Opening Day at the Del Mar Races 2021 is July 16th

Horses racing at Del Mar

Here’s some exciting news for horse racing fans – the annual thoroughbred racing season is back at the Del Mar Race Track for 2021, and begins in a little over 2 weeks.

Thoroughbred racing at the Del Mar Race Track opens Friday July 16th at the famed Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California, running through Labor Day September 6th. For the first 2 weeks racing take place Friday/Saturday/Sunday, then for the balance of the season races are Thursday through Sunday, with the exception of Labor Day Monday.

Thoroughbred horse racing at Del Mar is a popular summer event for residents and visitors, with spectators from around Southern California, and the country. Thoroughbred racing has been popular at the Del Mar race track for decades, with big crowds, and plenty of famous, not so famous, and perhaps even a few infamous, people.

Del Mar thoroughbred racing has always been a favorite scene to spot Hollywood and other celebrities, and no doubt the 2021 Del Mar Races will be the same.

Opening Day at Del Mar includes the always-popular “Opening Day Hats Contest” where you can show off your hat in the Plaza de Mexico between 12:00 and 3 pm. There is no fee to enter, you just need a great hat!

Cash prizes (for 1st, 2nd and 3rd) of more than $4000 will be awarded in 4 categories – Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Best Fascinator and Best Flowers. The grand prize is 2 VIP tickets (worth $1000) to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships on November 5th and 6th, to be awarded to one of the 4 first place winners.

Another fun event after the races on opening day is the After Pony Party held at the Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in neighboring Rancho Santa Fe. Tickets are $200 and the celebration, with food and beverages, will feature DJ Irie for entertainment and dancing. Specialty tickets for private cabanas for multiple guests and VIP Bottle Service are already sold out.

Post time is 2 pm and gates open 2 hours earlier. Admission tickets must be purchased in advance (they include parking) and only those vehicles with passengers all holding tickets for that day will be allowed to park. Limited pre-paid valet parking is available.

A shorter racing season was added several years ago, and this year runs from November 3rd through the 28th.

You must purchase Del Mar Race Track tickets online in advance.

Plan for heavy nearby traffic when traveling the I-5 freeway, and on the Coast Road, as well as on major side streets like Via de la Valle, especially on opening day, in addition to the summer crowds in the Del Mar area in general.