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Vintage San Diego: The Del Mar Racetrack in 1973

Take a look at the former paddock and Turf Club Patio prior to the 1993 renovation


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Familiar turf: The Del Mar paddock circa 1973

This month, take a plane, take a train, take a car to old Del Mar for the 2016 summer racing season. Speaking of “old,” this photo taken in the early ’70s shows the former paddock and Turf Club Patio prior to the racetrack’s complete renovation in 1993. By then, coastal air and termites had eroded the ivy-laden saddling stalls such that the ivy and its roots were all that held up the foundation. The colorful umbrellas in the foreground provided shade for the overflow of Turf Club members on the structure’s second level, a fine perch to try and spot a winner as prospective horses promenaded around the paddock.

At the time, the Turf Club was one of only two restaurants overlooking the paddock. The rebuild transformed the entire space and nearly doubled its size. Fans can now use the steps, rails, and giant TV screens around the paddock for optimal viewing before placing bets. When this photo was taken, the horses had to use a separate entrance to get from the paddock to the track. Today they never leave the fans’ sight, taking an open path through the grandstands.

The 1993 expansion also brought more restaurants, which means more places to buy the popular Del Margarita. New this year: All signature drinks are half off on Fridays until 6 p.m., in addition to the free concerts following the last race. That way, whether your bet pays off or not, you can still finish the day with a drink in your hand. Consider it a win.


By the Numbers:

$2,100,017: Largest amount of money won with a single Pick Six ticket

112: Average weight in pounds of a jockey

1,050: Average weight in pounds of a Thoroughbred

2: Tequila shots in a Del Margarita

100,000: Del Margaritas sold each summer

2014: The year Triple Crown winner American Pharoah ran his first race at Del Mar

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