Entertainment & Events
Del Mar races open for the season
And they’re off! With that traditional call, racing starts at Del Mar Racetrack today on a non-traditional Thursday. The 75th season of thoroughbred horse racing will be accompanied on opening day with the 20th holding of the Hats Contest. Winners in such areas as Funniest Hat, Best Racing Theme Hat, Best Flowers Hat and others will win $300, with $200 to place and $100 to show.
When Del Mar’s first opening day took place in 1937, Bing Crosby first sang the song we still hear on television commercials for the track. Bing, who was an enthusiastic fan of the sport, and living locally at the time, advised folks to take planes, trains or cars to get to the track. Today, parking is $10, and it may take a while to get in. There is a free double-decker shuttle bus running from the Solana Beach Coaster station all day long. Also, additional trains have been added to the Coaster for the day’s event.
Along with the Hat Contest, opening day will feature the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes race. Another highlight of the 2014 season is the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 24. Del Mar Racetrack had hoped to have Orange County’s California Chrome run in the classic this year, but the trainers of the winner of two of three Triple Crown races felt the horse would not be physically ready for the race. An attempt to have the steed just parade down the track prior to the race didn’t make it to the finish line when no agreement on California Chrome’s reported $50,000 appearance fee could be made.
Since last season, the course has been widened, and the Polytrack surface upgraded at a cost of $5 million. Due in part to these improvements, the track was recently awarded the honor of hosting the renowned Breeder’s Cup for the 2017 season.