Breeders’ Cup Festival Week offers a wide variety of events

This Breeders' Cup statue
This Breeders’ Cup statue features a reproduction of the Torrie horse that was created in Florence by Giovanni da Bologna in the late 1580s.
(Kelley Carlson)

Breeders’ Cup Festival Week kicks off Nov. 1, and there are celebrations every day leading up to thoroughbred horse racing’s championship event on Nov. 5-6.

“In addition to featuring the greatest horse racing in the world, Breeders’ Cup showcases the host city’s best local food, entertainment and culture. We’re excited to be back at Del Mar for a second time, and we look forward to offering our fans a rich selection of events and activities through this year’s festival,” Breeders’ Cup President and Chief Executive Officer Drew Fleming said in a news release. “There are no better partners than PNC Bank and the Del Mar Village Association to help bring this festival to life, and we hope to see residents of San Diego County and beyond enjoying our championship races and festival events, all while supporting local businesses.”

The length and offerings of the festival encourage out-of-town fans to arrive as early as possible for the main event, said Craig Dado, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Purple-and-gold signage and banners around town are already heralding the coming of racing’s royalty, as businesses make their final preparations.

There will be Del Mar Plaza parties, post-position draw parties and VIP parties, plus live music in the Plaza all week and informal gatherings after the Breeders’ Cup races.

“Del Mar Village will be the hub,” Dado said.

While it’s not in the Village, one of the first major festival events will be the Rood & Riddle Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw on Nov. 1, which will be held at the Del Mar paddock and open to public viewing. The draw determines the starting gate positions of horses in each of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships races. Gates open at 2 p.m., with the draw slated from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, with cash bars and concessions available.

The track’s fall meet will officially begin at the seaside oval on Nov. 3, and in honor of the occasion, Monarch Ocean Pub will host a VIP viewing party from 12:30 to 5 p.m. It will be followed by a barrel beer and whiskey tasting with small bites and live music, from 6 to 9 p.m. The pub is at 1555 Camino del Mar, Suite 322.

At the conclusion of the races on Nov. 5, there will be more merriment at the Bash at the Breeders’ Cup, which will benefit the Thoroughbred Charities of America. The event is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m. outdoors at the Hilton San Diego/Del Mar, 15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd. There will be music, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a live auction with items such as Del Mar weekend racing packages and a racing saddle autographed by jockeys. Tickets range from $110 to $250; go to

Other festival events include:

Del Mar Village Taco and Tequila Tuesday (Nov. 2): Local restaurants will present specialty selections for patrons; more information to be announced in the coming weeks.

Fashionable Fillies Goes West (Nov. 3): A fundraiser that benefits The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation. This will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Del Mar Plaza and its surrounding shops, 1555 Camino del Mar. Ticket prices start at $150; go to

Edwin J. Gregson Foundation Gala (Nov. 3): A celebration that honors trainer John Gosden and raises money to fund scholarships for children of backstretch employees. The event is set from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, 5300 Grand Del Mar Court. Prices from $400; go to or call (626) 447-2339.

• 2021 National Turf Writers & Broadcasters Awards Dinner (Nov. 3): Journalists Dan Smith, Lenny Shulman and Steve Byk and former Santa Anita Park paddock guard John Shear will be honored during the evening. The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. at the Brigantine, 3263 Camino del Mar. Cost is $100; a portion of proceeds will go toward scholarships for prospective thoroughbred racing journalists and also to aid industry charities. Go to

More information about the weeklong festival is available at and