Horsing Around


While topping Bing Crosby’s 1937 appearance at Del Mar’s first ever Opening Day might seem like a tall order, it’s a safe bet this year’s festivities would give ol’ Mister Turf ‘n’ Surf a run for his money.

“I think he’d absolutely love it,” says Craig Dado, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which produces the track’s racing season and its July 15 Opening Day. “Bing was all about putting on a show, and I think we do that more so here than anybody else.”

For some race fans, the season highlight is the $1 million Pacific Classic (August 20), Del Mar’s richest and most prestigious race. And this year, Dado says, there’s a possibility of a dream match-up between Kentucky Derby winners California Chrome (2014) and Nyquist (2016).

In addition to its world-class thoroughbred racing and unparalleled people-watching potential, Del

Mar’s 2016 offerings also include the Del Mar Barbecue State Championship (July 17), Food Truck Festival and San Diego Beer Fest (July 23), Classic Car Show and Chili Cookoff (August 6) and Pizza & Craft Beer Fest (August 20).

But it’s the Del Mar Summer Concert Series that really promises to rock the coastline. Headlining performers include Ziggy Marley (July 30), alt rockers 311 and reggae artist Matisyahu (August 13), and EDM duo Chromeo (September 3; see below for full line-up).

Back for a 79th rendition, this year’s Opening Day will be held on a Friday for the first time, with the familiar, dulcet tones of track announcer Trevor Denman and his signature, “And away they go!” marking the start of the first race at 2 p.m. (4 p.m. on subsequent Fridays). The season runs into the sunset on Labor Day:


July 22: Cold War Kids
July 29: Fitz and the Tantrums
July 30: Ziggy Marley
August 5: Girl Talk
August 6: Brian Setzer
August 12: Chris Young
August 13: 311 + Matisyahu
August 19: Thievery Corporation
August 26: Pepper
September 2: The Wailers
September 3: Chromeo