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Opening day of Bing Crosby season includes costume contest

Marilyn, Clark, and Lucy show at Del Mar

Race #1
Race #1

Opening its second annual five-week-long Bing Crosby season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on October 29 welcomed over 6000 fans — nowhere near the summer crowds of the regular meet, but lower attendance was reputedly expected.

Reporting from the paddock before the opening race, horse racing’s TVG Network reporter John Lies said, “Del Mar is just right, it has the right vibe, the right buzz, good weather, and we’ll see some incredible turf races this season.”

Joe Harper, the Thoroughbred Club’s longtime executive director, says he thinks the meet’s added five days will draw more crowds. “Hey, it’s Del Mar. The sun is shining,” he said. In the parking lot, there were a few more charter buses and limousines than last year’s opening day.

Dressing up has always been a part of Del Mar’s opening day. This year’s Hollywood glamour theme attracted contestants to compete for $3000 in prizes.

Marilyn, Clark, and Lucy impersonators

Lookalikes for Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Lucille Ball glammed for photos with fans and race winners. They even had the star’s voices down pat. L.A.’s Ralph Chelli holds the Guinness Book world record as being the longest running Hollywood lookalike — 35 years imitating Clark Gable. “Lucy” said their imitating was a full-time gig for the three of them, mostly at corporate events.

The Tuesday Night Alibi Barbershop Quartet sang the famous Del Mar/Crosby song, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” The group has been performing together for 24 years. Lucy joined in on the last line, screeching an off-key “down at ol’ Del Mar” ending. The real Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz would summer at their home on the beach in Del Mar and were regulars at the track for decades.

The first race saw Doyouknowsomething run to an easy win in the one-mile race. The three-year-old horse’s owner didn’t show up, so the traditional bouquet of a dozen roses, along with a bottle of bourbon, was given to trainer A.C. Avial, who seemed very happy for the winner’s circle visit.

The sixth race was the biggest purse of the day, the $200,000 Golden State Fillies Stakes, made up of 12 California-bred two-year-olds. Pacific Heat took the honors, earning its owners Ciaglio Racing $110,000. Jockey Joseph Talamo took home $11,000 (10 percent).

After the race day is over on October 30, five of Del Mar’s jockeys (Rafael Bejarano, James Graham, Martin Pedroza, Alex Solis, and Joe Talamo) will leave for Lexington, Kentucky’s Keeneland track for their mounts in the 2015 Breeders' Cup. Local fans can watch and bet on the race at Del Mar when viewing gates open early, at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Reportedly, last year’s inaugural Bing Crosby meet — named after the 1930s Hollywood star who was one of the founders of the Del Mar racetrack — brought a 40 percent higher hotel-occupancy rate for the area than the non-racing November of 2013. The Crosby meet runs every Thursday through Sunday until November 29.

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Race #1
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Opening its second annual five-week-long Bing Crosby season, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club on October 29 welcomed over 6000 fans — nowhere near the summer crowds of the regular meet, but lower attendance was reputedly expected.

Reporting from the paddock before the opening race, horse racing’s TVG Network reporter John Lies said, “Del Mar is just right, it has the right vibe, the right buzz, good weather, and we’ll see some incredible turf races this season.”

Joe Harper, the Thoroughbred Club’s longtime executive director, says he thinks the meet’s added five days will draw more crowds. “Hey, it’s Del Mar. The sun is shining,” he said. In the parking lot, there were a few more charter buses and limousines than last year’s opening day.

Dressing up has always been a part of Del Mar’s opening day. This year’s Hollywood glamour theme attracted contestants to compete for $3000 in prizes.

Marilyn, Clark, and Lucy impersonators

Lookalikes for Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Lucille Ball glammed for photos with fans and race winners. They even had the star’s voices down pat. L.A.’s Ralph Chelli holds the Guinness Book world record as being the longest running Hollywood lookalike — 35 years imitating Clark Gable. “Lucy” said their imitating was a full-time gig for the three of them, mostly at corporate events.

The Tuesday Night Alibi Barbershop Quartet sang the famous Del Mar/Crosby song, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” The group has been performing together for 24 years. Lucy joined in on the last line, screeching an off-key “down at ol’ Del Mar” ending. The real Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz would summer at their home on the beach in Del Mar and were regulars at the track for decades.

The first race saw Doyouknowsomething run to an easy win in the one-mile race. The three-year-old horse’s owner didn’t show up, so the traditional bouquet of a dozen roses, along with a bottle of bourbon, was given to trainer A.C. Avial, who seemed very happy for the winner’s circle visit.

The sixth race was the biggest purse of the day, the $200,000 Golden State Fillies Stakes, made up of 12 California-bred two-year-olds. Pacific Heat took the honors, earning its owners Ciaglio Racing $110,000. Jockey Joseph Talamo took home $11,000 (10 percent).

After the race day is over on October 30, five of Del Mar’s jockeys (Rafael Bejarano, James Graham, Martin Pedroza, Alex Solis, and Joe Talamo) will leave for Lexington, Kentucky’s Keeneland track for their mounts in the 2015 Breeders' Cup. Local fans can watch and bet on the race at Del Mar when viewing gates open early, at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Reportedly, last year’s inaugural Bing Crosby meet — named after the 1930s Hollywood star who was one of the founders of the Del Mar racetrack — brought a 40 percent higher hotel-occupancy rate for the area than the non-racing November of 2013. The Crosby meet runs every Thursday through Sunday until November 29.

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