Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds
In horseracing season, you’ll find significant crowds descending on the tiny town of Del Mar and its coastside neighbors. All these folks are intent on the famous Del Mar Fairgrounds (2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, 858/755-1141, www.sdfair.com), where some of the finest thoroughbreds ever to grace a track have raced to victory.
The track was built in the late 1930s, with Bing Crosby supplying both funds and fame to create the glorious equestrian facilities that continue to delight race and horse fans to this day. The various structures at the Fairgrounds are built in the style of various California missions, and careful attention to detail has created possibly the most beautiful permanent indoor-outdoor exhibition facilities in the state.
Races usually run from July through early September. Wagering rules can be found at the track or on the Fairgrounds website, as can information about the off-season telecast racing series. Come out and join in the excitement of live thoroughbred racing in one of the most hospitable climates in the world! Show up on Friday afternoons to enjoy a concert by a big-name band in addition to the races.
If you prefer a different style of equestrian event, come to Del Mar a little bit earlier in the year for the Del Mar National Horse Show (www.sdfair.com/horseshow). This event lasts three weeks each spring, with a full week each devoted to Western events, dressage, and hunter/jumper activities. Be sure to book your room and buy tickets in advance, as this is one of the most popular horse shows in the western United States each year.
Any number of other events take place at the Fairgrounds every month of the year. Check the website for a calendar of upcoming events, plus ticket information. Ample pay parking surrounds the Fairgrounds, or if you’re taking the train, grab a free shuttle from the Coaster straight to the racetrack.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition