Thursday, July 13th, 2017   ( 4 years ago )

The Ultimate Guide to Opening Day at Del Mar

Presented by Valenti International

How to Arrive

….in style, obviously. But, after you’ve figured out your perfect Opening Day look, you’ll definitely want to coordinate your transportation for the day. Gates open at 11:30 and valet fills up fast! Here’s a breakdown of your options:

Take a Plane - Hope you booked this one already!

Take a Train - The Coaster and The Surfliner help you leave traffic jams behind. Plan for extra boarding time as it tends to get crowded! Both drop off in Solana Beach where Del Mar offers a free shuttle to the track starting at 9:00.

Take a Car - Roll up with your squad in style using Skye Limo or request an Uber to make your trip to the seaside oval a breeze. (Plus, use promo code DELMAR17 for a discount on your first ride!).


What to Wear

For the ladies - those famous Opening Day hats serve double duty! Show up in your most stylish brimmed hats and protect yourself from the summer sun. Looking for more ways to stay cool? Consider wearing your hair up to tame flyaways and compliment your fabulous fascinator. Pro tip: Determine your outfit first, and then search for the perfect hat. 

For the gentleman - you can never go wrong with a button-down or polo shirt and a nice pair of khakis. Feel free to have a little fun, bright bowtie? Check! Classic Fedora? If it fits! After all, it is THE biggest party on the west coast. Don’t forget - a sport coat is required for those in the Turf Club and Suites.


What to Do

The first race goes off at 2:00 but there's plenty to see (and places to be seen) around the track before the horses hit the track.

Located in the Plaza de Mexico, the Opening Day Hats Contest starts when the gates open and runs until 3:00. Your stylish and fashion-forward creation could win in one of five categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Most Outrageous, Best Fascinator, and Flowers. Need more incentive? There’s $5,000 in total prizes on the line including a luxurious one-night stay at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar! And, even better? Endless bragging rights.

After you strut your stuff, head on over to The Party On Opening Day for the full VIP experience. Tickets are a steal at only $35 per person and include a day of thrills and exclusive access to the Seaside Cabana. Choose to spend your day grooving on the dance floor or cracking open a cold one with the boys in the shaded seating area and beer garden.  

Feeling lucky? As the saying goes: There’s a winner in every race! Today might be the day to test that beginner’s luck at the wagering window. New to the track? Our Wagering Guide has everything you need to know before you place your first bet.

Spice up your taste buds with a Ketel One Del Mule from the Veranda Café. Psst for Opening Day you get to keep the mug - until we run out that is. 

Keep the party going after the races at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe's official Opening Day After Party. Enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment alongside your favorite jockeys and support a good cause all at the same time. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund!


Once is Never Enough

Can’t make it for Opening Day? We’ve got a whole summer of fun on the horizon. Find our event schedule at and we’ll see you at the track!  

Open July 19 to September 4.