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Dos and Don'ts at Del Mar

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 7/14/2010 12:25:06 PM

Remember what Jim Croce said: ‘you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim.’ And from this corner, there are some dos and don’t to remember when talking about Del Mar.

The track the Bing Crosby basically built opens on July 21 and will run till September 8. Sun, sights, talented horses and every meaningful owner in California will be in full force for the entire meeting.

Before getting into the human behaviors that are musts, let’s go over what one should avoid and embrace during the seaside stand.

Do get to the track as early as possible if you are one of the lucky ones to personally attend. This will allow you to avoid the inevitable logjam on the highway and will assure that you can get that early Daily Double down. With so many sights to see, both human and equine, show up early, find a spot where you can relax, and start studying.

Do pay strict attention to where the winners are coming from on a daily basis. Since the introduction of the synthetic at Del Mar, the track in the morning seldom plays like the same track in the afternoon. It has been attributed to the way the heat, humidity and the salt air affect the surface itself.

Do give extra credence to runners that have performed well on the surface in the past and early in the meet give a slight edge to runners that have been sent down to Del Mar early and gotten a work or two over the surface this year.

Do give South American bred runners a long shot look. Year after year they seem to thrive at the seaside.

Do respect the potent barns of the leading trainers last year who were in order, John Sadler, Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill, Mike Mitchell and Jeff Mullins.

Don’t underestimate the less than high profile barns of A. C. Avila, Pete Eurton, Vladimir Cerin and Brian Koriner.

Those trainers saddled a total of 134 during last year’s meeting and greeted 28 runners back in the winner’s circle.

Don’t get caught up in the chalk fiesta and jump on all the short prices you’ll see. Some of the younger fans that are in mass at this meet just want to cash tickets. Some don’t care if the price is 3-5 or 3-2. They just get a thrill of cashing. That’s why short prices abound.

Don’t be scared to take a shot with Northern California shippers.

Don’t you dare leave the track without trying a margarita. There is no better way to soothe a tough beat or celebrate a trifecta hit.

Last but not least, don’t rush out to beat the traffic. When the final sounds of Bing Crosby are blasting throughout the track, take a minute to take it all in. With the pretty people in no hurry to sit in the parking lot waiting for the throng to disappear, you can take this guarantee that there will be some human sights lingering that you will not want to miss.

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