Del Mar’s fall season goes by the official name of the Bing Crosby Season. That’s an appropriate name honoring not only the San Diego-area’s track founder, but the amount of bling offered during its abbreviated meet.

Bing Crosby Season
Not only did Bing Crosby popularize Del Mar in song, he took tickets at the track’s July 1937 opening day. The San Diego-area seaside track named its stakes-heavy fall season after the iconic entertainer and horse fan. (Image: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club)

The seaside track features 16 stakes with $2,250,000 of purses during its 15-day meet, scheduled to begin Oct. 31 and run through Nov. 29. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s the same purse total offered in 2019.

“Given the current climate of things, we are very pleased to keep our fall stakes purse levels intact,” David Jerkens, Del Mar’s racing secretary, said in a statement. “The response to our summer racing program was exceptional. We are expecting similar results this fall. I am especially excited about our Thanksgiving stakes weekend, which has taken on national prominence.”

That’s closing weekend at Del Mar and the track put both its fall Grade 1 races that weekend. The Grade 1 $300,000 Hollywood Derby turns 3-year-olds loose over 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, Nov. 28. The next day fillies and mares go a mile in the $300,000 Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes. Both are on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course.

Bing Crosby Season Closes on High Notes

Those are two of the nine graded stakes races and two of the nine stakes races run on turf. Seven of the 16 stakes races take place on closing weekend, which wraps up Sunday, Nov. 29. Those include two Grade 2s: the $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up over 1 ½ miles on Friday, Nov. 27 and the $200,000 Seabiscuit Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles Saturday, Nov. 28.

Jerkens wrote six stakes for juveniles, including two for Cal-breds. Those are the $150,000 Golden State Juvenile Fillies Friday Nov. 6 and the $150,000 Golden State Juvenile Saturday, Nov. 7. Both seven-furlong sprints joined the meet because Del Mar found itself the California host for the Breeders’ Cup races. Those are Nov. 6-7 at Keeneland.

Del Mar Bing Crosby Season

Fall Stakes Schedule

DATE RACE/CONDITIONS PURSE/DISTANCE/TRACK
Sat. Oct. 31 Kathryn Crosby Stakes*
Fillies & Mares, Three-year-olds & up
$75,000 Added
1 Mile (Turf)
Sun. Nov. 1 Let it Ride Stakes*
Three-year-olds
$75,000 Added
1 Mile (Turf)
Fri. Nov. 6 GOLDEN STATE JUVENILE FILLIES
Fillies, Two-year-olds, Cal-Bred
$150,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sat. Nov. 7 GOLDEN STATE JUVENILE
Two-year-olds, Cal-Bred
$150,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sun. Nov. 8 BETTY GRABLE STAKES
Fillies & Mares, Three-year-olds & up, Cal-Bred
$100,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sat. Nov. 14 DESI ARNAZ STAKES
Fillies, Two-year-olds
$100,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sun. Nov. 15 BOB HOPE STAKES (G3)
Two-year-olds
$100,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Sat. Nov. 21 NATIVE DIVER STAKES (G3)
Three-year-olds & up
$100,000 Guaranteed
1 1/8 Miles
Sun. Nov. 22 CARY GRANT STAKES
Three-year-olds & up, Cal-Bred
$100,000 Guaranteed
7 Furlongs
Thu. Nov. 26 RED CARPET HANDICAP (G3)
Fillies & Mares, Three-year-olds & up
$100,000 Guaranteed
1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
Fri. Nov. 27 HOLLYWOOD TURF CUP (G2)
Three-year-olds & up
$200,000 Guaranteed
1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
Sat. Nov. 28 JIMMY DURANTE STAKES (G3)
Fillies, Two-year-olds
$100,000 Guaranteed
1 Mile (Turf)
Sat. Nov. 28 SEABISCUIT HANDICAP (G2)
Three-year-olds & up
$200,000 Guaranteed
1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
Sat. Nov. 28 HOLLYWOOD DERBY (G1)
Three-year-olds
$300,000 Guaranteed
1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
Sun. Nov. 29 CECIL B. DEMILLE STAKES (G3)
Two-year-olds
$100,000 Guaranteed
1 Mile (Turf)
Sun. Nov. 29 MATRIARCH STAKES (G1)
Fillies & Mares, Three-year-olds & up
$300,000 Guaranteed
1 Mile (Turf)

Three more of the juvenile stakes races are Grade 3s honoring many of the track’s legendary patrons. The $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes sends 2-year-olds seven furlongs Sunday, Nov. 15. The $100,000 Jimmy Durante Stakes is for fillies at a mile on the turf course named for Durante on Saturday, Nov. 28. The third is the $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, also a mile on the grass. That’s part of closing day Nov. 29.

The track offers cards Saturday and Sunday for opening weekend, seguing to Friday, Saturday and Sunday the next three weeks. It winds up with a four-day week Thanksgiving weekend. It plans carding eight races on weekdays and nine on weekend days.

Del Mar comes off a surprisingly successful summer meet that brought increased handles despite running fewer racing days and running them without fans.

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