01/04/2015 3:07PM

Del Mar studies possibility of opening stables year-round


Del Mar and the landlord of its property, the California 22nd District Agricultural Association, have launched a feasibility study on year-round stabling at the popular seaside racetrack.

Track president Joe Harper said on Sunday that the study will focus on the costs of year-round stabling, and how stabling will affect other events held on the property through the year.

“From their point of view, they are very open to some kind of increase in stabling and training,” Harper said of the agricultural association. “Their concern is they have a number of things go on there that make it difficult to have training.”

Currently, Del Mar hosts stabling for its two race meetings – from mid-July to early September and in November – but is not open on a year-round basis. The track typically opens its barn area one week to 10 days before the start of a race meeting.

Harper said the most significant issue is the presence of the San Diego County Fair, which is held in the weeks before the summer race meeting. This year, the county fair will be held from June 5 to July 5, while the summer race meeting will be conducted from July 16 to Sept. 7. During the county fair, there is activity on the racetrack and the infield that makes housing Thoroughbreds in the stable area impractical, he said.

“There is no way to have horses stabled there during that time the fair is in progress or getting ready,” Harper said. “That being said, there are other weeks available that would probably work.

“Everything that they talked about has been prefaced by saying they have to do everything they can to keep the Thoroughbred industry as healthy as they can at Del Mar. They want to be part of it.”

The potential for year-round stabling was first discussed by the agricultural association at its monthly meeting in December.

“We’re delighted with the study,” Harper said. “It’s bringing into light what the concerns are. There are a lot of things to look at in this thing.”

Off-track stabling in Southern California has become an acute issue following the closure of the Hollywood Park stable area for development last January. Hollywood Park had capacity for approximately 1,500 horses.

There are approximately 2,800 to 3,200 horses in training at all venues in Southern California at different times of the year. Santa Anita has capacity for 1,900 horses.

Last February, Los Alamitos began offering year-round stabling for Thoroughbreds. The track conducted three brief Thoroughbred meetings in July, September, and December. Year-round stabling was offered at Fairplex Park in Pomona and San Luis Rey Downs in northern San Diego County.

Fairplex Park will close as a training center in late February, leaving the need for approximately 500 additional stalls. Galway Downs in Temecula, in Riverside County, may be used as a venue for off-track stabling this year, according to racing officials.

Los Alamitos plans to add an additional 100 stalls for Thoroughbreds in the first half of this year, raising capacity for Thoroughbreds to approximately 800. The track also houses Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds that run there during evening programs.


