Opening Day at the Del Mar Races – What to Wear, Tips & More!

Opening Day at the Del Mar Races is on Wednesday, July 17th! Undoubtedly the grandest party of them all, with an expected 47,000 party people in attendance, the racetrack illuminates into an epic social scene with thousands of flamboyant hats.

With so many great hats, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club created “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest,” now in its 19th year. Glamorous, wild and zany hats compete for cash prizes in the contest. Contestants vie for recognition in the following categories: Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Funniest/Most Outrageous, Best Flowers/All Others and Best Fascinator. Anyone can enter the contest on Opening Day.

Winners on Opening Day

Last year, Daniella Lopez (pictured far right) took home the Bing Crosby grand prize and first prize for Most Glamorous in “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hat Contest” on Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack.

This year the Village Hat Shop is the official hat sponsor of the Del Mar Races and our very own Susan Lee, head buyer of the Village Hat Shop, will be a judge at “The One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest.” So show up in your best headwear and you may just leave with a little extra cash in your pocket!



Popular hats worn by women on Opening Day tend to lean toward wide brim hats, fascinators or ones created from scratch.

Women's Hats on Opening Day at Del Mar


Men enjoy wearing Panama hats, straw fedoras, skimmer hats as well as newsboy or ivy caps.

Men's Hats on Opening Day at Del Mar


If you’re looking for a large selection of hats to choose from, Village Hat Shop is the place to go! On the weekend leading up to Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack, Village Hat Shop will be hosting two trunks shows featuring designers Arturo Rios and Giovannio by Emma B. Giveaways and raffles will be held along with complementary food and drinks. You’ll also have a chance to get exclusive, invite only tickets to Ladies and Gents Day on Sunday, August 18th.

Arturo Rios Trunk Show for Del Mar Opening Day

Arturo Rios Trunk Show 2013

Giovannio Trunk Show for Del Mar Opening Day

Giovannio Trunk Show 2013


  • Stay fashionable: Girls might want to bring flats in their purses, as a lot of time might be spent on their feet.
  • Wear sunscreen: Sunburns will occur otherwise!
  • Transportation: Traffic and parking can be tough on Opening Day, so a great option is to take the train and get off at the Solana Beach station. There are red double decker buses to shuttle people to the track for free, taking the stress out of getting to Del Mar.