- Journal of SD History
Hollywood at the Del Mar Race Track
"Where the Turf Meets the Surf"
In 1936 the 22nd Agricultural District purchased 320 acres on the San Dieguito River as a permanent home for the county fair. Bing Crosby, a horse enthusiast, was approached about organizing a meet at Del Mar. He convinced his Hollywood friends to raise the money to build the track and they signed a 10-year lease. On July 3, 1937 the Del Mar Turf Club opened to the public. Crosby himself welcomed the first guests through the turnstiles. The first race was off at 2:24 p.m. and was auspiciously (or suspiciously!) won by Crosby's own horse, High Strike.
During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Del Mar was known for its relaxed atmosphere and celebrity visitors. Crosby and his partner Pat O'Brien, were visited by their buddies Jimmy Durante, Douglas Fairbanks, Mickey Rooney, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, and Ann Miller who came to Del Mar to play. Crosby immortalized Del Mar in song with his lyrics of "where the turf meets the surf."