Del Mar racetrack expansion begins

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DEL MAR, Calif. – A massive expansion project at the Del Mar Racetrack was underway Monday in hopes to attract one of the industry’s biggest races.

“The track is getting widened from as narrow as 53 feet in some spots to 80 feet all the way around,” Del Mar turf superintendent Leif Dickinson said.

Before they can start widening the track, the grounds crews have to clear the infield and map out where utilities and irrigation will go.

Del Mar racetrack expansion beginsDickinson said it has taken two years of planning to get to this point and the new track will go from 7.7 acres to 11 acres, allowing the track to fit 14 horses at the starting gate, instead of 10.

You will also see more of the action from the grandstand.

“It’s a brand new profile, hopefully something that will be a little more stable that the horses will handle well,” Dickinson said.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has plans for the larger track. They’re making a bid to bring the 2015 Breeders’ Cup to Del Mar.

“It’s the world thoroughbred championship where you get the best horses, the best jockeys from around the world to compete in racing,” Dickinson said. “It’s literally the Super Bowl of horse racing.”

The project will cost between $5 million and $10 million and depending on rain it should take four to five months to finish.

The big unveiling will take place in July 2014.