Del Mar Racing Taco Fest

Betting on Great Friends, Ponies, Tacos, and Beer

We get a last minute invitation to meet up with friends at Del Mar Racing for a Saturday afternoon Taco and Beer Fest. Naturally, we jumped at the chance!

For a couple of adventurous Empty Nesters, we’ve been kinda boring this summer. Shocking I know. Now we are squeezing every last drop out of the last few weeks of summer, and rumors of an action-packed fall and holiday season are in the wind!

Del Mar Racing: Where the Surf Meets the Turf

The Del Mar race track was once the playground of old Hollywood. The gates opened in 1937 with Bing Crosby greeting the very first guest! During that era, the the famous horse Seabiscuit wowed Del Mar fans, winning by just a nose in 1938.

Del Mar Racing is part of San Diego County Fairgrounds.

Today, the beautiful grounds of the race track, paddock, and grandstand are just as stunning, done in a Spanish Colonial Revival style. Guests not only enjoy the ponies, but jaw-dropping views and cool ocean breezes from the beach just a half mile away, perfect on a hot summer day!

Races run mid-July through mid-September (Thursday through Sunday), and Labor Day. Post times start at 2 pm daily, except Fridays when the first post is 4 pm.

On Opening Day, it’s all about fancy hats and fashion, but the rest of the season is much more casual. However in the event area we attend today the dress is a little fancier. And of course, horsey ladies need a nice hat.

Tacos and Beer

We spring a few bucks more for VIP earlybird entry and meet our friends well before the gate opens. We’re among the first through the gate at the event area west of the grandstand. Arriving early means we get to stake out a great spot for the day!

When the gate opens, we beeline for one of the shaded couches so we can all be comfortable while we get caught up with each other. (Has it been a whole year?! We have all been crazy busy.) I’ll call this our first win of the day, and the horses aren’t even saddled yet!

Getting in early scored us a comfy place to hang and have fun with our friends!

Our coveted couch under a large shaded canopy serves as base. There are lots of other shaded tables and a few couches. And as the afternoon heats up, we’ll benefit even more from cool ocean breezes.

What a lovely day to hang out with friends!

To attend Del Mar’s Taco Fest, you need to get tickets online and be 21. Plan ahead, because it’s usually sold out. Luckily, we got our tickets right under the wire.

Getting Up to Speed

Our VIP tickets get us both into the races and into the 21-and-over event area.

We’re wearing two wristbands: one for entry to Taco Fest, and the other gets us in an hour early. We get two tacos (these are not tiny tacos) and five drink tastings.

There are several taco trucks and drink venders to choose from. No worries if you’re still hungry and thirsty. You can always buy more tacos and rounds, Big Spender!

But bring cash. Betting and extra food requires the green stuff. There are ATMs in the hall behind the grandstand. Andy and I are prepared with plenty of dollar bills for our two-dollar bets. Yep, high rollin’ ballers.

Lets Talk Tacos

After scanning all the options, we go for Krispy Boyz Tacos first. We were totally sucked in by their sign advertising “Birria Mac-n-Cheese Tacos!” How can we pass up that?

The Krispy Boyz serve up tacos worth seeking out!

The tortilla is fried with a bit of cheese to make it nice and crispy. This also helps it hold up to a generous helping of both mac ‘n cheese (“made with our secret KB sauce”) and beef birria, topped with cilantro and chopped onions.

Mmmac-n-cheese with birria! Those Krispy Boyz aren’t playing around!

We are in love with this taco, yummy and messy! We will be searching out Krispy Boyz in the future, for sure.

Tacos de Pescado!

Since we went for turf first, we supply surf with some fish tacos! We hit up the Baja Fish Taco & Burgers truck for some grilled shrimp tacos.

They serve up spicy grilled shrimp in a corn tortilla topped with coleslaw, pico de gallo, and spicy crema garnished with a slice of lime. These are my favorite kind of tacos on a hot summer day. They are so tasty, colorful, and refreshing.

Boom! Baja Fish Taco & Burgers drops a big ol’ shrimp taco!

Now About that Beer!

Normally we are not big beer people. The line to try the tequila is way too long, though. And this is a beer and taco fest, after all.

Our friends highly recommend we try the beer at Viewpoint Brewing Company, newly opened in Del Mar on the San Dieguito Lagoon. Our servers are pumped and friendly, and hook us up with a pairing of ice cold tasty ale.

We’ll check out Viewpoint in depth and report back to you. Meanwhile, cheers!

On to the Main Event: the Ponies!

We have 10 races today, and us High Rollers are placing our $2 bets. My friend’s husband has a system. He is analyzing data and picking horses with a good statistical chance of winning. The rest of us are just going for the names we find amusing. We’re here just for the fun of it, and the thrill and thunder of the horses!

Lynda and I finally win in the 7th race with “Kangaroo Court!” Our winnings: a whopping .40 cents! Wooooo Hoooo! Andy hits it big in the 8th race with “Spendarella!” His take is .80 cents. I wonder what he will spend it on?

Notice the winner of the turf race: the rider in the photos above dressed like Captain America!

Enjoying time with friends, the excitement of watching these amazing horses’ thundering hooves race by, tacos, beer, and summer vibes is never a longshot.