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Hats! Hats! Hats!

The fashionable and the fabulous gathered at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to open the 71st season of horse racing at the legendary track. The ambitious hat wearers entered the "One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest'' to compete for the Bing Crosby Grand Prize of two round-trip airline vouchers to anywhere in the US.

Lisa Rene Anderson of San Diego gets interviewed about her hat. Anderson has competed in the opening day hats contests fro 14 years, usually incorporating a horse theme.  Two years ago she won the grand prize with a bronze-looking horse hat.

Lisa Rene Anderson of San Diego gets interviewed about her hat. Anderson has competed in the opening day hats contests fro 14 years, usually incorporating a horse theme. Two years ago she won the grand prize with a bronze-looking horse hat.

Photo by Angela Carone

Hats are worn by most of the women attending opening day, whether they are competing in the contests or just celebrating the opening of the racing season.

Hats are worn by most of the women attending opening day, whether they are competing in the contests or just celebrating the opening of the racing season.

Photo by Angela Carone

The "One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest" includes four different categories. This woman entered her hat in the "Most Glamorous" category.

The "One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest" includes four different categories. This woman entered her hat in the "Most Glamorous" category.

Photo by Angela Carone

Frank Hultz of San Diego could of entered his hat in the "Best Racing Theme" category or the "Funniest/Most Outrageous" category.

Frank Hultz of San Diego could of entered his hat in the "Best Racing Theme" category or the "Funniest/Most Outrageous" category.

Photo by Angela Carone

Marla Quinoz of San Diego is competing for the first time.

Marla Quinoz of San Diego is competing for the first time.

Photo by Angela Carone

One of the categories is Best Flowers.  Ana Flora Royer of Escondido was a grand prize winner in 2004. She is a florist and this is her eighth year attending opening day at Del Mar.

One of the categories is Best Flowers. Ana Flora Royer of Escondido was a grand prize winner in 2004. She is a florist and this is her eighth year attending opening day at Del Mar.

Photo by Angela Carone

Large and colorful hats filled the Stretch Run Plaza de Mexico at Del Mar racetrack.

Large and colorful hats filled the Stretch Run Plaza de Mexico at Del Mar racetrack.

Photo by Angela Carone

This young couple dressed the part for opening day at Del Mar.

This young couple dressed the part for opening day at Del Mar.

Photo by Angela Carone

Lori Shelton has entered every contest since 1996.  When her now teenaged daughter was a baby, she integrated her into a hat in a jockey costume with a stuffed horse.  Remarkably, she didn't win that year, but was a grand prize winner in 2007.

Lori Shelton has entered every contest since 1996. When her now teenaged daughter was a baby, she integrated her into a hat in a jockey costume with a stuffed horse. Remarkably, she didn't win that year, but was a grand prize winner in 2007.

Photo by Angela Carone

A bright red hat worn by a woman attending opening day at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

A bright red hat worn by a woman attending opening day at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Photo by Angela Carone

This is the second opening day celebration for Daniela from Imperial Beach. It took her two months to make this hat out of playing cards.

This is the second opening day celebration for Daniela from Imperial Beach. It took her two months to make this hat out of playing cards.

Photo by Angela Carone

Size doesn't always matter.  Gladys found her miniature hat in an antique store in Solana Beach.  She said she "isn't really a hat person so she went the opposite way."

Size doesn't always matter. Gladys found her miniature hat in an antique store in Solana Beach. She said she "isn't really a hat person so she went the opposite way."

Photo by Angela Carone

Needless to say, the hat competition drew plenty of spectators.

Needless to say, the hat competition drew plenty of spectators.

Photo by Angela Carone

And some spectators gathered for more than the hats.

And some spectators gathered for more than the hats.

Photo by Angela Carone

There was a photo booth set up in the Plaza de Mexico for attendees to capture the moment.

There was a photo booth set up in the Plaza de Mexico for attendees to capture the moment.

Photo by Angela Carone

Stephanie Huynh and Tess Reeves are cousins.  It's Tess' first time at the races and Stephanie is showing her the ropes, or the hats, as it were.

Stephanie Huynh and Tess Reeves are cousins. It's Tess' first time at the races and Stephanie is showing her the ropes, or the hats, as it were.

Photo by Angela Carone

Sandra McKenna is attending her first opening day and she went with an elaborate witch/spider theme.

Sandra McKenna is attending her first opening day and she went with an elaborate witch/spider theme.

Photo by Angela Carone

Kids are eligible to sign up for the hat competitions as well.

Kids are eligible to sign up for the hat competitions as well.

Photo by Angela Carone

These women were all competing in the various hat contests and socializing throughout the afternoon.

These women were all competing in the various hat contests and socializing throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Angela Carone

One of the television reporters did her stand-up trying to balance a large floral hat.

One of the television reporters did her stand-up trying to balance a large floral hat.

Photo by Angela Carone