Horses spring from the gate at the start of the first race on opening day. Chris Stone photo

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced Tuesday spectators will be able to return to the racetrack this summer in light of positive trends regarding vaccinations and COVID-19 case rates.

Track officials cited “improving trends in public health data, growth in vaccination rates and the gradual relaxation of limits on attendance at sporting and performance venues in the state” in announcing that fans will be welcome back when the track opens for its 82nd summer season on July 16.

“We will continue to follow the guidance of local health officials and our medical advisers, but based on what has been announced for other local attractions such as the San Diego Padres and SeaWorld, we are optimistic we will have fans in the stands this summer at some level,” said Del Mar President and Chief Operating Officer Josh Rubinstein.

“We have the advantages of a 350-acre site and a facility that can host people quite comfortably with appropriate social distancing as needed,” he added.

The 31-day season will begin with a Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule for the first two weeks, then to a Thursday through Sunday schedule until its Labor Day finale on Sept. 6. 

— City News Service contributed to this article