Del Mar to begin 83rd season with sell-out crowd
Del Mar's summer meet begins Friday, with all available tickets sold for the 10-race card.
The track limited ticket sales for opening day based largely on positive feedback from fans after a similar measure was put in place for opening day last summer and for the 2017 and 2021 Breeders' Cup World Championships.
"While this is a little different from how we've approached it in the past, the feedback we received from our fans after opening day last year was overwhelmingly positive," said Del Mar chief executive officer Joe Harper. "A sell-out crowd where everyone has easier access to concessions and betting windows is the right way to get our 83rd racing season off to a strong start."
The feature race is the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes. The mile race on the grass course for 3-year-olds has drawn a field of 14, the maximum allowed. Mackinnon, a son of the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Mackinnon finished third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November and has three victories in his eight starts.
Opening day also includes the traditional hats contest in the Plaza de Mexico
From 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., hats will be judged in four categories — best racing theme, most glamorous, best fascinator and best flowers. Fans can win a share of more than $4,000 in prizes.
Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first post is at 2 p.m.
Del Mar is also bringing back fan favorite events to the track this year with highlights including:
— August 6: Equine Art Show with many of Del Mar's talented artists, painting demonstrations and art for purchase;
— Aug. 13: Uncorked: Del Mar Wine Fest with tastings of more than 150 wines from across the globe along with gourmet food from local San Diego food vendors;
— Aug. 20: Del Mar Taco & Beer Festival featuring local breweries as well as tacos prepared by local food vendors;
— Sept. 4: Family Fun Day, allowing fans to bring their family to the cabana to enjoy free attractions including face painting and kid-friendly games; and
— Sept. 10: College Day: College students with identification will be admitted free and receive exclusive access to grandstand seating.
The meet's richest race, the $1 million Pacific Classic, will be run Sept. 3.