New book chronicles Del Mar Race Track history - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New book chronicles Del Mar Race Track history

DEL MAR (CBS 8) - On July 3, 1937, Del Mar first opened its doors, and over its 74-plus years, the track has been a treasure trove of rich horse racing history. Hank Wesch has been covering Del Mar for the past 25 years.

"That's 25 years of things that have gone on here that I had the privilege and the pleasure of being an eyewitness to," Hank said.

Dipping deep into the archives for the early years and then combining the quarter-century of articles he'd written for the Union-Tribune, Hank has authored a book titled "Del Mar, Where the Turf Meets the Surf".

"The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club opened its archive to me and allowed me to use whatever photos I wanted in the book," Hank said.

From the Bing Crosby days to the Zenyatta years, through good times and tragedies, from Hollywood to polygrack, the stories are finely woven in this book.

"It's basically a book of history. It's not just strictly a puff piece for Del Mar," Hank said.

And on the eve of opening day, when many are predicting a dire future for thoroughbred racing, Hank Wesch sees it differently.

"I have always been an optimist and hope there would be a good future for this sport. It's too big, it's too big to fail. There are too many good people. It's too big a part of the economy.

"It bothers me when people say it's a dying sport. I think it's easy to kind of cast it off in that light. I don't think that's going to happen," he said.

Hank Wesch will be signing copies of his book in Del Mar Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. In the meantime, he'll continue to chronicle Del Mar history as it unfolds right in front of his eyes.

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