Del Mar rounded out its 2021 racing calendar Dec. 5 with the conclusion of its eighth Bing Crosby Season following its successful fall and summer meets. Between them, the pair totaled a combined final wagering mark of $943.49 million, a record for the seaside oval. Among highlights this season, the oval saw the return of racing fans, healthy purses in addition to hosting another record-setting Breeders' Cup. Also in 2021, a single horse was injured catastrophically in the 426 races and 3,552 starters that performed during the two meets.
Total handle for the four-week, 13-day fall session was $171.58 million. The fall meet average daily handle was a record $13.19 million, which was 1.0% higher than the record average daily handle posted last year.
The Breeders' Cup–held at Del Mar Nov. 5 and 6–had a common-pool handle of $183,260,127, a two-day record for the championship event. When Del Mar last hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2017, it posted a then-record handle of $166,077,486. The new mark is 10.4% higher than that.
Del Mar's wagering in 2021 totaled $943.49 million, 21.3% higher than the previous record of $778.97 million set in 2017 the last time Del Mar hosted the Breeders' Cup.
“I am exceptionally proud of our team and seeing all their hard work come to such wonderful fruition over the course of the two seasons,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's CEO, Joe Harper. “We put on a helluva Breeders' Cup show once again; we were at our best for the best. And we're safe, very safe. That's just the best of all.”
The track's Ship & Win program featured 67 new runners who came to town this fall under the program with six of them making a second start during the Bing Crosby Season. In total, 1,885 “S&W” runners have come to California since the program was put in place 11 years ago.
The track's fall riding leading rider was Juan Hernandez with 17 firsts from 79 mounts during the 15-day (counting the Breeders' Cup) session. It is his first riding title at Del Mar. Top trainer honors went to Phil D'Amato, who registered 15 firsts from 52 starters. It is his first fall riding championship, but his third at the track overall.
Racing will return to Del Mar July 22 for the track's 83rd summer season.