Horseplayers love this time of year. Its when racings two exquisite boutique meets, one on each coast, provide glimpses of what thoroughbred racing can be when its done right.

And you cant mention one, Saratoga, without the other, Del Mar. That would be like using the name of Affirmed without completing the sentence with the name of Alydar.

(Didnt Alydar always finish second)?

Anyway, Saratoga and Del Mar are all about a respite from the same old, same old, a chance to get out of town and spend summers dog days enjoying mountain air or ocean breezes. But thats where the similarities end.

This piece might emanate from the East Coast but its not about provincial bias. Its just that when it comes to day-to-day racing fare theres simply no comparison.

Dont blame Del Mar, though. Saratogas just been at it much longer, and with better horses.

But nowhere does hope spring eternal than at the racetrack and today is, after all, opening day.

And why is this Del Mar meet different from any other?

Glad you asked, Virginia.

Gone, presumably, will be the speed-biased racing on the main track. Good-bye dirt. Good-bye Cushion Track. Hel-lo-o-o-o-o Polytrack!

The artificial surface has to be an improvement on recent years past. Certainly, Del Mar was in need of a safer oval and daily field size was in need of more participants.

Interesting to see how Polytrack effects baby racing. Not at this meet, per se, but down the road when two-year-olds stretch out in advance of the Breeders Cup Juvenile and as a foundation for the classics to come.

Del Mar already has had some problems with the new surface, albeit minor in nature. As a result of fine harrowing and the subtle changes in temperature, the surface was much faster on Monday than it was when first tested late last week.

Were sure all will make the necessary adjustments. Or try, anyway.

That aside, Del Mar is here and thats a good thing. Let the summer season begin!