I woke up this morning with a heart filled with anticipation but a body yearning for coffee. It was time to head to the airport for my trip to fabulous Del Mar! Unfortunately, because I must be some sort of masochist, I elected to hop on the 6 a.m. out of LaGuardia this morning, so this is what my alarm clock looked like:
Despite the early hour, I couldn’t be cranky; after all, I was heading to paradise right here on Earth. For those of you who have never been there, Del Mar is a racetrack nestled in a quaint little surfing town located just north of San Diego.
The city is picturesque and inviting, and for eight weeks every summer it’s home to one of the most prestigious race meets in the nation. Bing Crosby was one of the track’s original founders, and he penned a song called “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” about the beautiful oval.
I managed to catch a power nap on the plane (well, for about half of the flight, but for me that’s a remarkable amount of rest on a plane) and I woke up to a nice flight attendant offering me coffee. Well played, US Airways, well played. After that, I settled down to a little work and tried to keep myself from bouncing up and down in my seat with excitement like a little kid. I did an OK job; not a great job, but an OK job. I mean, look at the weather I was going to have to suffer through over the next days:
I’m being as brave as I can. The things I do for this job.
When I touched down in San Diego, I made a beeline for the rental car agency and hopped in my tiny little wind-up toy of a ride and boogied over to the track. It’s amazing how easy it is – just a straight shot on the "Five" to Del Mar. Even I couldn’t mess that up, and I have trouble navigating my way out of a lit room. Plus, it’s only about 20 minutes from the airport to the track, which I appreciated after my cross-country trek.
As I approached the exit for Del Mar, I may have squealed out loud when I caught sight of the track out of my window. OK, nothing “may” about it – I totally did squeal, and clapped my hands in glee. I then did the very, very unwise maneuver of taking this photo as I was exiting the freeway so you can have an idea of the beauty of Del Mar’s setting. (Dad, if you’re reading this, I’m really sorry for taking this picture and am usually a pretty OK-ish driver, I swear!)
After I got settled in at my hotel (OK, and went for a quick swim – I couldn’t help myself!) I headed over to the track to just enjoy an afternoon at the races. Del Mar is so great that way: it’s a totally laid-back atmosphere where people come to hang out, chat with friends, have cocktails and take in some fantastic racing in an unparalleled setting.
While I was exploring the building (I’ve only been to Del Mar once, last year) I discovered this portrait of Dullahan; he’s the horse who won the Pacific Classic in 2012 and is one of this year’s major contenders.
That’s one of the charms of Del Mar: there are interesting details everywhere, and the track is tailor-made for the kind of summer racing fun that can only be found in Southern California.
That’s it for me today. Jet lag is starting to catch up with me, so I’ll leave you with some photos of this beautiful racetrack and be back with much more tomorrow morning!