Ten Things to Know Before Del Mar Opening Day

Pop Culture
Fans enjoy the afternoon at Del Mar in this file photo. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Del Mar welcomes fans back for opening day of its 2021 summer season on Friday, July 16, and whether you’re going to be at the track or following along from home, we have 10 things you need to know before the big event.

1. If you don’t have a ticket, plan on watching online or on TV.

Tickets for Del Mar’s opening day are already sold out and walk-up admission isn’t allowed under California law, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun, either by watching on TV or by opening a TVG wagering account and following the action on your phone.

Following Del Mar’s social accounts on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook will also give you the insider’s view of Del Mar’s opening day, so check those out ASAP.

Want tickets for later on in the meet? Head on over to Del Mar’s digital ticket office and snag your tickets now.

2. There are afterparties galore.

Del Mar’s official afterparty takes place at Rancho Valencia, but there are also events at L’Auberge Hotel,  The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe … plus unofficial afterparties that will very likely take place at every bar and restaurant in town. Be prepared for a party!

3. Trevor Denman is back!

Beloved track announcer Trevor Denman didn’t make it to Del Mar last year due to the pandemic, so fans are thrilled to welcome him back in 2021.

4. Wear a hat, because there’s a contest!

Whether or not you’ve snagged opening-day tickets, be sure to sport your favorite topper and enter the Hat Contest. There are winners in four categories: Most Glamorous, Best Flowers, Best Fascinator, and Best Racing Theme/All Others. If you won’t be on track but still want to enter, submit one picture with your preferred category to contest@dmtc.com between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. PT on Friday, July 16.

5. Know the day’s races.

There are some great races on Del Mar’s opening-day schedule, including the featured  Runhappy Oceanside Stakes. While the full program of races isn’t available as of time of publication, the most important thing to know is that the afternoon’s first race will be at 2 p.m. PT, giving fans plenty of time to grab a leisurely lunch before heading to the track.

6. Memorize the lyrics to the theme song.

One of the coolest things about Del Mar is that it has its own theme song, penned by co-founder Bing Crosby!

“Where the Turf Meets the Surf” is sung every day, and there’s even a contest with Breeders’ Cup World Championships tickets on the line!

The lyrics are as follows:

Where the turf meets the surf

Down at old Del Mar

Take a plane

Take a train

Take a car

There is a smile on every face

And a winner in each race

Where the turf meets the surf

At Del Mar.

7. Open an online wagering account well ahead of the races.

Wanna bet? Of course you do! The best way to bet Del Mar from home is through TVG, the track’s official online wagering partner. You can sign up right here, but make sure to do so a day or two before the Friday if you want to play opening day: it can take a few days to deposit funds into your account.

8. If you’re going to be on track, tacos and margaritas are on the menu.

If you’re going to be on track on opening day – or any time this season, really – be sure to try two delicacies Del Mar is famous for: the Del Margarita and the fish tacos. The former can be found at any bar on site, and the latter are best from the 17 Hands restaurant right near the paddock. Yum!

9. Beach Boss is back.

If you’re seeking expert advice for playing the opening day races, check out Beach Boss, in which journalist Ray Paulick faces off with a challenger to see who can win the most on a selected race. Think you’re good enough to win? Then take on the daily contest versus Ray and test your skills!

10. There are some new spins on favorite bets.

This year, Del Mar is introducing a Rainbow Pick 6 with a minimum $.20 investment to replace its classic Pick 6 that had a $2 minimum bet. A Pick Six means a player needs to correctly select the winners of six consecutive races. A winning ticket is paid a percentage of the pool, unless there’s a single winning ticket, in which case the winner receives the entire amount of the pool. If there isn’t a single winning ticket on a day, a percentage of the money wagered will roll over into the jackpot for the next day. Be sure to keep your eye out for mandatory payout days, because that’s when the entire pool of money is up for grabs and the opportunities for huge scores abound.

Also new on opening day? Instead of a $1 minimum wager, there will be a $.50 minimum for the Super High Five bet, which is a wager that challenges horseplayers to select the first five finishers in designated races.

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