Del Mar Race Track has all the luck. As if the ocean backdrop weren’t enough, the buildings are Mediterranean palaces, the paddock viewing area (where all the pretty horses march by) a lushly landscaped garden. This year’s season opens July 18 and ends September 5. L’Auberge del Mar has horse racing in its bloodlines; the site’s first hotel was a favorite of L.A. celebrities hot on the sport of kings. Today the rooms are models of sophistication, and you need go no farther than the hotel’s Kitchen 1540 for fine seasonal cuisine. The beach offers a wide strand for running or strolling and several modest surf breaks for beginners. In two short blocks the adjacent village packs scores of shops and view-drenched restaurants, including Flavor del Mar—worth a visit just for the wine bar, not to mention the Asian-influenced menu.