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Stronach Group Plans One Final Run Of Races At Golden Gate Fields

Written By J.R. Duren on September 22, 2023
Two Horses And Jockeys Ride Down A Track with Golden Gate Fields logo

Golden Gate Fields‘ golden years have come to an end, but not before the track will host one last series of races.

That’s according to a press release from the track’s owners, The Stronach Group. The firm, which said earlier this month it was closing the track after its final race, has plans to ask the California Horse Racing Board to extend the track’s closing date to June 30, 2024, so it can host one last season of racing.

Aiden Butler, CEO at Stronach-funded 1/ST Racing & Gaming, made it seem as if the final season of racing was all but guaranteed.

“We are pleased we could work out a solution with our industry stakeholders to be able to keep Golden Gate Fields open for an additional and final meet,” Butler said.

New legislation proposes revenue sharing between CA horse racing tracks

Originally, Golden Gate Fields was slated to close this year after its final races in December.

In the meantime, the California legislature passed a bill that, if signed by Gov. Gavin Newsome, would implement revenue sharing between California’s Northern racing zone and the state’s Southern and Central racing zones.

The bill is fresh out of the legislature, so it will take time to finalize the process by which tracks will share revenue.

Because of that, Stronach is pushing back Golden Gate Fields closing “in the interest of developing a statewide transition plan based upon thoughtful consideration of the challenges facing racing in California and across the country,” the company said in a True Nicks press release.

Golden Gate Fields has a rich history

Golden Gate Fields has been the premier location for horse racing in Northern California for many years. The track debuted on Feb. 1, 1941, and, in 2011, The Stronach Group purchased it.

Among the great moments in the track history was the legendary showdown between English horse Noor and Triple Crown winner Citation. Noor beat the legendary Thoroughbred and later retired with four wins over Citation.

Earlier this year, Golden Gate Fields tweeted a photo of the grandstand on the day of the Noor-Citation showdown.

Tens of thousands of spectators crammed the stands watching horses charge down the home stretch. The day was a peak moment for the track.

One could argue it was the defining moment of northern California horse racing and an artifact from a regional tradition that will go extinct. Golden Gate Fields is the only operating horse track in Northern California.

Photo by PlayUSA
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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