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Smashing success of Breeders’ Cup highlights big year for Del Mar

By in Press Enterprise on December 1, 2017

By Art Wilson

There was much skepticism within the horse racing industry three years ago when Del Mar was awarded its first Breeders’ Cup. Many questioned whether the seaside track could pull it off. Some of the biggest naysayers predicted it would be the first and last year Del Mar hosted the Super Bowl of horse racing.

But many of those same folks who warned of a nightmarish week in San Diego today are applauding Del Mar for a job well done. Track executives didn’t just hit a home run, they blasted a Giancarlo Stanton-esque bomb into the third deck.

“I think we’re a tough act to follow,” Del Mar president Joe Harper said this week while looking back at the 34th Breeders’ Cup.

He’s right.

The weather was superb, handle numbers were through the roof and there were no fatalities. It couldn’t have been a better two days of racing. The superlatives are still rolling in.

“It’s all been positive,” Harper said. “I thought it worked pretty well. Mother Nature certainly gave us a big boost in that regard. NBC couldn’t have done a better job with their coverage. I think we had Del Mar … you couldn’t market this place any better. What it looked like, the smoothness of most of the operation, the horses were all safe, great horses, and so many people here that had never been here before. I swear every single one of them is going to come back. It’s kind of a fun feeling. We’d been thinking about this for a lot of years.”

So much fun that one wonders when Del Mar will host the Breeders’ Cup again. Churchill Downs will be the host track in 2018, but beyond that it’s anybody guess.

“There’s an old Vaudeville saying, ‘Always leave ’em wanting more,’” Harper said. “After (this year) was over, everybody was […]    

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