There’s plenty going on in California at the moment, but one of the most exciting places to be this November is the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. They’ve got lots going on in their popular November meetings, so it’s a great way to enjoy a bit of sunshine and marvel at the power of the thoroughbred. We’ve prepared a guide to how to get the most out of your race day, so even if you’ve never been horse racing before, you’ll be able to feel right at home.
How to Place a Bet
First things first, one of the great joys of going horse racing is being able to place a bet on the action, whether that’s just a dollar per race to see which of your party comes out on top, or a little more if you’ve really got a hunch that your horse will win. Whilst there are plenty of options for betting at the track, it’s sometimes easier to find the best value online. Often sites will offer free bets to those who newly sign up with them, so it’s worth looking out for these kinds of offers if you want to make your money stretch further on the day. If you don’t want to sign up online then that’s fine too; the bookmakers on the course will be more than happy to take your bets. Just be sure to keep hold of your tickets so that you can cash out if you win.
What to Wear
Del Mar has already welcomed plenty of well-dressed patrons for events this year so if you want to have a look at what those people have worn then here’s your chance. The dress code is really very simple for Del Mar though: keep it fairly smart. Ladies are expected to wear a dress or suit, though can wear tailored denim if worn with a jacket. Men should wear a suit or sports jacket, but needn’t wear a tie unless they’d like to. Generally speaking, steer away from t-shirts and ripped jeans and head towards something a little more sophisticated. A day at the races is the perfect excuse for getting dressed up and there are absolutely no rules about looking too fabulous. Get out your cocktail dress or bust out the tuxedo – this is your excuse.
The Order of Events
Caption: Cheering your horse past the winning post is a great feeling
Once you’ve got your wardrobe sorted out, it’s time to head to the track. Del Mar is laid out brilliantly simply for first-time race-goers, so you should have no trouble at all finding your way around from place to place. Before you do anything, you might want to head to the pre-parade ring. This is where the horses walk around before they’re called to the parade ring. You’ll probably get to see them without their tack on in a more relaxed atmosphere. If you consider yourself a good paddock judge (that is, someone who can tell whether a horse is fit by looking at them), then you’ll have lots of fun figuring out which horses are on top form here. Once the horses are finished in the pre-parade, they’ll head to the parade ring.
In the parade ring, you’ll see them do several circuits before their jockey climbs aboard and they set off to the starting gates. Once this is happening you should make your way to the grandstand and find yourself a good spot where you can see the track clearly. Even if you can’t quite see all the way around, you’ll notice there are lots of big screens to show the action. The horses will be loaded into the starting gates and then race around the track. Keep an eye on the winning post and, if you’ve called it right, cheer your horse past it. You can go watch them come in and cool down in the winner’s enclosure afterwards, which is a lovely way to round off a day.