After the first race last Friday, Nov. 30, Del Mar's track announcer called race fans' attention to the winners' circle where RSF resident Lennie Recabaren was honored on the occasion of his 98th birthday. A Los Angeles native and USC graduate, his remarkable career has included work for Paramount in Hollywood, tours as a Navy flyer in both WWII and Vietnam, and success as a commercial real estate executive. He joined Bing Crosby at Del Mar's Opening Day on July 3, 1937, and is now the oldest living Turf Club member.
He and his wife Valerie have bred and raced many horses — they once owned 31, but have now retired their last two. They were joined in the Turf Club by a number of friends for the birthday celebration that included a rich chocolate cake. The track's trumpeter played "Happy Birthday to You" and "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," and a long stream of fans stopped by to wish him well. —Report by Vincent Andrunas