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Behind The Smoke: BBQ War Stories

Jul 7, 2017

Craig Dado (@DelMarRacing) of Del Mar Racing





Ole Hickory Pits:

Weber Grills:

Del Mar BBQ Championship:

Del Mar hosting "Chargers Day":

Road to the Breeders' Cup:

Spend a Day at the Races in Del Mar:

Del Mar Racing "Cool As Ever" video:

- Craig Dado, EVP + CMO of The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club located in Del Mar, San Diego

- Craig is the man with the plan at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

- Craig born in Petaluma wine country

- Went to college at UC Berkeley doing business/accounting

- After school, he worked at Ernst & Young in SF doing accounting

- At UCLA, he got his MBA

- Craig's advice: “The key to happy life is when you can marry your hobby with your job” and “Chase your passion in life, don’t find a desk job or something just because it pays well”

- "Don’t just DO, have time to THINK (before making big decisions)"

- "If you get too bogged down in the details, its hard to focus on the big picture things"

- Craig on Sports Marketing, "Sports marketing is very tough unless you know somebody"

- Craig got internship (paid) at the Santa Anita racetrack

- Got a job offer and was at Santa Anita for 10 years but always had eyes on Del Mar

- Craig has been working at Del Mar racetrack for 16 years

- The Breeder's Cup is coming to Del Mar!

- Breeders Cup started in the 1980s and is coined the “olympics of racing”

- The Breeders Cup includes 13 horses from all over the world to race against each other

- The Breeders Cup has all types of races: short races, long races, grass races

- This summer will be the first time it's ever been in Del Mar

- The turf course used to be too narrow for the Breeders Cup to be in Del Mar

- It costed DMTC $5million to widen track for Breeders Cup

- Del Mar Racing will have a $100mil economic impact on San Diego

- In 2001, Craig started at the Del Mar track as VP of Marketing

- Craig wanted to rebrand the track to attract more women and a younger demo - a more mainstream audience. Not JUST horse racing fans

- DMTC has an incredible concert series w/food events surrounding

- Del Mar Concert Series -

- Derek loves the HATS at the races

- Craig focuses on creating an experience/lifestyle brand out of DMTC - there is plenty more than just horses

- At DMTC, there is little-to-no horses in advertising but their core business is horse racing

- Breeders Cup is almost sold out:

- Breeders Cup used to be at Santa Anita and in Lexington, Kentucky

- DMTC is creating a "Breeders Cup Festival" - has a 5k run on beach with Jakes in Del Mar

- Jakes Del Mar:

- During the Breeders' Cup there will be a 5k run, golf tourney, music events at Belly Up, Taste of Sd, and a poker tournament

- The Belly Up:

- All these fun events are to try and get people into Del Mar early to begin enjoying their time before the Breeders' Cup

- Craig would love to invite Kate Upton, Kim Rome, Pierce Brosnan - Wants SD celebs to come out - Tony Hawk , Trevor Hoffman, some sort of San Diego Flair to add to the event

- Breeders' Cup is going to louisville next year

- Trainer calls shots in horse racing / sometimes owners

- Best horse in the world - Arrogate

- Arrogate: 

- There is a $6million dollar purse for Breeders' Cup

- When changing the marketing and advertising to a younger demographic, it wasn’t easy to convince the older demographic 

- The industry of horse racing is challenged due to the betting industry rising…

- Mighty 1090 website:

- For the Charger's Party they wanted to invite Chargers players & staff - have a PARTY that’s about the players to celebrate their times. The players thinking the fans.

- Charger Day on 7/22 - Organizing players by decades (6 decades), Players signing autographs

 - The BBQ teams who win at Del Mar championship get to take pics at the epic Winners Circle

- At DMTC, the race horses get on the track every morning at 6am-9am

- The unsung heroes of Del Mar Racing are the grooms who live with all the horses and take care of them - the grooms live with them in dorms

- Craig is on the board of Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, San Diego Sports Alliance who focus on bringing sporting events to California

- The Breeders' Cup is 2 days of racing, 13 total races

- Del Mar Racing is back to having opening day on Wednesday (traditional)

- July 4th marks the end of the SD County Fair, and the 19th is Opening Day for the races

- Safety is #1 concern for horse racing


- Derek’s Halibut video:

- DMTC social media tactics: split target audience into different categories/ different demos

- A lot of $ spend into social media/ digital advertising now vs traditional advertising

- Craig showed Scott the horse racing world and they formed a syndicate - "The Great Friends Stable with Billy Ray and Scott"

- Great Friends Stable:

- 11th year of the Great Friends Stable

- The GFS consists of 20 of Scott’s friends & trainer Doug o'Neal

- GFS has 6-8 horses that race at Del Mar

- In the GFS, Craig does the behind the scenes work while Scott Kaplan does the talking, etc

- STABLE WARS (aired on Fox Sports networks) 5 years - Scott’s idea of reality show showing what it’s like to own a horse

- General: Race horses run about once a month in races

- Rookie betting advice!! "Look in the program to see who top trainers are, circle horse, see who top jockeys are, follow the stars, top jockeys and top trainers" 

- Other betting advice "Anything can happen, if you have a hunch - just go for it, anything can happen!!!!"

Get in Touch

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Shawn Walchef -

Cory Wagner -

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