The action is picking up at Del Mar as the tsunami of its 2010 meet rushes closer to the shore, to break with epic waves on July 21. I’ve been an extra set of hands for many departments, from media to accounting to customer service.
Last week I got a tour of the beach towns near Del Mar while postering the hot spots. If you see the bright blue and yellow posters with the lady in a hat at places along Cedros Avenue, at the Highlands, or at the bar on the beach in Cardiff, I put those up! I also left stacks of cards with the summer concert schedule around hotel lobbies, front desks and cash registers. It was fun not having to drive to these places since I could gaze out the window along the route and not worry about rear-ending somebody on the freeway. I also made a loooong checklist of shops and restaurants I *must* try when I get my first check.
Today was an eventful Monday – the county fair is officially gone and the transition to race meet is well underway. My assignment for this morning was to take photos and video to show how this is progressing. You can check the final product out here!
(I must give full credit to Andrew, who took the brilliant video of the grey chewing on the hay net.)
A thick layer of dirt was pushed into place in the paddock and along the entrance to the track with bulldozers this morning to make a cushy path for the horses. Crews worked on the landscaping and planted more beautiful flowers around the Plaza de Mexico. The grandstand was home to hundreds of trees awaiting placement around the apron and restaurant areas – it was like a jungle in front of the mutuel windows!
I hiked over to the infield also, to get a feel for what would normally be my home at an elite meet such as this. The digs are pretty swanky, with a spanish-style pavillion, vegetable garden and playground on one side, and a large lake right behind the toteboard. There was a bridge across the lake that is normally closed off by a gate- today the gate was left open for the crews working, so I took full advantage of this unique view and walked across the infield lake! Woohoo!
Behind-the-scenes fun fact: the flowers in front of the toteboard are plastic!
While discovering that piece of trivia with Meganne, I noticed some movement near the final turn. It was a trio of horses! I looked both ways before ducking under the rail and dashing across the turf course for a closer look.
You can see what I got in the video above. It is too awesome standing on the rail as horses canter past, even if these were just out for a leisurely turn around the polytrack.
Later, all of us went to the backside and investigated the harrows used to maintain the synthetic surface. The green “gallop master” is the key to the whole operation. New track superintendent Richard Tedesco has a big job but with big toys like the gallop master it’ll be a cinch keeping the track healthy.
The only horses here right now are some trained by Richard Mandella. A quick skip through the barn revealed Crown of Thorns, runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, among the horses vying for glory at Del Mar. Yes, I have pictures of a lot of this stuff, but this uncertain internet connection prevents me from putting them up. YET.
Hope you enjoyed today’s walk in my shoes – tomorrow I’ll be lending a hand in the racing office & of course I’ll have all the deets in my next entry!