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The ladies -- and the occasional man -- and their hats turned out in force on Tuesday for Del Mar's Opening Day.
The gates at the venerable track opened to race fans at 11:30 a.m., and the hopefuls for this year's One and Only Truly Fabulous Hats Contest were soon showing their stuff in Plaza de Mexico, the main entrance into the race track. One of the first on the scene was a man named Frank, who was dressed as a jockey and was sporting a "hat" that featured a horse riding a surfboard.
"Well, we're down here at the surf and turf," the Escondido resident said about his contest entry (watch video). "Take a horse on a surfboard and see what we get. Why not?"
Like many of the be-hatted folks, Frank hand-crafted his own creation, but, some, like Lisa from Carlsbad, bought a hat and put together a memorable ensemble (click here to see her interview).
"I've got a hat -- we have got to go to the races," Lisa said after she bought a sombrero in Mexico.
Some of the anticipated 40,000 attendees were at the track for the horse racing. The Del Mar Thoroughbred club's first race of the year took place at 2 p.m.
Undefeated Twirling Candy makes his stakes debut on Wednesday with the $100,000 Oceanside Stakes. Twirling Candy, the son of 2003 Pacific Classic champion Candy Ride, leads a field of 10 3-year-olds in the 1-mile race on the turf course.