Hats, Horses and High Rollers: Opening Day at the Del Mar Races

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack
Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

…and they’re off!

Seventy-five years have passed since Bing Crosby and his friends opened up the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, but the glamour and prestige of Opening Day hasn’t faded with age. Every year, locals and visitors alike flock to the seaside racetrack to soak up the first day of racing action, not to mention gawk at all the elaborate hats on display, and this year’s Opening Day was no exception.

Opening Day hats on display at the Del Mar Racetrack

Those looking to visit the Del Mar races this season can embark on the journey car-free; just hop on the North County Transit District’s COASTER commuter train. Ride the train to Solana Beach, then hop on one of the free shuttles that take you directly to the track’s front gate. The best part is the view – it sure beats staring at the cars stuck in traffic!

Ride the Coaster train to the Del Mar Racetrack

No need for a designated driver when you take the Coaster to the racetrack, and the view is outstanding.

While the races are the main event, Opening Day is one heck of a party with plenty of smiling faces under those elaborate hats. It’s best to make a day of it, so dress up, grab a few of your friends and a Del Margarita and settle in for afternoon.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Even after Opening Day has come and gone, the action at the track is just warming up. All season long, the Del Mar racetrack is home to events that appeal to visitors of all ages, like the Gourmet Food Truck Festival on July 28, where more than 50 trucks come to the track to offer a wide range of delicious, fun and funky dining options. Parents can bring the kids out for Family Fun Day on July 22, and dog lovers can cheer on the fastest runners on four legs…four very short legs! The Wienerschnitzel Wiener Dog Nationals take place at the track on Sept. 3. And of course, Fridays are all about music at the track, with Del Mar’s Summer Concert Series. After the races end, race-goers can enjoy free live music from a lineup of performers including Wavves, Dashboard Confessional, Ben Harper and more. Check out the full lineup for information on performances schedules.

Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack

Opening Day 2012 broke attendance records, with more than 47,000 people attending

If you’re planning on attending Opening Day next year, or any of the other days this season that feature concerts or special events, be sure to plan on arriving early and give yourself extra travel time.

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Candice

About Candice

Foodie, craft beer nerd, shopaholic, music geek, photographer and contemporary art fan could all be used to describe me. I’m a big proponent of highlighting San Diego’s hidden gems and local businesses and breaking stereotypes about our city. We’re more than just sunshine and beaches (though those are nice, too!). What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day? Eating and shopping around my favorite neighborhoods: Golden Hill, South Park, North Park, Little Italy and Hillcrest. Then popping into one of our great art museums and capping off the night with some live music and a a local beer at The Casbah. What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity? Does shopping count as an outdoor activity? Or checking out the public art around town, like at Chicano Park? I do love visiting the La Jolla tide pools in the summer and ice skating at the outdoor rinks that go up each winter. Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine? Let's get one thing straight here: San Diego craft beer goes with everything, not just burgers. Though it is really good with a burger. Latest music purchases for my iPod player are… I’m lucky to be married to a music journalist, so advance copies of the newest albums are constantly available to me for free. But I can’t seem to stop playing the new album by CHVRCHES, and San Diego band Rocket from the Crypt have been on repeat a lot lately. Follow Candice on Twitter @candicesd

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