Del Mar Opens with festivities throughout weekend

DEL MAR (KUSI) — San Diego’s most beloved time of year, summer racing at Del Mar, is back, bringing race fans flocking to the iconic seaside oval for the best of Thoroughbred racing. There’s no better place to be than where the turf meets the surf on Opening Day at Del Mar. Last year’s season opener was attended by more than 40,000 fans.

Opening Day is Wednesday, July 19, and attendees will get treated like VIPs at The Party in the Seaside Cabana tent located at the west end of the Grandstand. Thrill seekers are promised a day of style, sun, music, and racing action. There will be DJs spinning, beer gardens, prizes, games and more. Tickets are only $35 per person and include Stretch Run admission and exclusive access to the cabana. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with the first post at 2 p.m.

Attendees looking to show off their creative side will enjoy the 23rd annual Opening Day Hats Contest, where more than $5,000 dollars in prizes will be awarded. Fashionable fans can compete in the following five categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Funniest/Most Outrageous, Best Fascinator and Flowers/All Other. Sign-ups will be held in the Plaza de Mexico from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Valenti International is the Opening Day title sponsor.

Then on Friday, July 21, Del Mar will begin their summer concert series with a performance by award-winning reggae group, Tribal Seeds. They will take the Seaside Stage after the last race around 7 p.m. and racetrack guests receive free admission. Those who arrive after the last race will be charged $20 for concert admission. All concerts are 18+.

Every Friday at Del Mar will also feature Party In The Plaza from 2 to 6 p.m. Cocktail lovers will get half off signature cocktails throughout the track – including the Del Margarita, Del Martini, Del Mojito, Del Mule and more! For just $12, beer fans will be able to buy two 12 oz. cans of refreshingly cold Coors Light or Tecate Light in the Plaza de Mexico.

For 55 years, we marveled at their athleticism and the way they kept us on the edge of our seat for every play. On Saturday, July 22, Chargers Day at Del Mar will give fans the chance to personally thank those players for every moment and memory. A legion of past and present Chargers players will be at Del Mar to share stories and say one last “goodbye.” Come out and take pictures, get autographs and bid farewell to the players who will forever be San Diego Chargers.

Jockey Photo Day will also take place on Saturday, July 22. Super fans will be able to meet the incredible athletes that make Del Mar’s jockey colony, take a photo, get an autograph and chat with their favorites. This will take place from 12 – 1 p.m. in Plaza de Mexico.

Early risers can enjoy Daybreak at Del Mar in the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant every Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. this summer. Visitors will be able to dine and view morning workouts while learning behind the scenes info from Jeff Bloom, former jockey, and fan-favorite event announcer. There is no charge for admission, but a $10 parking fee applies.

Family Weekends will occur every weekend this season. Families will join the party in the infield with a variety of free activities including pony rides, face painting, and an obstacle course. Children receive free racetrack admission and adults can experience the fun for only $6.

Every Sunday fans can enjoy the mouthwatering cuisine of one of San Diego’s most celebrated chefs, Brian Malarkey, at the exclusive Taste of the Turf Club. Attendees will have a decadent day at the races with reserved seating, bottomless mimosas, and delicious cuisine. Tables are limited and the $150 per person includes Turf Club seating for the race day, Turf Club admission, choice of appetizer, entree, dessert and bottomless mimosas or bloody marys.

Racing at Del Mar happens Wednesday through Sunday with the exception of Closing Day on Labor Day Monday (9/4). First post daily will be at 2 p.m. First post on Friday’s will be at 4 p.m. with the exceptions of August 25 and September 1 when the first post shifts to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 858-755-1141 or visit You can follow Del Mar on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat at @DelMarRacing or like us on Facebook at

Categories: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Opening Day