Del Mar to Partner with Darley in 2009

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and Darley have announced a partnership starting in 2009 highlighted by the renaming of the Del Mar Debutante as the Darley Debutante.

The Grade I Debutante, Del Mar's championship race for two-year-old fillies, has been won by six juvenile filly Eclipse Award winners in recent years and was captured this past summer by Stardom Bound, a solid favorite to earn an Eclipse as the latest two-year-old filly queen. The 59th running of the seven-furlong headliner has been scheduled for Saturday, September 5 during the closing weekend of the seaside track's annual summer meeting. Additionally, its purse will be enhanced from $250,000 to $300,000.

Darley, the world-wide breeding operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, will be involved in its first West Coast sponsorship and the group is planning additional extras around the race to enhance the experience for horsemen and fans. Notable among them is that the owner and breeder of the Darley Debutante winner each will receive a free breeding season to a Darley stallion.

"We are honored and delighted to partner with the folks from Darley," said DMTC president and general manager Joe Harper. "They bring nothing but class to the table and Del Mar will be a better place for this special association."

The Darley banner flies in virtually every racing center in the world - from the Middle East, to Europe, to North America, Japan and Australia. Their horses have won most of the world's major prizes and their expanding breeding operation consists of many of the most desired bloodlines available. Darley's link with Del Mar is yet another step in their all-encompassing efforts supporting the Thoroughbred industry in a variety of facets while also providing Darley exposure to California's breeders, owners and trainers.

Olly Tait, chief operating officer of Darley America, said: "The opportunity at Del Mar is terrific as it not only allows us to partner with one of the country's premier racing organizations but it also presents a fantastic way to actively engage a segment of the market very important to us and to the Thoroughbred industry as a whole. We are very excited and look forward to a long relationship with Del Mar."

Del Mar's 70th racing season will open on Wednesday, July 22 and run through Wednesday, September 9.