Del Mar Horse Racetrack & Horse Betting 2024

The Del Mar Racetrack is one of the most famous in the world. Currently, it’s one of the four major horse racing tracks still operating in California.

The track has a long history and continues to be profitable and enjoyable for all who come to watch the races.

Del Mar Horse Racing Track Fact Table

Track NameDel Mar Racetrack
Year Opened1936
Phone Number858-755-1141
Address2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Race SeasonsJuly through September and November through December
Number of Races30+
Minimum Gambling Age18

Popular Events at Del Mar Horse Racing Track

All told, over 300 events take place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds most years. These include the famous San Diego County Fair (formally known as the Del Mar Fair). The Del Mar National Horse Show is another classic addition and a perfect complement to the racetrack’s nearby activities.

More importantly, the Del Mar Racetrack features races across two seasonal meets: one from July to September and another from November to early December. This gives California horse betting enthusiasts multiple opportunities to stop by Del Mar and catch at least a few races.

Tons of graded events are held every year. The Bing Crosby Stakes is held every year in honor of one of the track’s founders. Classic Stakes (including the Del Mar Oaks and the TVG Pacific Classic) are also held every year. The track also periodically offers various handicap tournaments.

Beyond traditional races, Del Mar hosts its “famous hat contest” annually on opening day of the first season. Concerts are held most Friday nights. These are free with paid admission before the last race.

Furthermore, it’s a great racetrack if you have kids. “Family Fun Days” happen every Saturday and Sunday, offering free entertainment on the infield for children.

Anyone 18 or older is allowed to bet on horse races at Del Mar. Horse betting is one of a handful of ways to legally gamble at 18 in California.

Online Betting at Del Mar Horse Racetrack

If you can’t make it to a racing event in person, you can always bet online at Del Mar races using popular online horse racing apps like the TVG app. TVG and many other horse betting apps work for both iPhones or Android devices and allow live stream access to various racing events throughout both seasons.

Even better, you’ll be able to check out other horse racing destinations with both of these apps. Signing up for either app is quick and easy, and excellent welcome bonuses are available for new users.

See our Guide to Horse Race Betting in California

Facility at Del Mar Racetrack

If Prop 26 had passed in the 2022 election, Del Mar would have soon offered a retail sportsbook onsite. However, it failed to pass, pushing legal sports betting in California to 2025 at the earliest.

The Del Mar Racetrack is an excellent choice for anyone who’s a fan of in-person horse race betting due to its excellent amenities and nearby facilities. For starters, there’s a free membership club called the Del Mar Diamond Club, which provides half-price admission to both the actual racetrack and the Surfside Race Place (a nearby off-track betting location with food, drinks, and more).

The main racetrack seating area has a capacity of 44,000, making it the second-largest horse racing venue in the entire Western US.

There’s also a Del Mar Horse Park, a 65-acre equestrian facility just a few miles east of the fairgrounds. This offers permanent show stalls, dressing and training rings, and even a free shuttle service back and forth to and from the fairgrounds.

Other amenities include a medical center, gift shop, and places to buy snacks or beverages. On-track dining options include staple American meals like burgers and fries, sandwiches, pizza, and more. You’ll also be able to enjoy soft-serve ice cream and specialty coffees.

Beyond the actual track, guests will also benefit from the track’s close proximity to the city of San Diego. Countless hotels, restaurants, and beachfront attractions await once you step out of the racetrack facilities themselves.

See our Guide to Gambling in Southern California

Del Mar Horse Racetrack History

Early History

Del Mar is one of the most famous race tracks in the world. In fact, it’s the race track where the famous horse, Seabiscuit, won his historic race against Ligaroti.

The race track originally opened on the Del Mar Fairgrounds in 1936. The project was funded by Bing Crosby and Willian Quigley. Initially, the pair of entrepreneurs attracted big ticket sales with high-stakes races like the one with Seabiscuit.

Del Mar benefits from its coastal location and temperate climate, which affords it year-round good weather and excellent views for tourists.

Between 1942 and 1944, the Del Mar Racetrack closed because of World War II. It was temporarily transformed into a manufacturing site to supply parts for B-17 bombers.

Recent History

The racetrack quickly resumed operations after the war. It only increased in popularity throughout the 1960s and ’70s. In the ’80s, Del Mar’s infield opened to spectators, which increased attendance even further. During the ’90s, the track underwent renovations to replace the grandstand.

In 1991, the track ran a $1 million Classic Stakes race. Prosperity continued into the new millennium. These days, Del Mar operates primarily as a popular tourist and fairground destination, with the horse racing taking a backseat in most marketing materials. However, this approach has proven to be profitable for the Del Mar administrators.

Since many other racetracks are closing down, Del Mar is one of the few original California tracks still in existence. This may actually benefit Del Mar, as racing enthusiasts are more likely to head to Del Mar if they want their horse racing action upfront and in person.

Del Mar Horse Racetrack FAQs

Can you bring food and drink into Del Mar Racetrack?

No. You must purchase all food and drinks from on-track or in-facility services, like concession stands or restaurants.

At what times do gates open at Del Mar? When are the first races?

During the racing seasons, gates typically open at 2 p.m. during the summer and 12:30 p.m. during the fall. The exact times can vary depending on the racing calendar.

Does Del Mar cancel when there’s rain?

Del Mar Racetrack usually doesn’t cancel races due to rain. Guests may get wet during any inclement weather, though, so they should plan accordingly.

Do you get refunds for canceled races at Del Mar?

Yes. However, this only applies if Del Mar Racetrack itself cancels the race on the designated day.

Is there on-site parking for Del Mar?

Yes. All parking fees are charged on a per-vehicle basis.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of California Casinos. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of international football (not "soccer") and Gaelic sports.