M More than 1 year ago
Great comments... answer looks clear... Make Del Mar a world class horse racing facility... simple...community will benefit, industry will benefit, so will fans and horses... work out the fair politics. (a carnival in the infield is not befitting a world class track)... This is where the surf meets the turf, iconic American place for the sport where America still produces some of the best products in the world: thoroughbred racing... Make it a nationwide and worldwide destination... 2 big meets per year and one "horse" fair meet for the Cal Far racing and have associated equistrian activities in the infield in off season...
Chas More than 1 year ago
Until the San Diego County Fair is moved from the infield it makes no sense to have increase stabling contrary to Joe Harper...if you have month from June 5 to July 5 every yr. that the track is not available for training then where are the horses that are to be stable there yr. round as Harper says going to go? And while Del Mar is a good 2-hr. drive from Santa Anita, the training center at San Luis Rey Downs is being used and is not that far from Del Mar...time for Del Mar to step up and pick up the slack created by Hollywood Park being closed, as no one is going to develop another training facility in the So. California area, period! Every one talks about the need, but, no one or group will put up the money otherwise there would already be one in place having been built as Hollywood Park was closing down...
T More than 1 year ago
Rancho Paseana (Jenny Craigs place) had been for sale for quite awhile (just 6 miles from Del Mar Race Track). Vessels Ranch is also for sale near SLRD in Bonsall (about 30 miles north from the Del Mar track). Are they not suitable? They both have tracks for training, I am surprised they are not being mentioned as possibility.
Mallory Thompson More than 1 year ago
It doesn't just conflict with the fair people, they host a lot of horse shows and the arenas are right in the infield and sometimes warmup is on part of the track. A lot of times the shows run for a week or 2.
petem More than 1 year ago
The fair keeps Del Mar from becoming a world class racetrack. Safety of horses has suffered because the fair. Having a concert stage on the track 7 days before horses begin training is absurd. It would probably cost the facility to have the fair moved but that's what would be best for racing and horses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good point: pouring tens of millions into the track surface and facility and turning it over to the fair seems odd--both from a time conflict and potential safety damage perspective.
Robert Mccullough More than 1 year ago
Start the Opening Day for the Track on the same day for the Fair and run it into November. This will keep the economy from going south. www.CaptainDemocracy.wordpress.com
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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tommy More than 1 year ago
I see your proposal but there are ways to limit the cost. First you only need one good vet in case of emergencies. Second I will not give any LASIX to horses because it decreases performance as well as elevating resting heart rate and over time can cause irregular heart beats as well as abnormal atria and ventricular hypertrophy. The exercise physiologist has enough knowledge in exercise performance especially if they have a double major in nutrition to know how to supplement all the ingredients to build a big strong healthy horse that wins!! Not only do I know how to train humans but also animals since we both acquire the same physiological adaptations from training.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Why not employ me to do research studies training race horses to perform better. It's no wonder why it's been over 35 years with no triple crown winners!!! It's not the horses, it's the trainers fault!!!!
M More than 1 year ago
Well, the biggest no brainer of the decade is to add horse racing to the San Diego County Fair... It is not conflict but a complimentary activity.. Repeat--they work together ideally and 5 major fairs do this..., just move the activity on the race track and infield and use it for racing (which I am guessing brings the areas tens of millions in revenue as opposed to canned pickle contests and 4-H sheep)... I am not thinking you don't want cows or ferris wheels on the million dollar turf? (eating it)... The racing is my favorite part of the Cal county fairs (Pleasanton, Sacto, Ferndale, Stockton, Fresno).. Add a 1-2 week fair race meet... Ideal location.. Work with Cal Fair racing: http://www.calfairs.com/ .Putting it right before or after the Del Mar existing meets could help horsemen just have to ship in once for both meets--saving money and time. be at the front or end of current fair racing schedule...to lengthen.. The fair racing can be a prelude to the big summer meet or a final fall fair meet right before Del Mar's fall meet. For example, Pleasanton (1st fair meet) did not start till June 18th last year--so you have 1st two weeks in June to do a San Diego fair horse racing meet... Or Fresno (last fair meet of the eyar) ended Oct 13th and Del Mar started fall meet at the end of October. So room for a 2 week fair meet right before the Del Mar fall meet. These are usually lower tier TB, with some QH and even Arabian. But still some really good quality racing and minor stakes. Fun. Fun. Ideal if you already have 500 stabled there. Then it works if they expand the Del Mar meet for convenience of those already there.You'd even have turf for fair meet--drawing higher end grass horses.. ---------------------- Plus, it is not too far to van for Santa Anita for year round racing... Santa Anita had 14 million handle today...so there is handle money there that can cover vanning and stabling. I am sure the racing board, horsemen, and public and private groups can work out something.... where they build and stable the horses. Fair meet should seal the deal.. Huge economic benefits for anyone who can get a good venue for racing--sales taxes, lodging, vets, farrier, fuel, hay, vets, track labor, trainers, bettors, owners.....
M More than 1 year ago
June may be ideal for SD County fair racing as this is when the fair is scheduled.. or special racing only fair in Oct--gets you the area without pie contests...
David Crossley More than 1 year ago
There is no more room in the infield for anything else at Del mar during the fair, so the stage used for entertainment cannot be moved to the infield. I believe they run at Los Alamitos now after the SA spring meet and before the DM summer meet. The only downside is there is no turf racing at Los Al. Plus, parking is already a nightmare during the fair--it would be even worse if you tried to have racing at the same time of the fair. It just will not work at Del Mar.
M More than 1 year ago
maybe the smaller race meet moves to fall right after fresno and right before the fall del mar meet starts... just a Cal fairs racing (not a full county fair)... then it works well because people can come in and horses just ship in once for both meets. never been to SD fair and would only go if there was racing. bigger issue--if they are really serious about racing, it may not be as compatible with all these other uses unless you separate the dates better.
T More than 1 year ago
David is Right! The entire 22nd DAA facility is utilized during the fair which is one of the best in the world. Even if there were no races held during the fair the stable area is used for housing animals for 2 horse shows, llama show, pony rides, parking for workers lucky enough to not have to take the bus from an off site parking facility, camping for the livestock participants as well as all the carnival workers & vendors. There may also be sound issues for the sensitive race horses with monster trucks, motocross bikes, Fire Expo, fire engines that drive thru the barn to their locations, and at times the track is used for parking patrons, horse show warm-up, etc.
Marla Zanelli More than 1 year ago
i have a ranch I have listed for sale across the street from Galway Downs that will come on the market this month. Anyone having an interest email me at realestate@delmarla.com.