And they’re off. Racing season in Del Mar, a Southern California staple since Bing Crosby welcomed the first guest to the horse racing track in 1937, opens July 17 and continues until Sept. 3 this year.
For the first time, Del Mar has added a 15-day meet in the fall, beginning Nov. 7. Admission and seat prices to the second meet vary.
Del Mar's opening day rivals the Kentucky Derby for hats and headgear. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Hats Contest with five categories, including best racing theme and most outrageous. The Bing Crosby Grand Prize includes a two-night stay at the Grand Del Mar with dinner for two and a $500 gift certificate from the Village Hat Shop.
Its long and storied history includes many celebrities besides Crosby. Among the names affiliated with the track: W.C. Fields, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and Gloria Swanson, according to “Del Mar: Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” by Hank Wesch.
Race admission includes free summer concerts on certain Friday and Saturday nights.
Race days are Wednesdays-Sundays.
Info: Del Mar Race Track, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, Calif. 92014; (858) 755-1141.
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