Pony Up!

It’s time for big hats and seersucker suits and Del Mar’s annual Opening Day — where the show ponies will be out in full regalia. Wondering where to tipple with the pretty people after you win, place and show? We present summer’s best bets for pre and post race day cocktails around North County:


The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa, Rancho Santa Fe

With its close proximity to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Rancho Valencia is always ready for race season. Following a day at the races, locals can giddy up to the resort’s equestrian-themed bar, The Pony Room, for a refreshing cocktail and bite. Specialty cocktails include The Pony Express, made with Herradura Double Barrel Reposado, Cointreau, and Fresh Lime Juice or The Silver Pony made with Cimarron Blanco Tequila, Lemonade, Cointreau and topped with a Serrano Lemon Twist. 





Bellamy’s Restaurant, Escondido, CA

Perfect for a pre-race giddy up or winning splurge, sip on Bellamy’s Peach Julep for a refreshing race day cocktail. This classic libation with a peachy spin, wins across the board as the perfect summer refreshment with a cool combination of brandy, lemongrass and peach. Enjoy an upscale farm-to-table dining experience in North County which will undoubtedly compliment guests’ race day suits and summer hats. 





AVANT at Rancho Bernardo Inn | San Diego, CA

For those fancying the excitement surrounding Del Mar’s horse race season, extend the day in North County, and delight in handcrafted cocktails pre or post races at Rancho Bernardo’s signature restaurant, AVANT. Enjoy a relaxing social setting with golf course views while sipping AVANT’s refreshing Dutch Mule. The front-runner libation composed of Nolet’s silver gin, ginger beer and grapefruit, offers a fresh taste of summer to cool down on warm race days!




CUCINA enoteca at Flower Hill Promenade, Del Mar

With miniature horse figurines abound and the buzz of the race track excitement, CUCINA enoteca is the place to see and be seen before, during, and after the final horse crosses the finish line. To top off their “ode to the equestrian” theme, the restaurant is bringing back their popular race-inspired cocktail menu to get fans in true race-day spirit.The California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop pays homage to the local community’s rich equestrian history and vast polo fields through their unique design tailored to the Del MarThoroughbred Club. Themed cocktails include:

  • photo finish | woodford reserve + campari + contratto rosso  
    • In anticipation of a close race.
  • trifecta | anejo tequilla + lillet blanc + aperol  
    • For the lucky bettor who predicts which horses will finish first, second, and  third in the exact order.
  • on the nose | orange coriander bourbon + dry curacao + honey water + lemon + angostura bitters
    • For the confident bettor who only places money on the winning horse.
  • il giardino | thyme gin + amaro nonino + honey water + rose water + lemon
    • Enjoy your pre or post-race libation in our upstairs “garden” patio and soak in the summer race season vibes.



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