Your Guide to the 2017 Opening Day at Del Mar

The Del Mar Races Opening Day is set to happen July 19 this year and the city vibe is one filled with excitement and anticipation! Over 40,000 people are expected to come from all over and pour into the 44,000 person capacity race track to join what is known as one of the most fun, fashionable, and fabulous festivities in the west. By the way, the day is not just about fast horses or big bets but also for fashion-minded folks who love celebrating this season in style. 

Don’t miss out on anything and read through to the end for more of the events on the opening day and for the month of July.


Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

The Party on Opening Day

Where: Seaside Cabana

When: Wednesday, July 19

Tickets inclusions are:

Stretch Run Admission and exclusive access to The Party

  • Red Bull Tour Bus complete with world-class DJs
  • DJ, dance floor and games tent presented by 
  • Purchase from selection of 20+ Craft Beers and Cocktail Bars
  • Award-Winning BBQ for purchase
  • Photo booths, prize giveaways and interactive activities
  • Jumbo video boards for race viewing
  • Private wagering
  • Limited first-come-first-served shaded seating

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Opening Day Hats Contest

Where: Plaza de Mexico

When: Wednesday, July 19 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM

One of the biggest events of the day, aside from the horse racing of course, is the Opening Day Hats Contest where you can explore your sense of hat creativity AND get the chance to win a share of  more than $5,000 in total prizes. Bring your most fashionable or even your most outrageous hats and strut your stuff at the Plaza de Mexico inside the Stretch Run admission gates between the hours of 11:30 am and 3:00 pm and enter in one of the five categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Most Outrageous, Best Fascinator and Flowers/All Other. 

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Hats, Heels, and Hooves: Official Opening Day After Party

Where: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, 5951 Linea del Cielo, Rancho Santa Fe CA

When: Wednesday, July 19th 5:00 PM – Midnight

Cost: $150 until July 18th (For tickets click here)

The Inn’s event space will transform into an authentic Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm, providing guests with an unparalleled experience fitting for Del Mar’s highly anticipated day with entertainment by DJ Ricci Rich as The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe with Ranch & Coast Magazine hosts the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s official Opening Day After Party. 

Image Source: L’Auberge Del Mar

The Ultimate Opening Day After Party

Where: L’Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar CA

When: Wednesday, July 19th 5:00 PM – Midnight

Cost: $229 (now until July 18th); $250 (at the door, until capacity) – For tickets click here

One of the signature events for almost 8 years now, the L’Auberge Ultimate Opening Day After Party where party goers can enjoy ocean views as their mixologists pour the best drinks in town. This year, they will be offering a signature cocktail aptly named Off to the Races featuring bourbon whiskey, ginger beer, and Memphis Barbeque Bitters.

Other July Events:

Tribal Seeds
Violent Femmes
Eagles of Death Metal
The White Buffalo Steel Pulse Lord Huron
The Revivalists

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

4 O’clock Friday Summer Concert Series

Where: Seaside Stage

When: Every Friday starting July 21 – After the last race

The racetrack will rock after Friday’s races when various rock bands and artists take the stage for the weekly 4 O’Clock Friday Summer Concert Series presented by Coors Light.

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Day Break at Del Mar

Where: Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant

When: Every Saturdays and Sundays 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Early risers may enjoy morning workouts and breakfast in the Clubhouse Terrace Restaurant every Saturday and Sunday during the summer season. From 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., visitors will be able to view morning workouts, dine in the open air restaurant and learn behind the scenes info from Jeff Bloom, former jockey and event announcer. 

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Family Weekends

Where: Infield

When: Every Saturdays and Sundays 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

On weekends, families always win at Del Mar. Join the party in the infield with plenty of fun for the entire family. Children receive free racetrack admission, adults are only $6.

 The FREE activities feature:

Pony Rides  • Giant Scramble Slide & Obstacle Course
Inflatable Games & Rides  • Del Mar Mascot “Pony Boy”
Magic Show & GameZone  • Face Painters
Jockey Stilt Walkers  • Caricature Artist

Image source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Taste of the Turf Club

Where: Turf Club

When: Every Sunday

Every Sunday, San Diego’s most celebrated chef – Brian Malarkey – brings his talents in the exclusive Turf Club. Bring your friends for a day at the races featuring creative cuisine, reserved Turf Club seating and bottomless mimosas. For $150 per person, you’ll have Turf Club Seating for the race day, Turf Club Admission, Choice of Appetizer, Entree, Dessert and bottomless mimosas or bloody marys. Spots are limited so reserve yours today. Attendees must comply with Turf Club Dress Code.

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Paddock Sale

Where: Paddock

When: Wednesday, July 26 – After the last race

Get in on the action at the auction. Your opportunity to own a race-ready horse has arrived. “Race Ready” horses in training will be offered at the sixth annual Paddock Sale at Del Mar conducted by Barretts Sales. Conceived in 2012 to encourage new ownership in racing, the Paddock Sale provides buyers opportunities to become immediate participants at Del Mar and beyond.

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Free & Easy Wednesdays

Where: Stretch Run Concession Stands

When: Every Wednesday beginning July 26

Every Wednesday, this summer is FREE & EASY. Receive FREE Stretch Run Admission, FREE Program and a FREE Seat along with HALF PRICE Coors Light, Regular Soda, Water and Hot Dog at Stretch Run Concession Stands. We’re adding more surf to the turf with HALF PRICE tacos and $5 Margaritas available in 17 Hands. Did we mention it’s free? Free admission, free program, free seat and more every Wednesday this summer!

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Gourmet Food Truck Festival

Where: Seaside Concert Area

When: Saturday, July 29 – 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Bring your appetite for the tastiest food on wheels when the 7th annual Gourmet Food Truck Festival comes to Del Mar. Enjoy a variety of some of the hottest eats in Southern California as 40 food trucks are expected, all in one location, with gourmet chefs serving their eclectic bests at super prices.

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Del Mar Handicapping Challenge

When: Saturday and Sunday – July 29 and 30

Compete in the live bankroll Del Mar Handicapping Challenge this July. More than $300,000* in prizes and 8 seats up for grabs to the $2.5 million National Horseplayers Championship as well as six Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entries. 

Image Source: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Donuts Days

Where: Seaside Terrace

When: Saturday, July 29 and Saturday, August 12 – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Free coffee, orange juice, and yummy donuts, as you take a behind-the-scenes look into the world of Thoroughbred racing. Track announcer Trevor Denman will host the festivities which include question and answer sessions with famous jockeys and trainers while watching the horses during their morning workouts. Other activities include a meet and greet with the Del Mar Mascot Pony Boy along with face painting, entertainers, and free prizes for the kids.

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