State horse racing board votes to keeps sport in Bay Area

State horse racing board votes to keeps sport in Bay Area

With Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley set to close in June, the future of horse racing in the Bay Area – and the livelihoods of the jockeys, breeders, and trainers at the park – has been in question.

Last Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board voted unanimously to bring 26 racing dates to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton in the fall.

Many in attendance at the meeting in Sacramento were workers who would be affected by the closure of Golden Gate Fields – which has been open since 1941.

The racetrack is owned by the Stronach Group, who are closing it in order to prioritize their other racing properties in Southern California.

Tensions at the meeting rose over a letter written by an executive of the Stronach Group, which argued that the state board should also focus its efforts in Southern California.

Critics of the letter claimed it was divisive – some even viewing it as a threat. Members of the board saw the letter as creating a divide between the racing interests of those in the North and South of the state.

Meanwhile, those who work at Golden Gate Fields supported the Pleasanton dates through public comment.

Horse trainer Jamey Thomas said, “We want to show that we can make this work.”

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