Del Mar Field Sizes Continue to Impress

August 12, 2022

DEL MAR, Calif.—The numbers for this summer’s meet at Del Mar continue to outpace last year, especially the field sizes. On average, nine horses-plus have entered the gate per race through the first 11 days of the meet. 9.46 to be exact. The number of starters through the first three weeks of 2022 was 1,022.

“In terms of field size, it’s robust right now,” according to racing secretary, David Jerkens. “We started off really well and hope the momentum carries us through the eight weeks.”

The numbers get even better when you jump onto the turf course: 44% of all the races run so far at Del Mar this summer have been run on the grass, with an average field size of 10.23. That breaks down to 48 races total on the lawn, six more than at this time last year when the average field size was 9.43. Jerkens attributes the uptick to a lengthy gap in turf racing in California prior to the start of the meet.

“We knew from the get-go we would have a lot of turf horses raring to go,” Jerkens says, “but we’re thrilled with both surfaces right now. I like to tell people it shows what California racing can produce when everybody statewide is dialed in on one particular meet.”

Fifty individual trainers have won at least once at Del Mar out of the 108 races run so far this summer. Northern California trainers have won seven races, five alone by Andy Mathis, and six out-of-state trainers have made it to the winner’s circle.

The popular “Ship & Win” program continues to bring a much-needed infusion of ‘invaders’ to Del Mar. Through Sunday, 120 horses had qualified for “S&W” resulting in 14 winners. That’s up from 91 qualifiers at this time in 2021. The program offers cash incentives to trainers who enter horses from out-of-state.

“We’re trying to compete with other racetracks that have additional subsidies from slot revenue that California does not,” Jerkens points out. “This is how we can try to balance and remain competitive around the country. It’s a tool that we feel is necessary to keep our horse population and offer a quality product four days a week.”

Last year a total of 180 horses qualified for “S&W”. This year Jerkens sees that number exceeding 200 by the end of the meet.

Notes: Jockey Tyler Baze is scheduled to appear before the stewards Friday after not showing up for work Thursday. He was taken off his remaining five mounts after he missed the first race and, according to Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form, failed to call the stewards until the seventh race…Trainer Leonard Powell says his multiple-graded stakes winner Neige Blanche will return to defend her title in the CTT & TOC Stakes next Friday. The French-bred has won four-of-her-last-five races dating back to last fall’s G3 Red Carpet Handicap at Del Mar…Flightline is expected to put in his weekly work Saturday morning. Trainer John Sadler says he will have his undefeated colt out on the track around 6:30 AM. Flightline is being pointed to the G1 TVG Pacific Classic September 3…Notable works for Friday: Dirt – Forbidden Kingdom (3f, 36:40); High Connection (4f, 48.60); Express Train (5f, 1:01.40); Heywoods Beach (5f, 1:01.40); In all, 160 horses put in official works Friday.

DMTC Press Release

Photo: Del Mar gate scenic (Benoit)

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