Thursday, July 19, 2007

Del Mar Summer Horse Racing

When the gate opened for Wednesday's second race, it began with a six-furlong race for California-bred maiden fillies and mares. This is a group that, on conventional dirt, might have run in the 1:10 to 1:11 range. But when the clock finally stopped after the race, the board read 1:13.95. It's a new era all right, for horses and handicappers.

The fractions for the race were 22.68 seconds for the opening quarter, 47.09 for a half-mile, and 1:00.29 for five furlongs. It took 26.86 seconds to complete the final quarter-mile. Special Smoke ($6.60), who had raced once previously, was favored. She was ridden by Jon Court and is trained by Ray Bell.

Del Mar's opener is one of the highlights of the Southern California racing calendar, and is one of the premier social events for those who live in and around San Diego. Befitting the day's importance, a slew of popular local athletes were scheduled to be in attendance, including Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, last year's most valuable player in the National Football League.

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