Saturday, July 8, 2017


Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will conduct its 78th summer racing season beginning Wednesday, July 19 led by a strong core of veteran racing officials.

A pair of gentlemen who are scions of two exceptional racing families – Tom Robbins and David Jerkens – will head the track’s racing department.

Robbins, who is Del Mar’s executive vice president/racing and industry relations and in his 37th season at the seaside oval, will oversee a crew of more than 80 racing office staff who put on the Thoroughbred show during the 36-day session. Jerkens, now is in his fifth year as Del Mar’s racing secretary, will be in the trenches putting the racing cards together over the seven-week stand, working out of the backside racing office in the mornings and the frontside one in the afternoons.

Jerkens’ right-hand man during the meet is assistant racing secretary Zachary Soto, returning for his 27th summer at Del Mar. Working alongside him will be Chris Merz, the track’s stakes coordinator for the third straight year. Other key personnel include stable superintendents Jackie Lynn, Dennis Sparks and Tom Fator; jockey room clerk of scales Charles McCaul and his assistant, Matt Nichols, and clerk of the course Dawn Schmid.

The track’s Board of Stewards will consist of Scott Chaney, serving his 12th consecutive summer at Del Mar; Kim Sawyer in her ninth season, and Grant Baker, back for his fourth summer. Joining them will be the track’s safety steward, Luis Jauregui, who has worked in that role since 2009.

Del Mar’s placing judges will be Robert Moreno and Merry Young, while Sue Brent again will alternate as both a placing judge and patrol judge. Additionally, Heather Correa will serve as a patrol judge and Karen Denovel will work as both a paddock and patrol judge.

The track’s veterinarian crew will be made up of Dr. Dana Stead, D.V.M., working directly for Del Mar in conjunction with Dr. Will Farmer, D.V.M., and Dr. Tim Grande, D.V.M., handling the California Horse Racing Board responsibilities.

Other officials for the stand – which will have racing on a Wednesday-through-Sunday basis each week and finish on Labor Day Monday, September 4 – include Bridget Crawford, paymaster of purses; Dianne Piper, horse identifier; Russell Hudak, morning line maker and official timer, and Victor Tovar, horseshoe identifier.

Leif Dickinson is back for his 18th year as Del Mar’s turf and landscape superintendent and the track will welcome racetrack guru Dennis Moore in his first summer as its Director of Track Maintenance.

Also on board for the meeting as head starter is veteran Jay Slender, spending his fourth year at the shore.

First post throughout the session will be at 2 p.m. on all days but Fridays, when racing begins at 4 p.m. up until the final two Fridays (August 25 and September 1) when it shifts to 3:30 p.m

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