Man, 92, attends Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day for 65th straight year

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 22:13:13-04

A crowd of 40,000 walked through the gates of the Del Mar Racetrack Friday, and among them was a man enjoying his 65th straight Opening Day.

Tom Layne is 92 years old, but the excitement of the annual event makes him feel 22.

He said he's had 65 years of fun, and the track looks very different from 1950.

"You see a race course with grass … that didn't exist in 1950," he explained. "There was only a dirt track; it was only a mile long."

Layne also sang that the "hills are alive with million-dollar homes."

"Sixty-five years ago, the hills were absolutely bare. Not only of houses, but trees; there was nothing there but scrub," he said.

Layne made Opening Day a tradition with his wife, Phyllis. The two teachers used part of their summer break to drive down from the Bay Area.

He credits technological advances over the years for making it relatively inexpensive to attend the races and win.

Layne also enjoys seeing young people carry on the tradition.

"It's full of youth, it's full of beauty and the races will provide the excitement," he said about the future.