Assembly Majority leader Toni Atkins got into the Opening Day spirit at Del Mar racetrack by sporting a flowered, peacock-feathered chapeau.
“I bought it for five bucks from a nonprofit group in City Heights,” said the San Diego legislator.
The racetrack, after redistricting, is now in Atkins’ district. Nearby were other state politicians: Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-Carlsbad; Steve Bradford, D-Inglewood; and Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton. Atkins was planning to bet on horse “Golden Mexico” in recognition of our cross-border relations and several of the politicos were considering “Bipartisan” in the second race.
On this day, talk was more about fillies than Filner, who has dominated San Diego political scene of late.
Along with the equine athletes on the track, there were plenty of athletes in the stands overlooking the turf by the surf. Among those checking out the Opening Day action were Chargers new head Coach Mike McCoy and G.M. Tom Telesco, along with defensive coach John Pagano.
Wide receiver Wes Welker was not only in the crowd, he had a horse racing in the Oceanside stakes race. It’s name? “Undrafted.” Welker was signed by the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2004 before his successful career with the Dolphins, Patriots and now Broncos. Also in the crowd, Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.
Local baseball was represented by the Seltzer family, part of the Padres ownership group. Wayne Seltzer and his son, Tyler, own horses that ran in the third, fifth and tenth races.
La Jollans Jim and Dianne Bashor were cheering on Dreamcatcher, their horse with Ted Aroney’s Halo Farms stable in the fourth race. A longtime fan but fairly new owner, Jim chose gold and red for his racing silk colors in honor of his alma mater, University of Southern California. Their jockey, Joel Rosario, not only won the Kentucky Derby this year but the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March, known as the world’s richest horse race.
If I were to look over someone’s shoulder, it surely would be that of charismatic high stakes poker player Phil Ivey. The 37-year-old card whiz has won several World Series of Poker Championship bracelets. Last week he agreed to be the face of tribal online poker for Pala Interactive, a joint venture of the Pala Band of Mission Indians, should California approve regulations, that is.
Actress and horse fancier Bo Derek, member of the California Horse Racing Board, was at her usual seat in the Directors Room overlooking the finish line.
Kiptyn Locke, alum of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad” reality shows, was seen in the crowd. He is on the board of his mother’s nonprofit cancer help group, Cancer Angels of San Diego, helping cancer patients so ill they’re unable to work and pay for life’s necessities.
Actress and model Nicole Gale Anderson was a classy addition to the jet setters. She was on the job, though, representing clothing line BCBG, a track sponsor.
Producers of Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset” reality show opted to avoid the craziness of opening day and decided to film an episode of the high-profile Beverly Hills-based Iranian-American friends at the track this weekend. But at least one of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” Alexis Bellino, was there visiting the suite of Katerina and Darwin Deason, of Dallas, Texas and La Jolla.