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Del Mar Opening Race Day: Hats, Horses, and Huge Crowds

A total of 46,000 race fans were expected during opening day said Joe Harper, president of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

And they're off!

Opening day of the 75th season of horse racing at the Del Mar racetrack, "where the turf meets the surf," was highlighted by the annual hat contest and the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes for 3-year-old horses on Wednesday.

Joe Harper, president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, said he enjoys seeing the younger horses win other races. "I like to watch the development of our two year olds that ran last summer that won the Kentucky derby." 

The "One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest" included Best Racing Theme, Funniest or Most Outrageous, Most Glamorous, and Best Fascinator, which is a type of headpiece or hair accessory.

The grand prize was two round-trip airline ticket vouchers to anywhere in the U.S. Category winners received $300, with $200 for second place and $100 for third. The Best Fascinator category offered a $100 first place prize.

The highlight of the 37-day meet is the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on Aug. 26. Overall, nearly $7.8 million is available in stakes races. 

In addition, Harper said that, "On Saturday we are going to give $75 to every 75th person that comes through the gate." 

The Friday concert series will continue this year, beginning with the San Diego-based Wavves this week. Concerts are free if you purchase your ticket and stay for the concert said Harper.

For the most part, racing will take place Wednesday through Sunday, with first post at 2 p.m. all days except Fridays, which first post is at 4 p.m.

Harper wants San Diego and Patch readers to know, "If you like to drink margaritas and wear hats this is the place to be." 

Also read:

-City News Service Contributed to this report

Christine Foronda July 19, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Wow, those are some...interesting hats, haha! I really enjoyed going last year. Unfortunately, this year I wasn't able to play much of a part due to the fact that I was at work helping people pick out seersucker suits and very beautiful, classy, and ostentatious hats for the opening day.

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