Huge Crowds Overwhelm Where The Turf Meets The Surf, Yet the People Still Keeping Partying
Opening Day at Del Mar race track in Del Mar, CA, is an annual event for tens of thousands of people from Los Angeles to San Diego. People arrive by limos, party buses and even the train (when this happens in Southern California, you know it’s something special).
Just walking into the facility is a scene. Once there, it’s obvious a party is happening. People have shakers of margaritas or beers in hand and are chatting it up with groups of friends or strangers.
There’s some people 50,000 in all. And yet, Del Mar Opening Day is being smothered by its own success.
There’s too many people for the traditional old facility to handle. It’s maddening to try and get a drink at one of the bars – the best bet is one of the portable ones stationed outside – and there are constant lines at the betting windows. In 2011, officials delayed the final races because people couldn’t get to the betting windows by post time. The final race did not start until 6:30; usually by that time the facility is vacated and people are either stationed the Brigantine or having one hell of a party at En Fueguo.
Yet this pales in comparison to the lines at the bathrooms. Waits of half an hour are commonplace, and for the girls, it’s even more of a challenge. They resort to whatever facility is at their disposal, and often there are more women in the men’s rooms than there are men.
And forget trying to sit down and get something to eat; you’ll waste the entire day trying to get a table.
The biggest word in Del Mar on Opening Day is “patience.”
Then there are the glitches that always seem to pop up on Opening Day. Like the ATM machines going down in 2011. One year, I was there and a big new scoreboard at the finish line wasn’t working. How in the world, with no races from September until Opening Day the third Wednesday in July, could this happen? They had nine months to test the darned thing!
You get the feeling that one day, Del Mar’s grand Opening Day success going to bite it in the ass. People are going to finally say “enough of this crap” and just not go the next year.
It might happen one day, but for the foreseeable future, people know it’s just too much of a party to ignore.