In the 1930's, the Depression affected Del Mar, as well as the rest of the country.
However, in 1933, in spite of the grim times, the eight members of the 22nd
Agricultural District had a vision for a county
fairgrounds to be located in Del Mar, which set the town on its current path. These eight intrepid visionaries were successful in purchasing the
current site with a $25,000 grant from the State
Department of Fairs & Expositions and the first county
fair was held in October 1936. Even before the
first fair was held, it was felt that the addition of a
racetrack to the fairgrounds would be an asset and would
Because of the climate and the seclusion the area offered, film
stars were frequent visitors to the area. Among them was Bing Crosby, who was a racing enthusiast, and he
turned out to be instrumental in the development of the Del Mar Racetrack. He and the fair board
agreed on a lease arrangement with the newly created
Del Mar Turf Club for $35,000. Serving
on the Turf Club's first Board of Directors was Bing
Crosby as President, Pat O'Brien as Vice
President, with Oliver Hardy, Joe E. Brown, Gary
Cooper, Leo McCary and others serving on the executive
boards. The initial funding met with repeated setbacks
and Bing Crosby and Pat O'Brien put up
personal loans against their own life insurance to the
fair district without interest at one point. When the
Del Mar Racetrack opened on July 3, 1937,
Bing Crosby was there to greet the first horse fans through the gates at Del Mar.
The race track enjoyed moderate success from its opening,
but the race that put Del Mar on the map was a race pitting Seabiscuit, from Charles Howard's stable,
against the best thoroughbred of the day, Ligaroti. Seabiscuit won and set a new record for the
distance in that race.
A day at Del
Mar Race Track
Del Mar Post Times
Post Times Dark Mondays (except Labor Day) and Tuesdays (37 racing days)
Mar Track Layout
Main Track: One Mile, oval.
Turf Course: Seven eighth's Mile.
Distance from last turn to finish line: 919 feet