Del Mar Horse Races Opening Day Festivities

Opening Day at Del Mar Horse Races

Where to play on Del Mar Races opening day.

Edited by Lisa Kelley

July 15 ushers in the 79th season of the Del Mar Races. Whether a horse-racing enthusiast or new to the equestrian scene, San Diego offers a line-up of opening day festivities to meet each taste.

Race Day Events

Opening Day at the Del Mar Races
July 15. Opening day ushers in the 79th annual Del Mar Racing season in true style. Join more than 40,000 fans for the fun, and experience gourmet food trucks, beer garden and cocktail bars, the Red Bull tour bus complete with world-class DJs, photo booths, jumbo video boards, private wagering and more. The fashion-forward can also display some creativity with the annual Opening Day Hats Contest. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

Rancho Valencia Resort
July 15. The “After Pony Party” at Rancho Valencia Resort is a must-stop for race enthusiasts. The resort will feature tropical cocktails, dancing and live music by Bulevar Descarga, tequila tasting, dining, photo ops and more. 6-10 p.m. $65/pp. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa FE, 858.759.6246.

The Pony Room
The “After Pony Party” at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

L’Auberge Del Mar
July 15. After the final horses cross the finish line, head to the highly anticipated opening day after party at L’Auberge Del Mar. Enjoy dancing to music by DJs FishFonics and Gabe Vega, plus fabulous cocktails and culinary delights from Kitchen 1540, all set to ocean views. 5 p.m.-midnight.

Del Mar BBQ State Championship
July 17. The race-day experience is even tastier when guests can enjoy some delicious barbecue between heats. More than 40 of the nation’s top professional barbecue pitmasters, local restaurants and chefs will be competing in the state championship while for $10, attendees can purchase samples of brisket, pork, pork ribs, chicken or steak. Admission is included with tickets to the races. The event will also feature craft beer and live music. 12 p.m. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.

Race Day Food + Drink

CUCINA enoteca
CUCINA enoteca sits just minutes from the racetrack in the heart of Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade, and pays homage to the community’s rich equestrian scene with race-inspired cocktails. Enjoy libations such as the Photo Finish with Woodford Reserve, Campari and Contratto Rosso; Trifecta with anejo tequila, Lillet Blanc and Aperol; On the Nose with orange coriander bourbon, dry curaçao, honey water, lemon and Angostura bitters; or the Il Giardino with thyme gin, amaro nonino, honey water, rose water and lemon. 2730 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, 858.704.4500.

Rancho Bernardo Inn’s North County locale makes it an ideal stop for pre- or post-race libations. Enjoy the Dutch Mule made of Nolet’s silver gin, ginger beer and grapefruit. 17550 Bernardo Oaks Dr., Rancho Bernardo, 888.281.7938.

The Dutch Mule at AVANT

Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant
Inspired by the iconic Venezuelan racehorse, Canonero II is made of Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum, panela syrup and garnished with fresh mint. 2202 4th Ave., Bankers Hill, 619.231.0222.

The Pony Room
Sip specialty cocktails this race season at The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort. The seasonal menu includes The Pony Express with Herradura double barrel reposado, Cointreau and fresh lime juice; or sample The Silver Pony with Cimarron blanch tequila, lemonade, Cointreau and topped with serrano-lemon twist. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa FE, 858.759.6246.

Del Mar Races
Every Friday starting July 22, from gates open until 6 p.m., enjoy Friday happy hour featuring specials on beer and half-price signature cocktails such as the Del Margarita, Cucumber Chili Margarita, Billionaire Margarita, Del Mary, Del Mint Julep and more. Stay after the races for live musical performances at the Seaside stage. 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar.



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