Each year since 2011 it has been my privilege to welcome the world to an amazing racing venue hosting the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Each host site has its particular charms, whether those are the twin spires of Churchill Downs, the bluegrass hospitality of Keeneland, or the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains providing a backdrop for Santa Anita Park. Our host for 2017, however, provides a special opportunity for me to welcome the finest Thoroughbreds in the world to the place I have called home for most of my adult life, Del Mar.
While many of our guests this year will be making their first trip to Del Mar, it will not take much time at all to recognize its special charms. In addition to great racing, it should come as no surprise that there will be special emphasis placed on putting our guests in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean—truly experiencing what it means to be "Where the Turf Meets the Surf." One walk on the beach after visiting the backstretch to see their horses is probably all it will take for visitors to understand one writer’s description of Del Mar as a place "where nobody is in a hurry but the horses."
Del Mar, in turn, is well acquainted with great horses and legendary trainers, Eclipse Award–winning owners and breeders and great racing fans who "take a plane, take a train, take a car." Many of them are highlighted in the following pages. Nevertheless, the Breeders’ Cup, as I have come to appreciate, is a racing spectacle like no other; the collective greatness of the participants in action over the two days will make an impact on Del Mar and San Diego that will last for many years.
Since we announced our selection of Del Mar as the site for the 2017 event we have been supported and encouraged along the way by many people and organizations, including the San Diego Tourism Authority and San Diego Sports Alliance, Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego, Mayor Terry Sinnott and the Del Mar City Council, Tim Fennell and Russ Penniman and the Board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, as well as the City of Solana Beach and the Del Mar Village Association. This is a racing event but also a community event, and we are enormously grateful for the warm embrace from your community.
Finally, once the parties, morning workouts, and walks on the beach are done, it will be time for the racing to begin. We are most fortunate that the bulk of that responsibility will be carried by the men and women of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and we thank Joe Harper and his team for acting as our hosts and for welcoming the Breeders’ Cup to Del Mar for the first time. Here’s to many more!