Highlighted by a highly competitive renewal of the TVG Pacific Classic, Del Mar’s Saturday racing program is taking on the look of one of the best watching and wagering afternoons in the long history of the seaside track.
Besides the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic, which has drawn a well-matched field of 10 older stakes horses, there will be four other Graded stakes on the 11-race card – the first time the track has run that many black type features on one program.
The track established a (non-Breeders’ Cup) single-day betting mark on TVG Pacific Classic Day last year of $25,870,431. That high standard may topple this time around.
“This is a very high-class racing and betting program,” said Tom Robbins, Del Mar’s executive vice president for racing. “Besides the five stakes – which are all highly competitive affairs – we’ve got three very good allowance races and a trio of strong maiden races besides. I think our fans will be licking their chops in anticipation of this card.”
The TVG Pacific Classic will go as the day’s 10th race. The other four stakes offered are the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks (Race 9), the Grade II, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap (Race 7), the Grade III, $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes (Race 8) and the Grade III, $100,000 Green Flash Handicap (Race 3).
In addition to the top-notch turnout of Thoroughbreds, the track also will provide a mandatory payout on its popular Pick Six Jackpot bet, which last year drew $558,000 in action and paid out $10,900 to 36 lucky players.
Other popular exotic bets on the afternoon include the early and late Pick 5s and the early and late Pick 4s. Last year the early Pick 5 drew a pool of over $914,000, while the late version attracted $1.283-million. Those bets are, respectively, on the first five and last five races on the day.
The early Pick 4, which starts on Race 2, took in just over $482,000 in bets in 2018, while the late Pick 4 (on the day’s final four races) handled $1.312-million in action.
First post Saturday is the usual 2 p.m.