length of the dirt tracks measures one mile, while the turf track only covers seven furlongs.

Del Mar Major Events

Here are the major racing events held in Del Mar:

Pacific Classic

The Pacific Classic Stakes is a Grade I race for thoroughbreds age three or older. The horses will run on the dirt track with a distance of 1 ¼ mile. This event is scheduled annually every August, and the winner of this Stakes will automatically have an entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

This year’s current winner is John Sadler’s Tripoli, who finished the track within 2:02.37. Tripoli won a purse of one million dollars. This Sadler-trained horse will return to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup in November.

Eddie Read Stakes

Eddie Read Stakes is a Grade II race for three-year-olds and older thoroughbred horses held every late July or early August. The event has a distance of nine furlongs (1 ⅛ mile) with a turf surface. The two-time defending champion United gained the purse of $250,000 from his win this year.

Del Mar Oaks

Del Mar Oaks is another Grade I race of three-year-old fillies every mid-August. It has the same distance as the Eddie Read Stakes, with nine furlongs on the turf. Going Global is the current winner for 2021, obtaining the $300,000 purse.

Bing Crosby Stakes

Bing Crosby Stakes is an annual horse race open to three-year-olds and above. The Grade I race has a distance of six furlongs on dirt. The 2021 winner Dr. Schivel, trained by Mark Glatt, got a purse of $301,500.

Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Another Grade I race held at Del Mar is the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, which is open for fillies and mares three-year-olds and above. The horses will race on this dirt track in 1 1/16 miles during late July or early August. The current winner is Brad Cox’s Shedaresthedevil, winning a purse of $300,000.

Del Mar Debutante

Held every early September, Del Mar Debutante Stakes is a Grade I horse race for two-year-old fillies. It has a distance of seven furlongs on dirt. Since 2012, the purse for this race has been $300,000. The race ran just last September 5.

Del Mar Futurity

The Del Mar Futurity is a Grade I Thoroughbred race open for two-year-old horses. The entries will have to finish the track with a distance of seven furlongs. For this years’ stakes, Del Mar Futurity is scheduled to be on September 6, with a total purse of $300,000.

Del Mar Legends

Here are the horses that made a name for themselves in Del Mar:


Seabiscuit is California’s first legendary racehorse, who was once unsuccessful when first starting his career in the East. But everything changed when he got to the West. He was a top money-winning racehorse and defeated the 1937 Triple Crown Winner, War Admiral. In 1938, he received the American Horse of the Year award.

Native Driver

Native Driver is famous for his incredible speed and durability in the horse track. He even  had a few nicknames, like “The Diver,” “The California Comet,” and “The Black Horse.” This gelding had 37 victories out of his 81 races from 1961 to 1967. He most likely won every major Stakes race, including Del Mar San Diego Handicap, in which he champed thrice.

Best Pal

When talking about the Pacific Classic, every horse race enthusiast would think about Best Pal. More races followed his major success in the million-dollar race in Del Mar as he ascended towards the American Hall of Fame champion racehorse. Over his lifetime, he gained total earnings of $5,668,245.


Del Mar is not only interesting for its beautiful scenery and travel spots. It is also known for its horse racing track, which is one of the highlights of the American thoroughbred horse racing industry. Hence, make sure you do not miss your chance to watch and witness the horse racing events during your visit.

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