Del Mar Racetrack
How to Read the Program

If you go to the Del Mar racetrack with the intention of betting on the horses, then you should know how to read the Official Program.

First of all, the Official program comes with the price of admission. You must get the Program at the window upon entry. If you forget to get one at the entrance, then you may have walk back to the entrance to get one. Depending on the situation, you may need to pay $2 for a new Program. You can also get a free online version of the program here.

A typical program is about 100 pages long. The front cover will change from year to year. Inside you will find a bunch of commercials and a listing of all the races ongoing across USA for the day. Although you may be located in Del Mar, there are races ongoing through out the country.

del mar racing program

del mar racing program

The red numbers show you the information you need to place a bet:

  1. The name of the track. In this case it is the Del Mar racetrack.

  2. The race number. In this page, it is race #10. Note that the race can sometimes have a name, in this case it is "Rickard Metals". Corporations or groups who rent space at the Pacific Pavilion get to have a race named after them. When betting, always use the race number and not the race name.

  3. The Program Number of the Horse. Horses have names too (Miss Mystic) but when betting, always use the Program Number and not the name of the horse.

  4. The position of the horses at the starting gate. Not important for betting, but will let you know where your horse is at the beginning of the race. Note also the color under the Program Number, this is the color of the saddle cloth (not the same as the color of the clothes worn by jockey). Knowing the color of the saddle cloth will help you keep track of your horse as the race progresses.

  5. The distance of the race. A Furlong is 1/8 of a mile (220 yards). Note that the small arrowhead shows where the race begins. The race ends where the black part of the track turns white again. You don't need this information to bet, but it might help you decide where to stand to see the race.

del mar racing program

del mar racing program

The green numbers show information which may or may not interest you.

  1. The name of the horse; the color, sex and age of the horse; and the name of the horse's parents.

  2. The name of the jockey (rider). The number to the right of the name (120) indicates how much weight the horse is carrying. This is the combined weight of the jockey and the saddle.

  3. The name of the owner of the horse. This can be a person or a company. Under the name of the owner is the owners colors - this is the colors of the clothes (or "silks") the jockey will wear. Note that the color of the shirt is not the same as the saddle cloth color (see above #4)

  4. The prize money (purse) for the winning horse. Conditions apply. The claiming prize is also listed under the jockey's name. Note: the Pacific Classic run has a purse of 1 million dollars.

  5. The name of the trainer. Note: if two horses running on the same race are owned by the same owner (or trained by the same trainer), then the horses are considered as one "betting interest".