Perennial favorite speaker and Honorary Member Joe Harper, President and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, stopped by Jimmy O’s for our July 14, 2022 meeting. Opening Day on July 22 is already sold out. In fact, tickets were gone 15 minutes after the sale began on June 13, and the crowd will be held to 22,000 this year. The Thoroughbred Club is coming off hosting its second successful Breeder’s Cup. Despite lower attendance due in part to the pandemic, the handle was high, and exceeded the 2017 value by nearly 10%. When the track does well, so does California: as a non-profit, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club returns its revenues to the state. Off-track betting now dominates with around 90% of the handle coming from bets placed offsite.
Joe said that the meet starts later as track requires preparation after the fair season, but it also ends later, which allows Del Mar to have one week during which it is the sole active track. All Joe Harper talks have a healthy old Hollywood component (his maternal grandfather was Cecil B. DeMille) and told favorite stories about his appearances as an extra in movies like the “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “Ten Commandments” that unfortunately ended up on the cutting room floor.  We thank Joe for his continued support of the club and look forward to our Annual Day at the Races on August 18.