Del Mar Thoroughbred Club expects revenue to rise 14.5 percent in 2015

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which operates horse racing meets at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, expects a revenue increase of 14.5 percent in 2015, for a total of $44.8 million, largely because of more racing days, according to the club’s 2015 budget.

Wagering represents the largest share of the club’s total revenue, and the 2015 budget projects an increase of $4 million in wagering revenue this year, to a total of $28.1 million.

Directors of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees the state-owned fairgrounds, approved the club’s 2015 budget at their Jan. 6 meeting.

The thoroughbred club operates summer and fall race meets at the fairgrounds under agreements with the 22nd DAA and its sister agency, the Race Track Leasing Commission, whose board includes 22nd DAA directors and state officials.

In 2014, the club held its annual 36-day summer race meet, as well as a 15-day fall race meet for the first time in several decades. In 2015, the summer race meet will expand to 40 days, while the fall meet, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 29, will feature 20 days of racing.

Club revenue also took a hit in 2014 when racing on the track’s newly expanded turf course was temporarily suspended during the summer meet after fatal injuries to four horses during races on the turf track.

The club’s operating expenses for 2015 are projected to be $38 million, up 10.2 percent over 2014.

The club expects to make combined payments of $6.7 million to the 22nd DAA and Race Track Leasing Commission this year, according to its 2015 budget. That would represent an increase of $2.1 million over its 2014 payments.

In addition, according to the budget, food and beverage revenue during race meets is projected at $8.2 million for 2015, an increase of $140,000 from last year.

During this winter’s off-season, the synthetic racing surface of the main track is being replaced with a dirt surface. Officials have said the change will make Del Mar consistent with the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia.

Thoroughbred Club President Joe Harper and Chief Operating Officer Josh Rubinstein presented the budget to the 22nd DAA board at Tuesday’s meeting.