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Del Mar Racing Opening Day 2022: What you need to know

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 10:38:44-04

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — Horse racing season returns to the Del Mar Racetrack, with thousands of fans expected for Opening Day festivities.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club kicks off its 83rd season on Friday, July 22, with Opening Day, and the season ends on Sept. 11. The 2022 summer meet will see a return to full capacity in the grandstand for the first time since 2019.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first post is at 2 p.m.

Opening Day tickets are sold out, but tickets are available for the remainder of the weekend.

This season, the racetrack will not have COVID-19 restrictions, such as vaccine and facemask requirements, in place.

Track officials said enhanced cleaning stations will be available for guests around the venue.

Fans will be able to wager on 10 races, including the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes and enter the Opening Day Hats Contest. Winners of the hats contest can share more than $4,000 in prizes in one of four categories: Best Racing Theme, Most Glamorous, Best Fascinator, and Best Flowers. Creations have to be shown before 3 p.m. in the Plaza de Mexico.

Other events/festivities on Opening Day:

The Grand — Those interested can enter the inner circle of Del Mar's exclusive Turf Club, the Tahona Terrace, and "become a part of Opening Day history with the inaugural cocktail experience featuring 'The Grand,' the ultimate margarita curated by Patrón Master Mixologist."

Sadly, The Party is sold out. However, fans can go to the After Pony Party where they can dance, dine, and celebrate their wins with celebrity jockeys at Rancho Valencia. General Admission includes entry, a welcome cocktail, an endless buffet, a cash bar, a live DJ, and dancing.

Del Mar is also bringing back fan favorite events to the track this year with highlights including:

-- Aug. 6: Equine Art Show with many of Del Mar's talented artists, painting demonstrations and art for purchase
-- Aug. 13: Uncorked: Del Mar Wine Fest with tastings of more than 150 wines from across the globe along with gourmet food from local San Diego food vendors
-- Aug. 20: Del Mar Taco & Beer Festival featuring local breweries as well as tacos prepared by local food vendors
-- Sept. 4: Family Fun Day, allowing fans to bring their family to the cabana to enjoy free attractions including face painting and kid-friendly games
-- Sept. 10: College Day: College students with identification will be admitted free and receive exclusive access to grandstand seating

The meet's richest race, the $1 million Pacific Classic, will be run Sept. 3.

The organization says general admission tickets will be limited to enhance the attendee experience, so guests are encouraged to buy tickets early to guarantee attendance.

Tickets for the summer season went on sale on Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased on the website.