The sun hid behind a draped curtain like a stage frightened teen while a chilly breeze carried the scent of popcorn and turned soil. Palms swayed atop thin trunks and a Southern swell pounded the sand of the neighboring shore. Cars slithered along the distant freeway and a contagious glow of red brake lights grew like crimson dominoes collapsing along a sandy white beach. The surrounding parking filled with limos and shuttles and a thick crowd pushed through the front gates of the Del Mar Racetrack’s Opening Day 2010 festivities.
Cigar puffing bookies crept along the track corridors like chugging locomotives. The crowd was a living organism consisting of hat wearing ticket yielding individuals. Plastic cups spat booze and swollen pockets growled. Expendable cash fluttered from the dapper and cocktails disappeared under sagging hats.
A large fountain animated with the trickle of an undiscovered creak. Hats of all colors and shapes circumnavigated the plaza, refueling through the exploding flashes of roaming photographers. Divas smiled through thickly smeared lipstick and long legged lovers drained flasks into plastic cups. Paper mache sculptures swayed upon mobile pedestals and white slacks strutted above the pastel colors of an Easter morning.
While red-eyed men slapped their thighs with beer soaked programs and cursed at hanging televisions, large groups set-up camp under cloudy skies and along the dusty track rails. A large pixelated screen rambled odds and jockeys fought for position. Parents scribbled past race winners on napkins and set their children off in search of dropped winning tickets while iphoners searched the web for last minute tips.
With muscles overly stimulated and vision restricted, race horses stampeded around the track. A bet was a favor asked for a snapshot and a losing ticket was a missed observation. The sun hid behind strong morals and raspy voiced men scratched their bald heads as their sure-to-win secrets swatted flies in the starting gate. Limos bubbled with champagne and cheap beer dripped from the doors of sponsored party buses.
With the sun on vacation, entertainment other than the beach is sought by North County locals and visitors. Instead of sunburns and swimmer’s ear, pasty-faced tourists find themselves with late night hangovers and bounced checking accounts. Beach trunks remain dry and white slacks are splattered with overpriced beer. With the starting gate to sunny Summer in San Diego still closed into late July and the beaches cold and gloomy, the trumpeter signaling the beginning of the 2010 Del Mar horse races could not have come any sooner.
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