Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Del Mar Celebrates History with Saturday's Bing Crosby Stakes

Bing Crosby greets the first fan through the gates on July 3, 1937.

Saturday’s feature race celebrates one of Del Mar Racetrack’s founders -- the iconic American singer and actor, Bing Crosby. The photo of Crosby taking the ticket from the first fan at the turnstile on opening day embodies the very feeling of the seaside track – steeped in the history and glamour of Hollywood in its heyday.

The idea for the seaside racetrack was hatched at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, Calif., by Crosby and some of his Hollywood pals, including Pat O’Brien, Oliver Hardy and Gary Cooper. The connection between the track and Hollywood continued throughout the following decades, where racetrack appearances were common by show biz personalities like Mikey Rooney, Ava Gardner, Edward G. Robinson, Red Skelton, Jimmy Durante, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.

The photo of Crosby on opening day in 1937 is just one of many that Del Mar has made available to racing fans. Visitors to Del Mar can step back in time just by wandering through the stands and viewing the many old black and white photos that have been enlarged and placed on the walls in a sort of informal historical gallery. There are photos of celebrities who frequented the track, but also some of the famous horses who ran there, including Seabiscuit. If you come to Del Mar, the photo collection is definitely something you won’t want to miss!


D.S. Williamson said...

That photo is really something. Imagine going to the race track and having a celebrity there to greet you and take your ticket. I bet it would increase the crowds if that were to happen today.

zraces said...

That's a really famous Del Mar picture. Do you know who that first patron was?

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