Del Mar Races Opening Day After-Parties

del Mar Races
Del Mar Races opening day after-parties.

Looking for a cool way to kick off the Del Mar Races in San Diego? Top Five Hotspots to Celebrate Opening Day at the Del Mar Races.

By Sarah Daoust

Opening Day at the Del Mar Races, taking place this Thursday, July 17, is practically an official holiday in San Diego. (Visit and for details.) Tens of thousands will flock to the Del Mar Racetrack—dressed to impress in their finest frocks, suits and hats—for an afternoon of people-watching, partying and betting on the ponies. But the party really gets started after the last race. We rounded up our top five picks for fabulous Opening Day after-parties being held at nearby luxury resorts and restaurants. Just make sure you’re on the list in advance. Giddy-up!

L’Auberge Del Mar
Celebrating its sixth annual Opening Day after-party, L’Auberge is the undisputed hottest ticket in town. The entire resort will be transformed into a sophisticated party by the sea with music, cocktails, culinary treats and ocean views. New this year is the debut of Club 1540, an exclusive, limited-access nightclub within the party. Tickets are $175 per person or $200 at the door. Tickets for Club 1540 are $500 per person. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, 858.259.1515.

Rancho Valencia Resort
The “After Pony Party” here goes from 5 to 10 p.m. Guests can enjoy the resort’s complimentary 25th anniversary cocktail, The Silver Pony, and signature bites; along with Skinny Suja cocktails, live music from GipsyMenco, a $6 margarita bar, $3 taco bar and special giveaways. Entry is complimentary but reservations are recommended. 5921 Valencia Circle, Rancho Santa Fe, 858.759.6246.

Club M at The Grand Del Mar
The kick-off party at this five-star resort’s upscale lounge runs from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Enjoy live music from 7 to 10 p.m., with a guest DJ arriving at 10 p.m. Turf Club attire is strongly encouraged, and prizes will be given to the best dressed. No cover charge. RSVP to 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, Del Mar, 858.314.1950 (for table reservations).

Cucina Enoteca
One of Del Mar’s most buzzed-about new restaurants, located just down the street from the track at Flower Hill Promenade, will host its first “Post Paddock Party.” Features will include a special “Off to the Races” menu with brand-new, race-inspired punch cocktails, Grey Goose libations and discounted bites. A DJ on the patio will keep the party going, and Cucina Enoteca is also accepting dinner reservations in its dining room for those looking for a more relaxed evening. The California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop’s design pays homage to the local community’s rich equestrian history with an “ode to the equestrian” theme visible along the staircase with hanging, hand-selected collectible horse figurines. Grab a seat on the upstairs garden patio or the popular downstairs communal area—the perfect pre- or post-race destination. 2730 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, 858.704.4500.

Sea & Smoke
Also located at Flower Hill Promenade, this popular brasserie will host an Opening Day pre- and post-party benefiting The Boys and Girls Clubs of San Dieguito. From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., enjoy breakfast and/or lunch before the races and receive complimentary entrance to the post-track soiree beginning at 4 p.m. Otherwise, admission to the post-racetrack event is $30 and includes hosted bites from Chef Matt Gordon, live music by The Red Fox Tails, Teeling Whiskey shots for $5, Derby Mules for $7 and Peach Smash cocktails for $9 all day—with $1 from each cocktail benefitting The Boys and Girls Club. Reservations recommended. 2690 Via de la Valle, Del Mar, 858.925.8212.  

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