Del Mar Horse Betting: Breaking Down the 2022 Horse Racing Season

The Del Mar 2022 horse betting season is upon us.

When bettors last saw this majestic horseshrine 20 miles north of San Diego, it basked in the thoroughbred horse racing betting spotlight. Del Mar Racetrack hosted the 2021 Breeders Cup, horse racing’s multi-million-dollar Super Bowl, on the first weekend in November. The event saw Knicks Go win the Breeders Cup Classic en route to horse-of-the-year honors.

Now the live 2022 season dawns.

Del Mar 2022 Horse Betting Schedule

Del Mar opens Friday and runs programs through Sept. 11, featuring a heavy emphasis on Thursday-through-Sunday racing. Post time is generally 2 p.m. and the meet is stacked.

Del Mar sports 34 major races, with more than half boosted above their 2021 purse numbers. That produces a record gross value of $8,275,000 for the 31-day Del Mar horse betting program.

Generally, something big happens every weekend, starting with the first one.

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First Race at Del Mar: San Clemente Stakes

On Saturday, bettors wager upon the $200,000 San Clemente Stakes to cap the card. It has a 12-horse field.

The 1-mile grass race has traditionally served as Del Mar’s major prep for its Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks, which this year will be run for the 66th time on Aug. 20.

Del Mar’s morning line maker, Jon White, lists the San Clemente Stakes favorite — Bellabel — at an intriguing 4-to-1. Bellabel has not run since winning her debut impressively on Jan. 2. What is that layoff worth?

Other fillies worth watching include Island of Love, Lady T, and Helen’s Well, whom Bellabel beat in January.

Island of Love has raced six times, five of them in stakes, and she’s a three-time winner, including the Grade III Senorita at Santa Anita on May 7. Lady T was a close-up second in her most recent outing, the Grade II Summer Oaks at Santa Anita on June 12.

Helen’s Well was the beaten even-money favorite in Bellabel’s debut and could be an attractive price in the exotics at 8-to-1.

This is the first of what should be many handicapping riddles for gamblers during this meet.

The $100,000 Osunitas with 12 entries is an excellent companion event.

There’s something else Saturday that bettors love: six races, all worth at least $80,000, each with more than 10 entries.

This is a perfect combination of owners finding a good spot for their horse and bettors have something to work with, regarding a potentially big payout. In these fields, a quality horse will always be overlooked. The card is a breeding grounds for prices.

The pattern continues Sunday. There are seven races worth more than $80,000 with huge fields. They unfold around the $100,000 Wickerr Stakes and $125,000 Cougar Stakes.

For bettors, this opening weekend is an excellent opportunity to study how big fields play out and which jockey-trainer-owner connections emerge.

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Horse Betting at Del Mar: Best Races in 2022

Want to set your calendar to some of the top races happening all summer? Here’s a sample.

  • July 23 – San Clemente Stakes, $200,000
  • July 24 – Cougar II Stakes, $125,000
  • July 30 – Bing Crosby Stakes, $400,000
  • July 31 – Eddie Read Stakes, $250,000
  • Aug. 6 – Clement L. Hirsch Stakes, $400,000
  • Aug. 7 – La Jolla Handicap ,$150,000
  • Aug. 13 –  Yellow Ribbon Handicap, $250,000
  • Aug. 13 – Sorrento Stakes, $200,000
  • Aug. 14 – Best Pal Stakes, $200,000
  • Aug. 20 – Del Mar Oaks, $300,000
  • Aug. 27 – Pat O’Brien Stakes, $250,000
  • Aug. 28 – Rancho Bernardo Handicap, $150,000
  • Sept. 3 – TVG Pacific Classic, $1 million
  • Sept. 3 – Del Mar Mile, $300,000
  • Sept. 3 – Del Mar Handicap, $300,000
  • Sept. 3 – Caesars Sportsbook Del Mar Derby, $300,000
  • Sept. 4 – Green Flash Handicap, $150,000
  • Sept. 4 – Torrey Pines Stakes, $125,000
  • Sept. 10 – TVG Del Mar Debutante, $300,000
  • Sept. 10 – John C. Mabee Stakes, $250,000
  • Sept. 11 –  Runhappy Del Mar Futurity, $300,000
  • Sept. 11 – Del Mar Juvenile Turf, $100,000

Here is a smaller look, just at the “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders Cup, which unfolds Nov. 4 and 5 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

Here is the Win and You’re In Lineup:

  • July 30 – The Grade I $400,000 Bing Crosby Stakes
  • Aug. 6 – The Grade I $400,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes
  • Aug. 27 – The Grade II, $250,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes
  • Sept. 3 – The Grade I, $1 million TVG Classic
  • Sept. 3 – The Grade II, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap
  • Sept. 4 – The Grade III, $150,000 Green Flash Handicap

TVG Pacific Classic

Del Mar’s signature event, as always, will be the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic, which unfolds Sept. 3.

The TVG Pacific card will be supported by the $300,000 Del Mar Handicap, $300,000 Caesars Del Mar Derby, and $300,000 Del Mar Mile.

The track will then offer a stakes tripleheader on Saturday, Sept. 10 (TVG Del Mar Debutante, John C. Mabee Stakes, Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf) and nine other weekend dates where it has scheduled stakes doubleheaders.

Mandatory Payout Day Added to Pick 6

Del Mar made an interesting move last summer. It changed the Pick 6 bet from a $2 price to 20 cents, bringing an avalanche of low- to mid-level gamblers into the pursuit of riches.

Players must select the winners of six consecutive races. Odds are long, but the price is attractive enough to encourage players to take multiple tickets or widen their tickets to include more potential winners in each race.

Here’s how it works:

Del Mar’s Pick 6 will pay out 70% of the pool each day to those with the most winners with the remaining 30% carried over, provided there are no single-ticket winners. A single-ticket winner on any day takes home the entire prize. That does happen, rarely, but for the most part, the jackpots are carried over into three significant days: Aug. 6, Sept. 3, and Sept. 11.

They are the dates designated as mandatory payouts. That’s when the entire pool is dispensed.

Bettors can track it all meet long. As mandatory payout days approach, there is a feeding frenzy of new activity, especially on a major racing day.

It would not be surprising to see this pot reach $3-5 million before one of the dates.

All the plans have been laid.

Now, the horse bettors await one signature phrase, from track announcer Trevor Denman: “And away they go … ”

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a writer for California Casinos, and has covered the horse racing and boxing industry extensively since the 1980s. He was an award-winning writer at the Press of Atlantic City. As a broadcaster, he has won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting, issued by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has called major fights for HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and other networks since the 1980s. He is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Dave shifted gears to cover the emerging legalized sports-betting industry in 2018. He now serves as the go-to authority on horse race betting across multiple websites, including California Casinos.