After taking last weekend off due to the coronavirus, Del Mar resumes racing this weekend with an extra day tacked on. The California Horse Racing Board approved the track’s request for Monday racing, giving the San Diego area track four days of racing this weekend.
Normally in this summer of COVID-19, Del Mar races Friday through Sunday. It added the extra day to make up for lost time during this past weekend’s shuttering of races. The extra day, Monday, July 27, is a one-time add, although Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Executive Vice President for Racing Tom Robbins said the track will make up other lost races throughout the season.
“Adding a race card on Monday, July 27 provides our horsemen and women with additional opportunities to run their horses,” Robbins said in a statement.
Racing secretary David Jerkens said entries for the Monday, July 27 card will be drawn on Friday.
Plenty at Stake This Weekend With Extra Stakes Races
That begins this weekend with seven stakes races on the card. Four of those were moved from this past weekend. Those include the Daisycutter Handicap (to Friday, July 24), the Smiling Tiger Stakes and the San Diego Handicap (to Saturday, July 25), and the Eddie Read Stakes (to Sunday, July 26).
The Daisycutter joins the Fleet Treat Stakes on Friday’s card. Saturday’s card features the Smiling Tiger, San Diego, and San Clemente Stakes. Sunday gives bettors two stakes: the Eddie Read and the California Dreamin’ Stakes.
The Grade 2 San Diego Handicap marks the return of Maximum Security to racing. It also serves as a prep for Del Mar’s marquee race, the Grade 1 Pacific Classic. That is Maximum Security’s likely next stop.
“We applaud Del Mar’s management for quickly adapting during these unprecedented times,” said Nick Alexander, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. “Winning a race at Del Mar is special and a four-day race week will provide our members with additional opportunities to do so.”
Del Mar Called Quick Audible in Wake of Mass Positive Tests
On July 15, Del Mar abruptly announced it “was taking the weekend off,” in the words of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CEO Joe Harper. The announcement to suspend racing for July 17-19 came after Del Mar tested its entire jockey colony and attendants. Those tests revealed 15 positive results for COVID-19.
Del Mar officials used the hiatus to institute new safety protocols, including creating an auxiliary jockeys’ room featuring walled-off, tented areas, allowing jockeys segregated access to the horse paths.
The track also sealed off its riding colony to California riders only once racing resumes on Friday. This mimics procedures the New York Racing Association took with its Saratoga meet. Notably, this affects standout California-based jockey Mike Smith. Del Mar President Josh Rubinstein told Bloodhorse that Smith will be tested before being allowed to ride at Del Mar.
Smith rode Authentic to victory in the Haskell Stakes at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park Saturday.