Where the turf meets the surf--down at ol' Del Mar--the 50th-anniversary racing season got a thoroughbred opening Wednesday. The Arthritis Foundation and Southwest Bank were tipped the opening honors with a major balloon release called "Up, Up and Away With Arthritis." Twenty thousand balloons, each representing a $10 contribution (with hopes of raising $200,000), were sent up. Results will provide funds for research and programs for some of the 300,000 persons estimated to have the disease in the San Diego area.
Executive Vice President and General Manager Joseph W. Harper (also a director of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club) and his wife Barbara were at the center of festivities, hosting the opening-night party at their oceanfront Del Mar home after the races. Official greeters also included John Mabee, Del Mar's chairman, and his wife Betty. Mabee (who owns the Big Bear markets in San Diego County as well as the Golden Eagle insurance company and a thoroughbred breeding farm at Ramona) and Harper are also members of the exclusive Jockey Club. Others in the thoroughbred orbit were Del Mar's other five directors--vice president Clement Hirsch and his wife Lynn of Newport Beach; Louis R. Rowan and his wife Susan of Pasadena; Dr. James R. Buell of Incline Village, Nev.; Kenneth Schiffer and his wife Bay of Temecula (he's a prominent breeder and owns the Hat Ranch) and new director Clair W. Burgener and his wife Marvia of Rancho Santa Fe.
The directors already have architectural plans for an $85-million racetrack grandstand, but the current lease of the track, up in 1989, still has to be renewed.
Today, Regina Hickey of La Jolla and Social Service Auxiliary members expect 500 for their 35th day at the races. Elizabeth Ravenis of Del Cerro is chairman.
However, the star evening comes Aug. 11. Living legend Bill Shoemaker, the world's leading jockey with more than 8,600 wins and 1,000 stakes-race victories and the first rider ever to surpass the $100-million mark in purses, will be honored at the second annual "Racing for the Miracle" for muscular dystrophy. The event will be in the track's Bing Crosby Hall, with the Billy Kyle Jazz Trio for cocktails, and Izzy Swift for dancing. Tickets are $175. The honorary dinner committee includes Sally Blake Dankleff, Kay De Vol, Barbara Harper, Chris Harshbarger, Betty Johnston, Betty Mabee, Judy McCarron, Deanna Orthmeyer, Cecilia Straub-Rubens and Virginia Swanson.
More Del Mar fun: Country Friends, the spirited Rancho Santa Fe group, anticipates 500 on Monday to raise funds for children in foster care and the "Voices for Children" program. Diane Blackburn and president Karen Weseloh are chairs.
"BRAVO BERNSTEIN": Conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein has been chosen by the Harvard-Radcliffe Club of Southern California to be honored at its benefit "Bravo Bernstein" on Sept. 13 at the Century Plaza. To kick off the affair, honorary chairman Frank Price and his wife Katherine hosted cocktails at their Beverly Hills home. Among guests were Suzanne Marx, chairman; Charles Champlin and John Green, entertainment co-chairmen; and Harvard-Radcliffe advisory committee members Suzanne Labiner and Herb Tobin.
Purpose of the fund-raiser will be to finance scholarships for Southern California young people who couldn't otherwise afford Harvard or Radcliffe.
Radcliffe's been busy. It was an evening of elegant cuisine recently with "Radcliffe Cooks for the Schlesinger" at the Four Seasons Hotel. The Harvard-Radcliffe Club welcomed Barbara Haber, curator, printed books, Schlesinger Library, and featured the cuisine of Lydia Shire, Four Seasons executive chef. There was commentary from Rita Leinwand, consultant on food and wine, for the seven award-winning wines chosen by her for the dinner (whole quail, stuffed pigs feet, fresh blackberry cobbler).
Guests numbered Harvard and Radcliffe graduates Professor Edward Carterette, Max Factor III and Suzanne Labiner, also a Radcliffe trustee.
The Schlesinger Library happens to have a major collection of books on cookery, gastronomy and the history of food, including valuable additions from Samuel and Narcissa Chamberlain, Julia Child and M.F.K. Fisher.
YOLANDA I: El Padrino de Los Angeles John Bowles will crown Miss Yolanda Pedroza as Yolanda I, the new queen of La Asociacion de Charros for Los Amigos de Los Angeles on Saturday evening at the Biltmore. Dress is Charro gala or black-tie. Los Amigos is the group founded by the late hotelier Hernando Courtright of the Beverly Wilshire to preserve Spanish, Mexican and early California customs and heritage.
Honored guests: The Hon. Augustin Garcia Lopez, consul general of Mexico here; Virginia Rafaelson, cultural attache of Mexico; former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico John Gavin and his wife Connie.