Del Mar racing season opens July 17

Del Mar first opened its gates in 1937 and this summer the legendary racetrack once again will welcome the nation’s fastest horses and Southern California’s most spirited partygoers. The seaside facility’s seven-week meet — filled with big races, free concerts and exciting weekend events — will commence on Wednesday, July 17.

One of Southern California’s most anticipated summer events — Opening Day at Del Mar — is likely to welcome more than 47,000 celebrities, socialites and partygoers to the track to get the season up and running in Kentucky Derby style, highlighted by “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest,” a continuing tradition of glamorous, eye-catching and elaborately beautiful hats.

Besides world-class Thoroughbred racing, Del Mar is known for its incredible lineup of entertainment, hosting big name musical acts on the Seaside Stage for its Summer Concert Series. Racegoers can enjoy free shows from a lineup of performers (to be announced) that included Ben Harper, Cake and Dashboard Confessional during the 2012 meet.

New to the track this year is the Del Mar Grill Fest (Aug. 17), where more than 30 championship barbeque teams, restaurants and caterers will be serving up anything and everything grilled, including desserts. Del Mar’s two beer fests will each feature more than 100 brews, showcasing more than 40 beers from the San Diego area (July 27) and more than 40 IPAs (August 31).

Del Mar’s richest and most prestigious race, the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic, will take place Sunday, Aug. 25, and is expected to attract many of the country’s top jockeys, trainers and racehorses. The 2013 season event calendar also will feature fan favorites such as the Miss Cougar Del Mar Contest (July 26), Gourmet Food Truck Festival (August 3), Donut Days (July 20 and August 24), Free and Easy Wednesdays (weekly), Daybreak at Del Mar (weekly on Saturdays and Sundays) and handicapping seminars throughout the season.

The track’s Family Fun Day happens Sunday, July 21, but families can enjoy kid-friendly activities in the Infield every Saturday and Sunday throughout the meet. Dog lovers can cheer on the fastest dachshunds in the west between races during the Wiener Dog Nationals – a perennial family favorite at Del Mar on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1.

Racing at Del Mar takes place Wednesday through Sunday, with post time for the first race on most days at 2 p.m. On Fridays, first post changes to 4 p.m. For more information, call 858-755-1141 or visit

  1. You can follow the Del Mar racetrack on Twitter, @DelMarRacing or become a fan on Facebook at