Where does the “turf meet the surf”, you ask? That’s easy in San Diego – down at the old Del Mar, where it’s opening day!
Bring out your hats and galoshes, an unlikely combination for the 71st season of the Del Mar Races but one granted to be found among residents pouring into the stadium today in this gloomy weather, for the infamous opening day at the races.
Most famous for its opening day celebration “One and Only True Fabulous Hats Contest,” prizes are awarded to the women with the most glamorous, and equally outrageous, hats. Today’s racing schedule opens with a $100,000 Oceanside Stakes mile-long turf race for three year olds.
The day at the races will continue through September 8, with races beginning at 2 p.m. and Friday concerts (which include Pinback, Common Sense, The Soft Pack, Matisyahu and Weezer) at 4 p.m.
One of the more difficult tracks to run, just four years ago the field created by Bing Crosby was changed to a Polytrack. The new track, which heard howls of complaints last year after several horses were put to sleep following the first race, has been getting praise thanks to the new track superintendent Richard Tedesco.
“The track is a different animal that Santa Anita’s [Pro-Ride synthetic, his former track],” Tedesco said to the San Diego Tribune. “This is a wax base. Santa Anita is a polymer-base. But we’re working hard to make it safe and sound and consistent.”
Opening Day, Wed., July 31 Hat Contest entries 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Sat., August 7 Pint Glass Giveaway
Sat., August 31 A Stakes Doubleheader, with SD Handicap
Sat., August 28 Pacific Classic Day
Sat., September 4 Labor Day Weekend
[image from local hat designer Diana Cavagnaro]