There is a smile on every face and a winner in each race, where the turf meets the surf at Del Mar.
“Yeah, that’s me in the new racetrack TV commercial,” says Del Mar singer-songwriter Michael Tiernan, “though, you have to look close to see me singing and playing guitar in my plaid shirt. It’s a nightclub scene set to the Bing Crosby song ‘Where the Surf Meets the Turf,’ with people taking turns at singing it, karaoke-style, while the lyrics are scrolling on a big screen.”
Mostly shot at downtown’s Stingaree, the commercial also features cameos by reality-show cast members from The Bachelorette and Bravo’s Top Chef, with champion horse trainer Bob Baffert also taking a shot at the mike. Crosby’s 1941 anthem was originally intended to promote the racetrack Crosby helped develop. He sold his stake in the Del Mar Turf Club and Racetrack in 1947, using the proceeds to purchase the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team.
Tiernan has performed the Crosby tune at the track, sometimes accompanied by racetrack bugler Les Kepic. A bit further off the hoof-beaten track is Tiernan’s online side business, Singing Web-o-Grams. “I custom record them by request, for any occasion — get wells, for people recovering from something, or for birthdays, Kwanza, whatever. I deliver them with very personalized video email. It’s a good way to make a little extra revenue and to connect with fans as well.”
He charges ten dollars per Web-o-Gram. The top-requested cover tunes have included “A Groovy Kind of Love” (Phil Collins version), “Have I Told You Lately” (Rod Stewart), and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” (Elvis Presley’s take).
Michael Tiernan appears tonight at Del Mar’s En Fuego Cantina and August 20 at the Village at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes.