This year’s Breeders’ Cup world championships held at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club appears to have come off as a huge success. Handle was up, the Classic delivered and the weather was absolutely impeccable where the turf meets the surf.
Some thoughts (and the goods and bads) from an East Coast guy on his first ever visit to Del Mar.
- Del Mar was number one on my racetrack wish list since 2010, and finally was able to scratch it off and it was well worth the wait.
- How do San Diegans deal with it being 72 degrees every day? Must be tough.
- My favorite watering hole by far was The Brigantine, which had a picturesque view of the track from up on the hill. With the ocean in the background and a cool patio bar with that spectacular view, no wonder I spent both nights there. Pretty good tacos, too.
- Gambling update: Friday, very good. Saturday, very bad. The Post Time wallet endured the ebbs and flows of the weekend, but weighed in exactly the same on Friday morning as Saturday night.
- Gambling detail update: Battle of Midway, Mendelssohn and Forever Unbridled (in Thursday’s blog) were good. Lady Eli, Unique Bella and Highland Reel (in Friday’s blog) were bad.
- I don’t think Chad Summers was too happy with Joel’s ride on Mind Your Biscuits, with the shorter 6-furlong race, being 10 behind early wasn’t the answer. The horse ran a commendable race to finish third and represented UB grad and Chad’s brother Dan Summers very well.
- Incredible that on such a big day (Saturday) that there was such a significant track bias (translation: being inside, bad; being outside, good). It certainly makes Gun Runner’s trek from the inner portion of the track through the stretch all the more impressive.
- Sure wish the post time for the Classic was an hour earlier at 7:30 EDT versus 8:35. Not whining due to the tight deadline for us East Coasters (ok, maybe I am just a little), but I would think a lead-in to the evening Saturday football games would draw a bigger audience versus competing against the ABC game of the week.
- Only real complaint I heard all weekend was about the traffic flow in and out of the track. It’s not all on the BC, though. UBER and Lyft need to come up with better technology to sorting out rides at big events.
- Couldn’t believe how spread out San Diego was. I did get to see the Gaslamp Quarter and check out the Bills Backers Bar in Pacific Beach, both trip highlights.
- I wouldn’t have had Bar of Gold even if I had Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac.
- Quick predictions for Breeders’ Cup 2019 and 2020 in case they announce it before the annual Kreskin 2018 column. Guessing that Santa Anita gets 2019 to continue the West Coast every-other-year rotation and that Laurel Park is awarded its first BC in 2020.
- Speaking of the Racing Kreskin, we’ll recap his 2017 results next week. Sneak peak: There was vast improvement over 2016’s doughnut.
- If you boxed a $2 trifecta of the Post Time top three selections from Saturday’s paper for a measly $12, you were rewarded with a $129 payout.
- Top selection Collected’s outside post may have cost him a length, but he was certainly second-best finishing second by 2 1/4-lengths. Have to say he gave a very game effort in tracking Gun Runner all the way around, and maybe even poked a nose ahead on the far turn, but the better horse prevailed.
- West Coast’s third-place effort was solid enough to garner my vote for top 3-year-old male. Sure, Always Dreaming won the Derby and the Florida Derby (both Grade 1’s), but West Coast’s Travers and Pennsylvania Derby against all comers and his effort in the Classic against elders pushed me over the top.
- How impressive was the DRF’s Jay Privman going 6-for-13 in the BC races over the weekend? Most impressive calls were on Wuheida (F&M Turf) and Talismatic (Turf), that’s some solid handicapping.
- My Lyft ride to the track on Saturday morning was from a west side Buffalo native, how cool was that?
- Hard to believe the Pegasus is less than three months away. Gun Runner swan song or upset winner?
- Had to raise my glass to Arrogate on Saturday night. We may never see the likes of that four-race streak he put together from August 2016 to March 2017.
- Coolest item on the wall in the Del Mar sixth floor press box was a tribute to the late Jim Murray, the former LA Times sportswriter who had a syndicated column for many years. He was a regular attendee of my morning high school breakfast routine of scrambled eggs and the Syracuse Post-Standard. He was a master wordsmith who also loved horse racing. When his column showed up in the P-S, my day started on the right foot.
- Well done, Del Mar, well done.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.