Del Mar Opening DayIt's summer - it's hot - so what's shakin' in San Diego you might be thinking. That's right - it's horse racing season and nobody is happier about this than me. The Kentucky Derby started it off well this year, when I correctly predicted the winner "I'll have another' and won a few bucks. Too bad it didn't work out with the triple crown this year.
With all this excitement about horse racing, I had to check out opening day here in Del Mar this year. It's famous for the over-the-top hats (there is a competition) and just general kick-off of the season in Del Mar. The weather couldn't have been better, especially with those nice reserved seats right along the stretch run and with shade.
Learned something new too. It's funny, when you walk up to the window to place your bet, they have it down to a science. Something similar to 'Del Mar, Race 4, $5, WIN, #6' and so on. This is the precise sequence they want you to place your bets in. When I placed my Exacta bet, I was asked whether I want to 'box it', which I had never heard before. I decided to not cause a scene or be identified as the rookie and 'boxed it' without knowing what this meant. Turns out 'boxing it' won me $50, so that was lucky and I learned that the horses can arrive in both sequences. (Double-the-bet, too though)
Had to wear a hat of course and introduced my mum to horse racing in San Diego. She wanted a hat too! (Who wouldn't?). We had a great time, won some - lost some and wen't home really happy.
We found our hats at Kohl's the same morning and the lady at the cash register knew exactly what we were up to. "Opening Day?" - "Yes, last minute hats"....Probably not the first ones in the store for this - the selection was kind of small. Probably the left overs but we found our match.
The parking and general arriving and leaving was such a nightmare. They had the largest turn-out this year with 47339 people attending. A record for Del Mar Opening Day. (And you could tell...it was crowded and badly organized unfortunately) One of the horses hurt its leg during race 5 and had to be put down later which is sooo sad. I just read about it today, but I saw it leaving the track early. It was bizarre when one of the horses ran by without a jockey...(she had fallen off right at the starting gate and the horse finished without her). Everything is a little over the top -including the traffic and while I love horse racing and I love Del Mar -I'll probably skip opening day next year and go on a 'normal' weekend, when it's less of a pain in general. But we'll see, maybe I'll forget about this until then and wear my hat once again next year. Never say never.
The season just got kicked off and I might be back another time this year - we'll see how it goes. I also plan to visit the race track in Duesseldorf next time I'm home in Germany to see how it compares to Del Mar. Obviously it will be lacking weather-wise. ;)