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Thought I’d jump back in and give you some more numbers on the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. While the track has been around since 1937, the Thoroughbred Club formed in 1970. Since our inception we have generated over $650 million in revenues to local and state governments along with distributions to dozens of local charitable organizations and equine research. The racetrack attracts over 700,000 visitors during our seven week run. During that time we employ more than 3,300 people with a payroll of $20 million.
We draw approximately 275,000 patrons from outside San Diego County. Occupancy rates at North County hotels jump from an annual average of 70 percent to more than 86 percent; with many topping 90 percent.
As far as the industry of horse racing, changes are being made to ensure the “sport of kings” attracts a broader audience, and Del Mar is a leader in the industry. Last year we switched to a synthetic surface, Polytrack. Our $9 million investment proved to be a sound and safe one. When we made the change we fielded complaints, but that is to be expected. Most of the complaints were due to the speed of the races dropping. We’ll pick safety over speed 100 times out of 100.
Something we will do this season is water the track depending on the weather. We installed a reverse osmosis system on site that provides purified water for the track. Pure water works best with Polytrack, and according to our faster times and safe track the adjustment is working.
It is a good time to be involved in racing, especially here at Del Mar. Come see.