“The Best of the Best. Of the Best.”

Dion booked a bet for Pete Rose (from Confessions of the World's Greatest Gate-Crasher by Charlie Jones)

The Breeder’s Cup has been described as, “The Best of the Best. Of the Best.”

Think about that…

Even bashful Muhammed Ali never made such a boast.

Try this: “(the) Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup and NBA Championship all rolled up into two days?”

Why weren’t the Olympics, the World Cup, the Master’s, Wimbledon, the Heavyweight Boxing Championship and the America’s Cup included?

Gasconade? Rodomontade? Blatherskite?

For the first time ever, the 34th Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be running at Del Mar on November 3rd and 4th. Please note that attendance will be limited to 27,500 racing fans each day.

Ticket pricing for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup is complicated and expensive… very expensive approaching $2,000 per person with added charges and multiple group packages.

Will Clairemont wage monkeys be able to afford this once-in-a-lifetime experience? After all, horse racing is the sport of kings, but it’s the railbirds, bridge jumpers and “ordinary people” who support the ponies during the Del Mar racing season.

(A bridge jumper makes a “show” bet on a heavy favorite.)

The cost for a two-day, no-reserved seating Infield General Admission ticket is $85 plus a processing fee. Only Friday tickets ($35+) remain available at press time. It also appears Stretch Run General Admission ($50 + $12.50 processing) will be available for Friday only.

Opening Day, Del Mar, July 19, 2017: Dion Rich in his dated green leisure suit (courtesy Dion Rich)

The Clairemont Times applied for an application for an application for Breeders’ Cup press credentials. Response was not forthcoming. Our reporter was to be Dion Rich who, along with the beautiful people, routinely receives press mention  for wearing his hideous, dated green leisure suit on Opening Day of the Del Mar racing season. Characters have always been part of the racing scene and Dion confided to publisher Chris O’Connell that he harbored a secret ambition to write for The Daily Racing Form.

In 1996, Dion was in the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs with Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone. He thought he was about to be interviewed on national TV when a woman approached for his credentials. He politely responded that he had none. She said, “We saw you on television last night.” Dion answered, “How did I look?”

Another track official began yelling, “That’s the gate-crasher. Get him out of here!”

Dion felt the man was disrespectful and should have said, “That’s the world’s greatest gate-crasher. Get him out of here!”

Dion Rich invited into Winner’s Circle after Zenyatta won her 18th consecutive race at Del Mar, August 7, 2010 (courtesy Dion Rich)

Mr. Rich owned a bar frequented by athletes in the 1960s. He knew Cincinnati Reds infielder Tommy Helms from his days (and nights) with the Pacific Coast League Padres. In the 1970s, Dion was having breakfast with Tommy and other Cincinnati players when Pete Rose asked if he was going to Del Mar that day.

“Charlie Hustle” wanted to place a $1,400 bet on a filly in the feature race, but couldn’t remember the horse’s name. Dion protested, “Pete, I’m not going to take $1,400 up there without you telling me the name of the horse.” Rose found a newspaper and handed the money to his new bookie. The ballplayer said, “Fitzgerald’s Place.”

Dion booked a bet for Pete Rose (from Confessions of the World’s Greatest Gate-Crasher by Charlie Jones)

There were a dozen horses in the race and the odds on Fitzgerald’s Place were ten-to-one. Dion decided not to buy a ticket and book the race himself. As the pack came off the final turn and into the home stretch, Fitzgerald’s Place was in first place. Dion was swallowing hard. It looked like he would owe $14,000 to Pete Rose. Seventy-five yards from the finish line, something happened.

“She absolutely died,” laughed Dion. “Fitzgerald’s Pace finished seventh and I pocketed $1,400.”

Zenyatta was the first horse to win two Breeder’s Cup championships in 2008 and 2009. She was a crowd favorite because of her come-from-behind style at the finish line. On August 7, 2010 at Del Mar Race Track, Zenyatta would attempt to break Rock of Gibraltar’s record of 17 straight victories.

Dion Rich invited into Winner’s Circle after Zenyatta won her 18th consecutive race at Del Mar, August 7, 2010 (courtesy Dion Rich)

The day before the race, Dion decided to attend and try a different technique. He introduced himself to owner Jerry Moss as “the world’s greatest gate-crasher” and asked permission to join him in the winner’s circle after Zenyatta would set the new record. To his surprise, Moss was receptive to the idea.

When Zenyatta was triumphant, Dion made his way to the Winner’s Circle. Well known at the track, he was stopped four times by guards. Each time, Jerry Moss waved him through. Security was baffled, but Dion had his picture taken in the Winner’s Circle.

Others may sneak into sporting events, concerts and entertainment venues, but they don’t appear on television, in the newspaper… or in the Football Hall of Fame. The cover of Dion’s latest book, The Life of Dion Rich: Live Like a Millionaire With No Money Down, features Dallas coach Tom Landry riding on Dion’s shoulder while being carried off the field after the Cowboys won Super Bowl XII. The image appears in Canton.

Unable to secure press credentials for the 2017 Breeder’s Cup through the Clairemont Times, Dion successfully used his connections in the racing world to get tickets. If he gets his photo taken in the winner’s circle, it will appear in next month’s paper.

Dion has already written this caption: The Best of the Best of the Best: Dion Rich crashes the Winner’s Circle at the Breeder’s Cup.”

Email: Bill@ClairemontTimes.com