Betting on the Ponies at the Del Mar Races

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Darcie Czajkowski | Del Mar RacesJuly is my favorite summer month, primarily because it is the start of many months where San Diego’s weather is at its best.  May gray and June gloom have been swept away with the tide and replaced with pristine blue skies and perfect seventy-five-degree weather.  The month starts off with a bang – quite literally – with Fourth of July fireworks and barbeques and, to me, this marks the true beginning of summer.

But my excitement for summer truly kicks into full gear about two weeks after the Fourth.  It seems like any other day – a random Wednesday.  But San Diegans know that this is a special day.  Women are dressed to the nines in fancy sundresses and spare no expense in purchasing just the right hats, while men don fedoras, Ray-Bans, and trendy sport coats.

It is the start of racing season at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  Horseracing is not only about the betting.  In fact, for many, the betting is tangential to the actual event.  From the people watching to the world-class del margarita to the up-close viewings of the horses, this is the see-and-be-seen event of the summer.

This year Opening Day falls on Wednesday, July 17.  Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with the first of ten races commencing at 2 p.m.  The races run every day of the week except Mondays and Tuesdays until September 4th.

Your first insider tip is that you should become a Diamond Club member.  This bright blue and yellow card cuts admission prices in half from $6 to $3 and, for clubhouse admission, from $10 to $5.  What a deal!  And becoming a member is easy and free!  Simply complete a registration form and present a valid photo ID at any Diamond Club booth.  With your Diamond Club membership, admission on Wednesdays is also free with the exception of Opening Day.  This means that attendees receive free stretch run admission, a free program, and a free seat, along with half-price beer (domestic drafts), regular soda, and regular hot dogs at stretch run concession stands.  .

Your second insider tip is that Thursdays are free for seniors, age sixty-two and above.  Just bring a valid form of ID for age verification purposes.

Finally, every Friday features a free concert after the races, meaning admission to the races includes free entrance to the concert.  The artists include: The B-52s, Fitz and the Tantrums, Sammy Hagar & The Wabos, Iration, Pinback, Steel Pulse, Weezer, Reggae Fest featuring Ziggy Marley, and other special guests.

Here’s to hoping that your horse is a winner! 


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Darcie Czajkowski


Darcie Czajkowski lives, works, and plays in Carmel Valley.  While she is a securities litigation attorney by day, her passions lie in writing, cooking, and traveling.  She has written two women’s fiction novels and is pursuing publication.  She also enjoys playing tennis, hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve, and frequenting North County’s best happy hour spots.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

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