Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Del Mar is usually a quiet beach town (just north of San Diego) but all of that changes when the Del Mar Racetrack opens in July. Open for only for 43 days every summer, it's a popular place to go. Especially on Opening Day, which attracts some 40,000 fans.

When I saw an article about it a few weeks ago, I got really excited. This was an EVENT. What to wear? I looked at last years pictures and saw a lot of fancy dresses and big hats. Men in suits and hats too! Oh Yes! I had to go! The people watching was unbelievable.

There is an famous hat contest too. This is a huge deal. There are 4 categories where you can enter your hat and win over $2000. Most glamorous, best racing theme, funniest/most outrageous, and best flowers.

Now I didn't really have time (or money) to put together a great hat for the contest. Uh..wait. What am I talking about? I have nothing BUT time on my hands! The real problem was that I didn't get started shopping until the night before, and surprise surprise, there weren't many hats left. We went to 3 stores and ended up at the Village Hat Shop in Seaport Village at 8pm the night before the race.

I found one that I liked in my favorite color for only $23! I paired it with one of the dresses to the left? Which do you think is more fitting for horse races? Me too...I wore the printed one. (Its not totally my stlye, but seemed appropriate for the festivities. I will sell it- 100% cotton, size S ,$15. email me.)

I am not a total horse racing virgin. In college me, my brother and several friends took a road trip to the Indianapolis 500. We bought tickets in the infield and had a crazy fun time. I still remember that I wore shorts and a loose shirt because I was smuggling in vodka in ziplock bags that were taped around my stomach. What a blast! (I wish we had smuggled our beers at Del Mar because they cost $8 a pop for a draft.) The traffic was pretty bad getting to the racetrack, and for Espinoza standards, we arrived EARLY! (One hour before the first race). We signed up to be Diamond Club members which automatically gave us 1/2 off the entrance fee.  Back at the car we enjoyed a few cold beverages before entering the park.The whole atmosphere was really exciting. I'll say it again, the people watching was better than I have seen.  The hats were the highlight for me (the outfits and fake boobs came in a close second & third).  I was partial to the feather hats.  Next year Im entering that contest myself! 

This one had us laughing.  She had to have won for the Most Outrageous, right?

There were 10 races on opening day and this is how we enjoyed them:

1. Pick horses. I placed my bets based on the horses name and the colors that the jockey was wearing (all listed in race program) Yes, very scientific, I know.  Neto did a bit of research before and followed the picks of a professional which were listed online. 2.  Place bets.  The people taking your money were most helpful. It was obvious we weren't regulars, but they were all so friendly. One bet we played on every race was the "trifecta".  With this bet you need to pick the horses that come in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and pick the correct order.3.  See the horses.  Its nice to be able to see the horses close up.  Unfortunately there is not enough time to view the horses and then go bet.  You can only encourage the horse you have already put money on. These are beautiful horses, so lean and strong.  I also liked checking out the jockeys. so little.

4. Watch the race and cheer!   I love the announcer, giving you the blow by blow with the horses names making it so exciting.   There is also a screen showing the horses, so you don't miss anything. 


5.  Hold up winning ticket and scream!  On the 7th race we got lucky! (I say "we" because when you are married 'what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine' right?)  Ernesto won $350 on a $1 trifecta bet! 

I wasn't the only girl who had to take off her shoes that day.  It was a lot of walking and I haven't worn heels for more than a couple house in a year!  Minus the 2 big-ass blisters on my feet, we had one of the best summer days in San Diego.  

The after party was at L' Auberge a luxury hotel in Del Mar. Ernesto had a friend DJing the party, and it was pure craziness.  The crowd was huge and the music was fantastic.  Much dancing. Weaving in and out of people. Pool blocked off as VIP.  A bit of pretentiousness.  It felt more like LA or Miami, but fun just the same.

This post is being shared with  The inspired Room and Hooked on Fridays check out their blogs to see what others are hooked on today.

Oh! One more thing:
Sticking to the horse racing subject I have to share this video.  My sister showed it to me and I was LMAO! 
Now, if you are easily offended, don't hit play. (foul language) You have been warned!  Enjoy!


  1. Looks like a great stylish day at the horse track! How fun.

  2. Smuggling in vodka taped to your stomach- classic! Maybe I will try that next week when I go to a Mets game!


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