By: Stephanie Saccente
Thousands of Southern California racing fans and fashionable guests will gather at the Del Mar Racetrack for what is defined as one of the greatest events in the west – opening day at Del Mar. With over 45,000 in attendance at last year's opening day, this year's opening day is expected to draw in just as many guests or more. While many come to the races to place big bests and watch fast horses compete, others use this day to celebrate fashion and show off their unique sense of style.
Women and men are known to wear over the top hats on opening day to make a fashion statement and celebrate the season. Today at 11:30 am guests will compete in the 19th annual "One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest" where competitors will be judged by a celebrity panel on their personal style and creativity. Categories in the contest include Best Racing Theme, Funniest or Most Outrageous, Most Glamorous, Best Flowers and Best Fascinator. The first place winner will receive two American Airline round-trip ticket vouchers to the location of their choice and a $500 gift basket courtesy of Studio Savvy.
Outrageous hats aren't the only thing to make a "big" statement this year. The 2013 meeting will have 43 stakes races worth $7,800,00 including the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Pacific Classic on Sunday, August 25. That's a daily average of $650,000, a record level of overnight purses. As in previous years, the Oceanside Stakes has been split into two divisions after 22 horses were entered to race. The Del Mar horse races will be held Wednesday through Sundays from July 17 through Sept. 4. There will also be a day of racing on Monday, Sept. 2. Admission to the races is $6 and $10 on opening day.