Del Mar Track Harnessing The Power Of Cougars

As we all know, cougars are indestructible — Demi Moore is still pretty hot, and  just who brought back those American journalists from North Korean captivity? My point exactly. But are cougars powerful enough to counter the terrible effects of a moribund U.S. economy? At Del Mar Racetrack near San Diego, they are indeed.

Miss Cougar

At Del Mar, track attendance is actually up this year, thanks in no small portion to events such as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s Miss Cougar 2009 competition. Here’s Rosie Goldstein, this year’s winner. Del Mar also features half-priced hot dogs and plush pony toys on most days, but I had a long night last night and I’m too weary to put together a humorous sexual connotation right now. You feel free, though.

The new Goldstein Miss Cougar administration lasts until the racing season concludes on Sept. 9.

“I hold my head up proud,” said Goldstein, who described herself as in her 40s. “I have never felt more beautiful than this year.”

Walker McBride, broadcast and development manager for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, said he thinks the idea of a cougar contest is being well-received. While some might bristle at the term’s sexual connotations, McBride defines it as “an attractive woman in her prime.”

“That’s something we’re not afraid to do: try new promotions and attract people to the races who have never been before,” McBride said.

The efforts seem to be working. There were 13,245 fans at the track yesterday, up from 9,213 the same day last year.

(Bo Derek at Del Mar; still in the general vicinity of “10″ IMHO)

If you’ve been in southern California lately, you’ve probably seen the billboards — Del Mar doesn’t use horses or jockeys in their ads anymore. It’s all about promoting a glamorous social scene. Del Mar billboard motto: Cool As Ever.

Not a bad move for a track that realizes that nearly 40 percent of its customers are women. For the greatest marketing ideas, never look to the big guys; always pay attention to the fringe sports. They have to be creative just to survive.

And while we’re on the subject, we’re not leaving this post without a tribute to my favorite cougar, Michelle Forbes from “True Blood.”

Michelle Forbes, True Blood