Breeders’ Cup planning well under way at Del Mar

Horses break from the gate for the third race on Opening Day at Del Mar, July 17.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Even before Del Mar’s 82nd summer season closed Monday, officials of the track and the Breeders’ Cup were already deep into planning for the return of racing’s premier event on Nov. 5-6.

“We’ve been in weekly planning meetings throughout the summer meeting,” Del Mar Thoroughbred Club President and Chief Operating Officer Josh Rubinstein said Monday morning.

“Construction began today on the quarantine barns for the foreign horses. Construction of the corporate chalets begins on Oct. 4. There’s not a whole lot of work to be done on the tracks. The main track will be re-balanced. The turf course will re-generate itself.”

A total of 25,000 reserved grandstand and chalet seats for the Breeders’ Cup went on sale in July. General admission and infield seats will be offered at a later date.

When Del Mar first hosted the event in 2017, 70 percent of tickets were sold outside the area. But with international travel still facing COVID-19 restrictions, more tickets are being allocated to the region.

“We’re offering premium tickets to local fans, including the Turf Club,” said Rubinstein. “Sales have been very strong.”

Tickets are available at or via phone at 877-849-4287.

Rubinstein said attendance will again be capped at 37,500 each day as it was in 2017 when the event sold out.

“Setting that limit allows us to maximize the experience for every fan based on the facility infrastructure and staffing,” said Rubinstein. “We had such a great experience in 2017. ...

“We’re looking to present Del Mar the way we did in 2017. We have some amenities other tracks don’t have: luxury suites and trackside boxes … plus the climate, hotels and restaurants.”

Post positions will be drawn Nov. 1. Entrants are required to be on the grounds 72 hours ahead of Nov. 5.

Other events during the Breeders’ Cup week include:

Breeders’ Cup preview party (open to the public) Nov. 3 at Del Mar Plaza;

“Jocktails” (charity event with jockeys serving as celebrity bartenders) on Nov. 3;

Breeders’ Cup golf tournament Nov. 4 at Del Mar Country Club.

— Bill Center is a freelance writer.