Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack is all about the horses and the hats, and despite new restrictions due to COVID-19, this year will be no exception.
Since no fans will be allowed "where the surf meets the turf," the annual Opening Day Hats Contest is going virtual so that people can celebrate from their home turf.
“It’s wonderful that Del Mar’s doing that," said Andria Elam of Bonita.
Andria competed in the Hats Contest for the first time in 2016 and won the Grand Prize for her hand-made, turquoise and purple fascinator.
Since then, she has created many more fabulous hats and has something special planned for this year, as well.
“Times are certainly different right now, and I think the fashion should reflect that, but I still wanted it to be really fun and exciting to celebrate Opening Day at Del Mar," Elam said. "So, I’m going just a little bit smaller and a little more conservative this year with my headpiece, but it’ll still be really fun.”
The fun and fashion are only part of Andria's motivation, however.
"The greatest thing that I've discovered is that it really opens the door for me to talk about the horses," she said.
Andria is a volunteer grant reviewer for After The Finish Line, a non-profit that supports the retraining and rehabilitation of thoroughbreds when they're done racing.
Her own horse, Crazy Jack, is a retired racehorse who had 10 starts, including one at Del Mar.
Although Andria won't be able to show off her hat at the track, she said she's still looking forward to making a statement online.
"It’s always really fun going on opening day and being part of that energy, but at the end of the day, we’re there for the horses and to celebrate these incredible equine athletes,” she said.
To participate in the Opening Day Hats Contest, post a photo of yourself with your hat to Instagram or Twitter on Friday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Be sure to include the hashtag #DelMarHatsContest and tag @DelMarRacing.
Second place will receive a $500 Studio Savvy Salon gift basket and a $250 gift certificate to Christine A. Moore Millinery.
Third place will receive a $250 gift certificate to Christine A. Moore Millinery.
Fourth place will receive a $200 gift certificate to Studio Savvy Salon.