DEL MAR, Calif. – It’s a day racing fans have waited a long time for.
Opening day returns to the Del Mar Racetrack this Friday and after a year away, the crowds are excited to finally come back.
“Last year at Del Mar, we had (zero) people on opening day,” said Mac McBride, spokesman with the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. “The annual plus to the community from Del Mar racing is $90 million.”
In part, due to the fact that the track will host the Breeders’ Cup later this year as well.
“It’s racing’s version of the Super Bowl,” McBride said. “We’re looking at an impact this year of about $200 million.”
The track season expands from three days a week to four days after Memorial Day and finishes in early September. Per tradition, the hat competition will be back on opening day as well. The winner will get two passes to the Breeders’ Cup.
“I make hats,” Karen Redekop said. “I’ve sold about 10,000 hats.”
Redekop hosts her own Etsy page where she sells hats for race day. She said when tracks closed last year she lost about 80% of her business. This year, it’s a different story.
She says the big, bold colors seem to be a popular choice this year.
“Lot of lots of lots of hats. In fact, the postman had to empty his truck out for all the hats going to Del Mar,” she said.