Del Mar Opening Day: Something for Everyone

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Del Mar opening day, or “where the turf meets the surf,” is an annual tradition that few rarely miss. Though opening day falls on a Wednesday, that does not hinder San Diegans, young and old alike, to don their brightest colors and most elaborate headwear to enjoy a day in the sun in beautiful Del Mar.

While most pine over what outfit they’re going to wear, or how much cash they are willing to place on a given horse, others see the day as a family tradition. The younger crowd tends to take party buses from all over: Pacific Beach, downtown, North Park, etc., and ultimately aim to socialize and grab a few cold ones. It may seem difficult, but somehow all of these different groups are able to peacefully coexist, albeit they are all in different areas.

As most know by now, Del Mar is one of the finer race tracks in California, and arguably one of the nicest in the U.S. Well manicured, colorful, and expansive, the track allows room for large crowds and ensures a grand time for everyone. Del Mar Racetrack’s countless restaurants, watering holes, and various other amenities have the ability to draw in a crowd, even those that know little about horse racing.

One French spectator at the race Wednesday put it poignantly:

“In France, races are similar to this,” said Lucas Eaves, USD law graduate. “Everyone looks very classy, but it is rather stern, and tends to be enjoyed by the just the higher class. I think it’s great that the track is set up to where families can picnic near the lower levels, and the twenty to thirty-somethings have a separate area to drink and bet on races.”

This truly puts Del Mar into perspective. Their summer concert series this year boasts The B-52s, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Weezer to name a few.

Hats of every size (some three feet or more), shape, color, design, and functionality were ever present. Men, women, and even children were involved in the festivities, as each year the hat competition grows exceedingly more intricate.

The first race kicked off at 2pm, with races running continually until around 7pm. It was interesting to see the crowd’s reaction to the first race: people placing final bets, and several people jumping up and down elated as their horse began to gain the lead.

There were many other activities to enjoy as well. Aside from the annual hats contest, near the beer tent located by the infield tunnel, several tailgate games and various other competitions were occurring. Roughly six food trucks were selling their wares, and seemed to have a good flow of customers during the event’s entirety.

Amongst the several crowd members La Jolla Blue Book spoke with, most seemed to be from San Diego. There were, however, several attendees from nearby San Clemente, Los Angeles, and even as far away as San Francisco. Some were even staying at nearby hotels in La Jolla! This being said, Eaves notion can be shared: opening day in Del Mar brings together those from varying backgrounds and locations, and allows them to look classy and enjoy such a time-honored tradition.

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