Newly unveiled plaque at Del Mar Plaza pays tribute to city’s horse racing history

Marla Zanelli unveiled the plaque during a ceremony at Del Mar Plaza.
(Luke Harold)

Del Mar real estate agent Marla Zanelli unveiled a plaque at Del Mar Plaza Sept. 1 that pays homage to the horses that turned the city into one of the top horse racing destinations.

“When I asked the plaza owners, they said yes with open arms, and I was really happy about that,” Zanelli said.

Zanelli spoke about the plaque with attendees at the unveiling.
Marla Zanelli spoke about the plaque with attendees at the unveiling.
(Luke Harold)

The idea was inspired by the sidewalk plaques in Arcadia that commemorate horses, jockeys and other notable figures in the history of the sport. The picture on the plaque is based on a photograph she took in Del Mar.

“Being that I’ve been in racing my whole life, I know a lot of the old history and the champions and the stars that were here in Del Mar,” Zanelli said. “And I know the new stars that are racing at Del Mar. I called owners, trainers, jockeys I know, I told them about my idea, and asked them to pitch in to pay for the plaque, and everybody said yes, yes, yes.”

Among those who attended the unveiling were horse trainer John Shirreffs, Breeders Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming, and Santa Anita CEO of Racing Operations Craig Fravel.

The plaque was made by a company in New York. It is located near the elevators on the third floor of Del Mar Plaza.