This is my second trip to Del Mar. The first was last November for the Breeders’ Cup when I participated in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge. Breeders’ Cup Saturday was my best day at the track ever. I was up over $25,000 for the day after Talismanic won the Turf, and would then lose $5,000 on the Classic after an attempt to move up the tournament leaderboard. So no matter what happens in my time at Del Mar for the rest of my life, the place will always be among my favorites.
If you’ve never been here, I’d say it needs to be on your short list of racing spots to attend. Some key points:
-Instead of a hotel, get an AirBnB or similar place. Hotels are crazy expensive anywhere near the track. I’m paying about $125 a night for a room in someone’s house less than a 20-minute walk from the grandstand entrance. Please note there are a lot of hills around here, so if you decide to skip the rental car, your legs and feet may take some mild abuse. Call it your daily exercise.
-Concessions are absurdly expensive. I hope this doesn’t cost me my Del Mar press credential, but it’s literally THE most expensive price list for food and beverages I’ve ever seen in my life. A can of Coors Light is $13.
-There is a lot of free seating with perfectly acceptable views of the track. I get the sense the locations of the seats may change day to day based on the day of the week. I’m too lazy to confirm this, so just look around for the free seating and you’ll find it.
-The Brigantine has awesome food and I was stunned by the low prices for some of the dishes relative to how expensive everything else is around here. Just note if you are planning to walk there after the races, it’s uphill and not as close as it looks when you’re sitting in the grandstand.
-While I am disgusted (literally, DISGUSTED) by the way women are objectified in our society, especially as a man with two daughters, the women here are un-effing-real. The way they dress. The way they walk in heels vs. how University of Kentucky sorority girls handle similar shoes at Keeneland. Everything. You’ll see slightly more tattoos at Del Mar than you will at Keeneland. Not a critique. Just an observation. But the show put on by women on a Wednesday at Del Mar, in my opinion, beats the shows of both a Saturday at Keeneland and even Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. It’s really not even close.
-Remember that Ashley Judd bit during the Kentucky Derby coverage on NBC where she said you have to come to the Kentucky Derby once in your life? Go to Del Mar first. Trust me.