This is your complete guide with everything you need to know to attend this annual event from the hats to cocktails to the social scene.
Date: Friday, July 22. Gates open at 11:30; racing is from 2-5 p.m.
Hats & The Hat Parade: The hat parade is from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., and involves girls walking around Plaza de Mexico on the left side of the grounds (as you enter) showing off their hats, dresses and their great sense of style. Ladies who want to enter can do so, with the winner getting $300 cash and cool prizes.
Cocktails: There are several bars inside the buildings, but these are often impossibly crowded. You’re better off to get a big beer or shaker of margaritas or bourbon & Coke at one of the outside kisosks.
Food: You can try and sit down to eat in one of the restaurants or grab something from one of the stands inside the main betting area, but expect to wait. PubClub.com recommended eating before you arrive. And heck, have a couple mimosas with that meal to really get in the right mood for the day.
The Racing: The horses run from 1-5 p.m., and you can see the jockeys mounted from the courtyard. From there, walk the few yards out to trackside. You need reserved seats to sit in the grandstands but there’s always room behind the railing. Here, some people bring chairs and put them out for the day. There are betting windows throughout the facility, as you would expect, as well as automated betting machines. Frankly, PubClub likes the person attention of the very friendly betting tellers.
The Scene: If you’re single, this is a must-do event in and around San Diego. Girls – er, ladies – put on big Derby hats, wear nice dresses and look stunning. The guys pull out their best Charlie Harper bowling shirt (shorts are okay here) and look to meet and mingle. That’s really what the day is all about and why it gets some 50,000 people each and every year. So what’s the scene like at Opening Day? Quite simply, it’s a scene.
Del Mar Opening Day Fact Facts
Location & Address: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA
Del Mar Race Track Website: www.dmtc.com