Del Mar, Horse racing

Del Mar’s Pacific Classic returning to national TV

Build it and they will come or maybe card it and they will televise it, eventually.

After several years of not being on national television, other than TVG (which is a sponsor of the race), the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s $1 million Pacific Classic has returned to the national airwaves, it was announced Monday.

The 1 1/4-mile race on the main track (Polytrack for its final year) will be shown by NBC Sports Network (NBCSN, Channel 65 on Cox Cable) from 5-6 p.m. PDT on Sunday, Aug. 24. That means the race will probably remain the ninth or 10th race on an 11-race program with a first post of 1 p.m. for the full card.

Over the years, the Pacific Classic has been shuffled around on the card to meet the needs of national television (mainly ESPN). It has been run earlier on the card and it has been run as late as 6:45 p.m. one year.

After the ridiculous practically night time post, Del Mar officials, starting with track president Joe Harper, decided to end the madness and run the race where they wanted, eschewing national exposure.

Now, Del Mar gets to keep its traditional post time and return to national television at the same time. A win, win in its eyes.

Personally, I think running the biggest race of the meet that late in the day defeats the purpose because some fans begin leaving the track after the fifth or sixth races due to the early first post. Plenty of fans never see the race at all due to that factor, but for Del Mar to be back on national TV is a good thing.

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Sunday’s top choice winners: 3 (Cuneo $3.60, second race; Safety Belt $19.60, seventh; Beholder $2.20, eighth)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 4 (New Nature $9.60, first; Stoney Fleece $10.60, third; Happy Idea $6.20, sixth; Bench Light $6, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 0

Sunday’s long shot winners: 0

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Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

HRTV finally coming to Del Mar, sort of

Finally, HorseRacing Television (HRTV) will be able to show the races from Del Mar beginning next summer.

For years, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has had an exclusive agreement with TVG, but the California Horse Racing Boasrd had other ideas.

“The CHRB wanted this to happen,” said Josh Rubinstein, senior vice president, development for the DMTC on Thursday. “We were fine with it as long as TVG was, too. They were our partner.”

After two weeks of negotiations, an agreement was announced at Thursday’s CHRB meeting.

“Everyone will be probably compensated,” said Rubinstein, as both HRTV/Xpressbet and TVG are also in the advance deposit wagering business, too.”The more people that receive the Del Mar product, the better.”

What’s to be determined is whether HRTV personalities will actually be on the Del Mar grounds?

The simple answer is probably not.

The agreement will likely be like the one currently in place at other Southern California tracks.

At Santa Anita, HRTV is on-site while TVG just talks and shows the races from its studios in Santa Monica. At Hollywood Park, TVG is on-site while HRTV talks about the races from Arcadia.

Whatever the case, at least horse racing fans will have a choice of which network they want to get their handicapping information from. Todd Schrupp/Simon Bray vs. Laffit Pincay III/Kurt Hoover.

Rubinstein did add TVG would continue to handle the inter-track wagering show like it has for the last few years.

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@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

DEL MAR

The news never seems to end at seaside oval.

+ Jockey Garrett Gomez held a 90-minute meeting with track stewards Sunday morning in hopes of getting permission to begin exercising horses on Wednesday.

That isn’t going to happen.

Gomez, who admitted to falling off the wagon and drinking again, had his follow up meeting with the Del Mar stewards moved from Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon.

Did Gomez fail his drug/alcohol test? Only time will tell.

Will the stewards play hard ball with Gomez because he failed to show up on opening day and honor his commitments (also for Thursday and Friday)?

The bigger issue might be that Gomez made no attempt to contact the stewards when two weeks ago when he was asked to do so. If Gomez had called to say, he fell off the wagon and was in a rehab a program, the stewards might have a different view of the situation.

As things stand now, the earliest Gomez will be able to get on a horse would be next Saturday and the first possible mounts he might be able to accept would be a week from Wednesday.

We’ll find out on Friday, what the latest chapter is.

+ Further news on the jockey front, trainer Bob Baffert announced Joel Rosario will ride Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic.

Regular rider Mike Smith will be at Saratoga that day to ride Royal delta for trainer Bill Mott, which means Rosario and Smith will pass each other in the air somewhere in the middle of the country.

The news also means defending Pacific Classic champion Dullahan will have a new jockey. Rosario rode him to victory last year.

However, Ron Anderson, Rosario’s agent, told Del Mar media officials “Game On Dude may be the best horse in the country and I would think he’d be a huge favorite (for the Classic).”

The move brought a classic response Dale Romans, Dullahan’s trainer.

“No one monkey stops my show,” said Romans.

+ The Grade I Bing Crosby was interesting on several levels.

Trainer Tim Yakteen scored his first Grade I victory with Points Offthebench ($8.80), who edged Goldencents by a head.

Funny after the race, TVG personality Greg Wolfe interviewed winning jockey Smith. It just so happens Yakteen is married to HRTV handicapper Millie Ball.

Also in the Bing Crosby, the plunger showed up for the second time this weekend and for the second time lost a $200,000 show wager made at Santa Anita.

On Saturday, the loss came in the Fleet Treat Stakes. On Sunday, the wager was on Comma to the Top, who finished fifth.

The show payoffs weren’t as large as the Fleet Treat, but they were nothing to sneeze at: $8.40, $6.60 and $7.20.

+ The Del Mar jockey colony had better be ware of Julien Leparoux when he goes to the lead on the turf course.

Twice on Sunday, Leparoux went wire-to-wire scoring with Pontchatrain ($9.40) and Horizontalyspeakin ($15) in the 10th race.

Leparoux normally rides from behind on the grass, but he was loaded on both horses and nobody pressured him.

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA. BENIOT PHOTO

Points Offthebench and jockey Mike Smith, right, hold off Goldencents (Kevin Krigger), left, to win the Grade I, $300,000 Bing Crosby Stakes, Sunday, July 28, 2013 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.
BENIOT PHOTO

Del Mar, Horse racing

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Horse racing

No HRTV at Del Mar, yet

Don’t plan on watching the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s races on HRTV beginning with next Wednesday’s opener.

The current television swap between TVG and HRTV for Santa Anita and Hollywood Park ends on Sunday with Hollywood’s last race, said Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar’s chief operating officer, in an email.

“Del Mar is currently under a marketing contract with TVG which includes broadcast exclusivity,” said Rubinstein.

Industry leaders, including the California Horse Racing Board, have long wanted Del Mar on both TVG and HRTV, and Rubinstein said he has been part of those discussions, but the situation remains “status quo.”

“If Del Mar’s signal were to be available on HRTV it would – given our current agreement (with) them – need to be blessed by TVG,” said Rubinstein.

TVG is a polarizing network among bettors, mainly for its “send it in” approach from its on-air talent.

Aside from TVG’s Simon Bray, who is a fantastic handicapper and former trainer, HRTV would seem to have the better on-air talent with the likes of handicappers Jeff Siegel, Kurt Hoover and Millie Ball plus the deft hosting of Laffit Pincay III.

HRTV’s only downfall might be that it doesn’t give selections early enough for some bettors to wager, but when races are right on top of each other, it is tough. HRTV also doesn’t give enough time to wagers like Southern California’s Pick 5 and offer fans an overview of all races in the sequence.

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