Del Mar Horse Races Opening Day

Del Mar Fairgrounds and Racetrack

Horse racing fans will be pleased 2024 Del Mar Horse Races season starts soon at the Del Mar Racetrack. Opening Day is Saturday July 20.

Thoroughbred racing at the Del Mar Racetrack at the Del Mar Fairgrounds runs through Sunday September 8th. Races are on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. However, there is one exception with racing taking place Monday (Labor Day) September 2.

Here’s the full calendar of events and races.

Horse racing at Del Mar is a favorite summer event for many residents as well as visitors. Thoroughbred racing has been popular at Del Mar for decades, with big crowds and plenty of famous and not so famous people.

Del Mar thoroughbred racing is a favorite scene to see Hollywood celebrities and other glitterati and has been for years. No doubt that’s true for 2024 especially on Opening Day!

Del Mar Horse Races


Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack includes the popular Opening Day Hats Contest.  Come show off your hat in the Plaza de Mexico between 11:30 am and 3 pm. There is no fee to participate, all that’s needed is a great hat, and terrific clothes to show it off!

Don’t put off getting your Tickets for Opening Day. It’s very popular and some prime seating options are already sold out.

Hat Contest prizes totaling over $4000 will be awarded in 4 categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Best Fascinator, and Best Flowers. Winners will be announced after the 6th race.

Race time is typically 2 pm on most days and gates open 2 hours earlier on most days. But see the Calendar to check on other race times as they vary. Admission tickets must be purchased in advance (they include general parking). You must purchase tickets online in advance.

A second and shorter horse racing season was added a few years ago. For 2024 this is October 31st through December 1st. You can expect heavy traffic on the I-5 freeway, on the Coast Road, as well as major side streets like Via de la Valle. This is true on race days but especially on opening day, in addition to the normal summer crowds in the Del Mar area.