The 75th year of Opening Day at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club went off on July 18 in a flurry of horses and hats for a record crowd of 47,339. To celebrate the 75th Anniversary, a new face was used for the ad campaign featuring model, actress, and world top jockey Chantal Sutherland. The campaign chose a fashion photographer to show off the old and new by photographing pinups through the ages. Sutherland did not disappoint her fans and started the day with a victory on the filly California Girl.
Hats are always neck and neck in popularity with the horses on Opening Day. There seems to be a split with women between wearing large brim hats and the smaller fascinators. Carol Bader from the Del Mar Hat Company said that her customers wanted the larger headpieces or the smaller saucer style this year. Some of the racy highlights were Jenny Craig wearing a chapeau from Fleur de Paris in New Orleans, Valerie Cooper in beautiful Philip Treacy, and Denise Hug and Linda Swortwood in hats from Portugal. Lena Evans, Evva Fenison, Alexis DelChiaro & Leslie Lopez from KUSI, and Raha Sheik from FOX 5 were all wearing Designer Millinery hats. Emma Zuckerman looked luscious in a yellow Chanel dress and hat by Ilda DiVico and Lee Goldberg was smart in a Zang Toi suit and chapeau by Philip Treacy. Bo Derek looked radiant sporting a fedora, which many men and women opted to wear this year.
The One & Only Truly Fabulous Hat Contest attracted more people to this 18th year edition. Studio Savvy sponsored the contest. This year a new category of Best Fascinator was added which Stefanie Gates took. The other winners were the Funniest/most Outrageous; Meg Cavis, the Best Racing theme; Lori Shelton, and Best Flowers; Emilee Wilson. The Bing Crosby Grand Prize and winner of the Most Glamorous category went to Daniella Lopez. Ms. Lopez received a check for $300, two airline tickets on American Airlines, and a $1,750 pearl necklace from the Diamond Boutique of Del Mar. The Races continue Wednesday through Sunday until September 5th. For more information visit: delmarracing.com