Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Del Mar will race on Thanksgiving in 2014

The children are back in school and everyone has returned to their Monday-Friday routine after last week’s Thanksgiving holiday.

One thing to count on next year is that the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will be racing on Thanksgiving Day, said Craig Dado, senior vice president/marketing, on Tuesday.

“Yes, we will race, probably with an 11 a.m. first post,” said Dado.

Del Mar will be hosting its first inaugural fall meet from Nov. 6 to Nov. 30. Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 27.

“Some tracks have done very well on Thanksgiving,” said Dado. “Hollywood Park used to do very well during the Marge Everett era.

“In Year 1, we’re not expecting great things, but we’re going to try some fun things.”

Dado said nothing is set in stone, but Del Mar is kicking around things such as a children’s 1K run in the morning.

“People don’t usually sit down to eat until 2 or 3 p.m.,” he said. “We’ll have 11 a.m. first post so what’s wrong with going to the races on Thanksgiving?”

Dado said Del Mar is still working on the “branding” of its fall meet.

“We really want to differentiate it from the successful summer meet,” he said. “We want to make sure it has its own character, feel and personality.”

Dado said Del Mar will keep some of the names of several of the Hollywood Park fall stakes races, but would change most of them.

“Once you see the new branding, the new names of the stakes races will fall into place,” he said.

Dado was unsure whether Del Mar would keep Hollywood Park’s Turf Festival intact, but that turf racing would be an important part of the fall program.

“Luckily, we have this new fancy turf course that will have all of these different settings to use,” Dado said.

Del Mar is in the process of replacing its old turf course (see here for live cameras )  and it will be ready for the 2014 summer meet.

The circuit will go to Los Alamitos for three weeks following Del Mar’s fall meet before Santa Anita opens on Dec. 26. It means turf horses will have nearly four weeks off, if they don’t run up north at Golden Gate Fields.

“People will certainly want to get a grass race in before the end of Del Mar,” said Dado.

As for the rest of the new meet, Dado said it should be “interesting.”

“It won’t be the size and the scope of the summer meet, but it should be strong,” he concluded.

Jeff_Nahill on Twitter


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