Del Mar: All welcome at Pacificfest fundraiser for former racehorses

By Diane Y. Welch


Each year Bing I. Bush Jr. opens up his Del Mar offices on the historic stretch of Camino del Mar to the public. In this gesture of goodwill, each Holiday Season, he organizes a festive event — Decemberfest — to not only help locals celebrate the Holidays, but to also benefit the St. Germaine Children’s Charity through donations of gifts and funds by attendees.

This summer Bush has planned a seasonal sister event he calls Pacificfest. Monies collected at this open house party will benefit After the Finish Line, a nonprofit group started in 2007 by Carmel Valley’s Dawn Mellen, that provides funds to other charities dedicated to the care and rehabilitation of former thoroughbred racehorses, finding them second homes after their competitive careers have peaked.

The party is scheduled to coincide with the Pacific Classic, the most preeminent horse race of the Del Mar racing season and is set for Aug. 27, the evening before the big race. This race has significant meaning to Bush, an attorney whose specialty is equine law. Notably Richard’s Kid, the horse of one of Bush’s clients (His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Al-Maktoum), won that race last year. Bush manages the Prince’s Dubai-based stable, Zabeel Racing International. He also represents most of the jockeys on the Southern California circuit, some of whom compete in the race, he said.

In support of After the Finish Line, Bush will provide the venue and fund the catering by Tacos Y Gorditos, and live music by Haute Chile. He invites each adult to bring, “Your favorite Mexican beer or wine,” in addition to a minimum of a $10 donation that will go directly to the charity. There will be plenty of volunteers present, some from the racetrack, and some from Bush’s own office, to act as bartenders and food servers.

While part of Bush’s law business involves personal injury work, as well as estate planning, the majority of his work focuses on equine law as it pertains to the thoroughbred racing industry, one that he holds dearly to his heart. Bush has a rich and diverse history with horses.

It started when he was a child, growing up in Lexington, Kentucky. “We had a small farm, close to the horsepark, so I grew up riding hunters and jumpers,” he said. Bush was active in 4H and the Pony Club, then later gave riding lessons to others, broke yearlings, roped cattle, played polo, galloped on the racetrack, and trained racehorses, he said.

As a young adult, Bush attended the University of Kentucky, studying law, but took a year off when his love of horses had him questioning his chosen career path. He did return, however, with the realization that he could combine the two and incorporate equine law into his legal practice. He continued his law education at Cambridge University in England, then opened a practice in Lexington, which still operates today.

A strong affinity to Southern California brought Bush to settle permanently in San Diego County in 1987, and to Del Mar three years later as he was naturally drawn to be close to the racetrack, he said.

The move seemed predestined as Bush’s father, Bing Bush Sr. was named for Bing Crosby, by his parents, Howard and Virginia Bush, “Who loved the crooner,” Bush explained. It was Bing Crosby’s passion and funding that aided the completion of the Del Mar Racetrack, and made the formation of the Del Mar Turf Club possible.

On arrival in Del Mar in 1990, consequently, Bush felt like he was home. “I initially looked for a place to rent in Saratoga West, directly across from the track, and the second I walked in [to the apartment] it was a done deal!”

Pacificfest will take place at Bing I. Bush, Jr.’s office located at 1330 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014, on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 6:30- 10 p.m.

“It’s going to be a fun event, with people coming and going,” said Bush. All are welcome. No reservations are required, and Bush expects that upward of 300-400 people will attend. Allow time for parking.