Entertainment & Events

Del Mar Races

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We’re live blogging Opening Day @ Del Mar!


As the fourth post of Opening Day is about to get underway, one of our Entertainer staff members was lucky enough to skip out for the day and catch the gongshow festivities at Del Mar for Opening Day.

That’s right, our Music Editor, Breanna Murphy, is live blogging some of the big events of the day on Twitter (or is it live ‘tweeting’?)

Without her, we never would’ve known that one of the horses in the 3rd post was injured, and the jockey thrown from the horse. A rough start indeed.

So check out her latest developments via live tweeting (man I hate that word…) right here (and why don’t you add us as a friend while you get a chance??)

Deals abound at the Del Mar races this summer

Photo courtesy Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Photo courtesy Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

All of the rides have been taken down, all of the fried cheeseburgers have been eaten, and all of the carnies have climbed in their trucks and skulked away to the next town. And so – finally – the Del Mar Racetrack restores its signature beauty and touch of class in preparation for another great season of thoroughbred racing.

The 2009 meet boasts another vibrant schedule of music, giveaways, and special events, all at one of the most picturesque venues in all of sport. This year Del Mar celebrates its 70th year of racing, and to commemorate this milestone the track is planning to offer the public a myriad of budget-friendly options to help patrons out during this time of economic distress.

free and easy wednesdaysOne of the new promotions this year is what they’re calling “Free and Easy Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday (except opening day) you can get free admission, a free program, and a free reserved seat in the Stretch Run seating section, as well as half-priced beer, sodas, and hot dogs. Also new this year is “Oggi’s Pizza and Ponies Thursdays” which offers admission, a reserved seat, a program, a personal pizza and a soda for just $11 (You’ll need to drop by an Oggi’s location beforehand to pick up a coupon for this deal).

Another money-saver at the track is Diamond Club membership. You can sign up anytime at the front gates. It’s entirely free, and with membership you’ll receive half-priced admission to the races everyday, as well as other offers and giveaways during the season.

Plus, you get to tell people you’re a member of the “Diamond Club”, which makes you sound fancier than you probably are.

Once you get inside you’ll find plenty of great events for the 2009 season. Returning once again is the extremely popular summer concert series (see our earlier article about the concert series here) This year’s bands include Pinback, The Airborne Toxic Event, Super Diamond, and a ton of great reggae bands including The Wailers and Steel Pulse.

beerfestThe highlight of the concert series, however, has got to be when the Flaming Lips perform on Saturday, August 15th. The psychedelic alt-rock superstars are making their second appearance at Del Mar, and will be performing on the same day as the Del Mar Beer Fest which will be taking place in the infield. The Flaming Lips have been described as “one of the greatest live bands in the world” by Rolling Stone and “one of the bands you must see before you die.” by Q Magazine. I’m pretty sure that means you have to go.

On August 1st, FM 94/9 hosts its local music showcase, and on the same day the track holds yet another craft microbrew festival, this time paired with a delicious Chili Cook-off sanctioned by none other than the International Chili Society. For a nominal fee you can sample a wide assortment of spicy stews and wash it all down with some of the finest local microbrews San Diego has to offer.

And, of course, there’s the actual horse racing. If you don’t have a foolproof wagering technique like I do (i.e. bet on every single horse in every singe race), then you may want to take advantage of the free handicapping lessons offered by the track before the first race every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Professional horse players will lead you through the ins and outs of the various bets, and even share a few strategies. It’s a brief and informal session and can really help you from losing all your cash (maybe).

Del Mar is known throughout racing as one of the finest tracks in the world, and its signature event – the $1 Million Pacific Classic Race – is a highlight of the season. It’s a high-stakes race for only the swiftest thoroughbreds, and past winners have gone on to fame at prestigious contests such as the Kentucky Derby. If you’ve never seen the Pacific Classic before, it really is quite a spectacle – don’t miss it. This year’s Classic takes place near the end of the meet on September 6.

But there’s nothing quite like the spectacle of opening day, which is right around the corner this Wednesday, July 22. Check back here next week for my recap of the sights, sounds and celebrities at this official kickoff of the party of the summer, including the famous Hat Contest. Hope to see you out at Del Mar next Wednesday, for opening day “where the turf meets the surf!”

(I’ll be easy to spot – the guy frantically running to the ATM after each race.)

The Del Mar Races
Wed. July 22 – Wed. September 9 (no racing on Mon/Tue)
First Post for Races: 2:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. on Fridays)
858.755.1141 (general info line)

Lineup announced for 3 O’Clock Fridays at the Del Mar Racetrack

The pot-smoking crowd at Ziggy Marley in 2008 (from delmarconcerts via Flikr)

The pot-smoking crowd at Ziggy Marley in 2008 (from delmarconcerts via Flikr)

While the Del Mar Fair San Diego County Fair currenly pumps out “Music Madness” with its chock-full schedule and a dizzying spinning wheel of nightly acts at the Fairgrounds, racing season seems to get lost in the shuffle as June gloom creeps on in Del Mar.

And while seeing Creedence Clearwater Revisited sans John Fogerty and the Marshall Tucker Band sans Toy Caldwell while eating deep fried _________ (fill in the blank) can surely provide enough kicks for one evening, racing fans and concertgoers alike know the real fun begins on July 24 when 3 O’Clock Fridays return to the Del Mar Racetrack with G Love & Special Sauce.

Yes, 3 O’Clock Fridays – where the infield concerts after the day’s races are free with the price of admission, amateur bettors like me pretend to be trained horse racing handicappers, and where the infield beer taps flow like gushing mountain streams.

Del Mar Summer Concert SeriesThis year’s line-up features some great acts, notably the Wailers, the Flaming Lips, Steel Pulse and local alt favorites Pinback. Also, the Roots Rock Reggae Festival closes the series on September 6. And if seeing the bands themselves weren’t reason enough to go, The Lips and the Pulse shows will also feature an all-day Beer Fest in the infield.

The concerts have been notorious for shaking up the “high society” smugness of the typical Racetrack crowd (see the pool scene in Caddyshack for similar re-enactment) and notorious for out-of-control drinking and marijuana smoking. But this year aims to be different, as organizers caved to complaints about too much pot smoking at reggae concerts (who knew?). In response, organizers have banned cigarette smoking at the Fairgrounds and have ensured they will be doing pat-down searches at, and only at, reggae shows. So beware, those of you eyeing that Wailers or Steel Pulse show and trying to stash the lettuce … “The Man” will be watching.

Tickets for this years 3 O’Clock Fridays run at $6 for Stretch Run tickets and $10 for clubhouse seats. The first post is at 3 p.m. and the last of the day at 7 p.m. The concerts follow the last race and are all general admission, taking place on the eastern end of the infield.

2009 Del Mar Summer Concert Series Lineup

July 24- G LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE– Alternative Rock
July 31- THE WAILERS – Reggae
August 7- THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT– Alternative Rock
August 14- COMMON SENSE– Reggae
August 21- PINBACK– Alternative Rock
August 28- SUPER DIAMOND– Neil Diamond Tribute Band
September 4- PETE YORN– Alternative Rock

Saturdays (Infield):

August 15-THE FLAMING LIPS– Alternative Rock
August 22- STEEL PULSE– Reggae

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