Del Mar’s rip-roaring Opening Day – one of American racing’s signature events, as well as one of San Diego’s most anticipated social gatherings – has many marvelous facets to it, bells and whistles of all shapes and sizes. And not the least among them will be this year’s 19th edition of “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest,” a delightful display of headgear that ranges from the sublime to the divine, from exotic to quixotic and from classy to sassy.
The “Hats” contest, which offers prizes and recognition to a lucky few, also provides a first-rate venue – and an excellent excuse – for the many to break out their best chapeaus and finest outfits and be part of a fashion parade that high-steps through the kick-off of Southern California’s equine highpoint, this year on Wednesday, July 17.
There are five different categories for “Hats” contestants to consider: Most Glamorous; Best Racing Theme; Funniest/Most Outrageous; Best Flowers/All Others, and Best Fascinator.
Best Fascinator, which is a headpiece attached by a clip or headband, entered the fray for the first time last year and drew a huge response. Accordingly, the category has been renewed and expanded, allowing for second- and third-place prizes for the 2013 edition.
“Each year more women and men wear hats to make a fashion statement – and not just on Opening Day,” said Julie Sarno, who has been involved with the contest since its beginning and again will serve as its coordinator. “The Opening Day hats are the most fun and over the top, but any day of the race meet one sees men wearing fedoras and women wearing fascinators and hats to complete their outfits.”
On Opening Day at Del Mar, those wishing to enter “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest” can sign up for it in the track’s Plaza de Mexico inside the Stretch Run gates around the large fountain. Entries are taken from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each of the categories now has a $300 first prize, $200 for
second and $100 for third. Additional prizes are provided by sponsors Studio Savvy Salon and The Village Hat Shop.
The Bing Crosby Grand Prize winner will receive two round-trip American Airlines flight vouchers good for any American destination in the contiguous United States, plus a $500 gift basket from Studio Savvy.
Del Mar’s 37-day season runs five days a week – from Wednesday to Sunday – through to September 4. Additionally, there will be one extra day of racing on Monday, September 2, which is Labor Day.