It seems like every year, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s race season gets more and more popular. People from all over the country visit Del Mar to experience the excitement and festivity. With celebrities making appearances and the who’s who of Southern California mingling about, it’s not just an opportunity to bet on the ponies. If done right, Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack can be one of the most glamorous events of the year. Here’s everything you need to know about making this year’s Opening Day a day to remember.
1. Dress to Impress
Getting glammed up for Opening Day at the races should really start with your hat or fascinator. It’s become a longstanding tradition to make sure your race outfit is complete—literally from head to toe—and that tradition actually has ties to royalty. Modern races and derbies were modeled after the horseraces in Europe, which required formal dress. When the sport came to America, the elite and wealthy used hats to flaunt their status.
Today, the races aren’t just for the upper class but donning a statement hat is still a must. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is known to have contests to celebrate the extravagant and audacious hats, so it’s the perfect opportunity to let your fashion sense and personality shine through. If you don’t already have a headpiece, visit the Del Mar Hat Company at the Del Mar Plaza to pick up something truly unique. The shop has a stunning collection of fascinators, headbands, and Derby hats, as well as the opportunity to purchase a custom-made Carol Bader design.
With your hat chosen, you can start planning the rest of your outfit. Del Mar’s racetrack dress code can be described as “California chic,” or a cool blend of casual sophistication. The Turf Club, however, requires a little more formality than the rest of the stands. Men must wear a dress shirt or sport jacket at all times; denim, athletic shoes, shorts, and t-shirts are not permitted. Women are required to be in suits, daytime dresses, or sundresses; denim, sneakers, and shorts are not allowed.
If you’re stuck on how to put together the perfect outfit, there are several shops at the Plaza that can point you in the right direction.
- Garys Studio has a selection of stylish and sophisticated suits for men. Far from boring, their collection includes bold colors and unique patterns.
- Visit Coco Rose for a breezy selection of tunics, rompers, and sundresses with a bohemian flair. While the apparel is mostly causal, any item can be dressed up with the right hat or accessories.
- Peaches En Regalia is a little boutique with lots of high-end pieces to choose from. Selling both men and women’s fashion, you can get a smart button-down for him and matching sundress for her all in one place.
- Banana Republic also has apparel for both men and women that will easily fit the racetrack dress code.
2. Primp & Pamper
With an outfit chosen, it comes down to the details—your hair and nails.
Holding up a Champagne glass and your betting tickets make for some of the best photo opportunities while on the track, so make sure your nails are clean or your color is fresh. Del Mar Nails & Spa caters to both men and women, and will help you to feel both relaxed and polished before you head to the track.
Of course, you also want to make sure your hair sits well with your hat, or that your cut is fresh and clean. Whether you need help securing your fascinator, want the perfect curl, or need a color touch up, Haim, Ltd. Salon can help you out.
3. Indulge & Imbibe
While the Thoroughbred Club has its share of libations and bites, it doesn’t hurt to have a little bubbly with brunch before you make your way over to the racetrack. Pacifica Breeze Café opens early so you can sip on a Bloody Mary, mimosas, or a breakfast beer while enjoying a meal on the sun-filled patio.
No matter how many times you’ve been to the Del Mar Races, Opening Day always gives you the opportunity to make a trip to the track a special event. From contest-winning hats to salons that’ll get you a picture-perfect look, the Del Mar Plaza has everything you need to make your day at the races truly memorable.