Gone are the (pre-pandemic) days when you could show up around Noon, hand over $10 ($20 for full ground-level access) and take in the sights and sounds of what PubClub.com has described as “the Kentucky Derby of the West Coast.”
Now, tho, track officials have limited GA tickets to approximately 25,000 and they are all gone. Del Mar Opening Day would typically attract more than 50,000. True, the track really can’t handle more than 35,000 max, so lines for food and drinks in the restaurants and for the bathrooms moved way slower than the horses on the track. But people put up with it because, well, it was THE happening summer social scene of San Diego.
That now, is part of the track’s history.
By the way, if you think the track isn’t making as much money as before when there were 50,000+ on Opening Day, then you’re wrong. It simply doubled the ticket price to $40.
Another Del Mar tradition is also gone. Opening Day, traditionally on a Wednesday (again, pre-pandemic) is now on a Friday.
Del Mar Opening Day Hats Contest
For those who are going to Opening Day, the annual Hats Contest – one of the highlights of the afternoon – is taking place at the usual spot, the Plaza de Mexico, from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Here, ladies and some gentlemen show off their derby hats, some of which are literally over the top.
No Friday Del Mar Concerts
Another Del Mar tradition is no more, and that is the Friday night concerts. These were so popular that the San Diego party people would go to the track just for them and not to watch any of the races.
Del Mar Friday Afternoon 2-For-1 Happy Hour
The track still has half off it’s so-called signature drinks until 5 p.m. This includes the Del Margarita, which consists of a double shot of tequila, margarita mix and a splash of Patrón Citrónge.