Fall race meet likely coming to Del Mar Fairgrounds

By Joe Tash

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is one step closer to hosting a fall horse racing meet for the first time since 1967.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Sept. 30 authorizing the fairgrounds to host a fall race meet beginning in 2014.

The decision also could open the door for the Del Mar track to host the Breeder’s Cup, a prestigious annual horse racing event.

The bill, AB 1074 by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, affirms a decision approving the additional race meet made earlier by the California Horse Racing Board, said Adam Day, president of the board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which runs the state-owned fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds — and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which actually runs the current summer race meet at the venue — still must receive approval of the California Coastal Commission before the new fall race meet can be added to the schedule.

The Coastal Commission is tentatively set to consider a permit for the fall race meet as part of a larger permit for fairgrounds operations at its November meeting in Newport Beach.

This winter, the fairgrounds and Thoroughbred Club are widening the racetrack’s turf course to allow more horses to race at one time, which would also be required to lure the Breeder’s Cup.

The proposed dates for the 2014 fall race meet are Nov. 5 through Dec. 7. The current summer race meet runs from late July through early September.