Updated on 09/17/2011 11:01AM

It's a day at the beach - 43 times

Sunrise at Del Mar. Del Mar's seven-week meeting starts with the Oceanside Stakes.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Plop down a racetrack alongside a Southern California beach, offer the highest purses in the state, and run 43 days of top-class racing in the middle of summer vacation. It's the blueprint for success at Del Mar.

"It's like 'Bay Watch' meets 'Let It Ride,'" said trainer Don Chatlos. "There's nothing like it, anywhere."

And he is right. Racing fans welcome the seven-week Del Mar racing season with greater enthusiasm, and less clothing, than any of Southern California's five other Thoroughbred racing meets. It is summer after all, and more than 30,000 fans are expected when the 2003 meet begins Wednesday.

"[Del Mar] always has a great crowd opening day," said trainer John Shirreffs. "Everybody's excited, they're all dressed up. They're in their beachwear, but they're all dressed up."

Chatlos and Shirreffs are excited, too. Chatlos starts Singletary in the first division of the $75,000 Oceanside Stakes (race 5); the Shirreffs-trained Stanley Park is one of three top contenders in the stronger division of the Oceanside (race 8). He faces promising European import Fairly Ransom and front-runner Banshee King.

At a mile on turf, the Oceanside is the first in a three-race grass series for 3-year-olds, while the highlight of the meet is the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 and a potential showdown between undefeated Candy Ride and Congaree. Two Grade 1 turf races - the John C. Mabee Handicap for fillies and mares Saturday, and the Eddie Read Handicap on Sunday - accent the opening-week schedule. Riches abound, as last year's purse distribution attests - a $520,641 daily average. And beyond established stakes runners, there is much potential. The West Coast's top 2-year-olds emerge each summer at Del Mar.

Bob Baffert won the meet's first 2-year-old maiden race the last four years, but his colts Attack Alert and Battle Red are up against it Wednesday in race 3. Fast-working Rosberg, a $1.5 million yearling trained by Eoin Harty, sired by A.P. Indy, and produced by multiple Group 1 winner Bosra Sham, debuts at 5 1/2 furlongs. Harty this year is 4 for 5 (with one second) with 2-year-old first-time starters.

Except for a $25,000 maiden-claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs that goes as race 9, Wednesday's card is solid, even with two standouts in the pick six sequence.

Pammy n' Cami drops and is the lone speed in race 4, for $12,500 filly-mare claimers. In race 7, the Baffert-trained Allover may start as the card's most heavily favored runner. He romped by nine lengths in his U.S. debut June 7, crushing maidens in 1:15.08, second-fastest time of the Hollywood meet for 6 1/2 furlongs. He earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

Singletary's advantage in the Oceanside is not as lopsided. And he owes chalk players, after a dull third at 2-5 in the Will Rogers Handicap on May 25. The flop might have been predicted, according to his trainer. Singletary had had a tough five-race campaign during the Santa Anita winter meet, and Chatlos sensed trouble as soon as he arrived in the paddock.

"I knew we were dead already," Chatlos said. "He wasn't acting like himself. His head was hanging low, and he just went one-paced. [The campaign] was too much for him; it took more out of him than I thought."

After a win and two seconds in grass stakes during winter, Singletary was freshened and Chatlos aimed him for opening day at Del Mar. "He loves it down here," the trainer said.

Singletary is the fastest, most-accomplished horse in the Oceanside, and will be ridden by Pat Valenzuela. The circuit's top jockey and the favorite to repeat as Del Mar meet leader, Valenzuela has less competition than last summer due to the retirements of Laffit Pincay Jr. and Eddie Delahoussaye. Valenzuela rides all nine races Wednesday, but is stuck on longshot Marina Minister in the second division of the Oceanside.

Stanley Park is the one to beat in race 8, after he produced a breathtaking turn of late speed to win his last two starts. The Shirreffs-trained colt has two worries. One is an aggressive work Saturday. "Unfortunately he went a little fast [58.80]," Shirreffs said. "He went the first half in [47.80], but you ask him a little bit, and he has a good turn of foot."

The second concern is the chance that front-runner Banshee King gets loose on the lead. Fairly Ransom, Group 3-placed in France, makes his U.S. debut for Del Mar's all-time training leader Ron McAnally.

At a glance: Del Mar

o DATES: July 23 through Sept. 10. Tuesdays dark.

o POST TIME: 2 p.m. with the following exceptions: 4 p.m. 7/25, 8/1, 8/8, 8/15; 3:30 p.m. 8/22, 8/29, 9/5; 12:30 p.m. 8/24 (Pacific Classic Day).

o ADMISSION: $8 clubhouse, $5 grandstand.

o PARKING: $5 general, $5 early bird, $15 valet.

o RESERVED SEATS: $5 clubhouse and grandstand. $10 clubhouse and grandstand on opening day, July 23, and Pacific Classic Day, Aug. 24.

o ACTIVITIES: Family Weekends in the infield every Saturday and Sunday and Labor Day. Del Mar at the Movies: Racing movies will be shown every Sunday in the paddock after the last race except for 8/24. Camp Del Mar: Children 5-12 will be supervised and entertained by counselors; open daily during the races for $21. Daybreak at Del Mar: Have breakfast and watch the workouts every Saturday and Sunday, except 8/24.

o LOCATION: 20 miles north of downtown San Diego on I-5.

o PHONE: (858) 755-1141 switchboard; (858) 793-5533 information line.

o INTERNET: http://www.dmtc.com