Northern California’s Golden Gate Fields is officially ending horse racing at the facility.
On Sunday, racetrack owners The Stronach Group announced the horse track would permanently close after its final racing day.
Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay Area opened in 1941 and was purchased by The Stronach Group in 2011. Once the track is closed, Northern California will have no major racetrack.
Shutting the doors
According to the Associated Press, the company plans to focus primarily on racing at Santa Anita. The Stronach Group will also focus on training at its facility at San Luis Rey Downs.
In a statement, Stronach Group President and CEO Belinda Stronach said:
“The Stronach Group remains steadfastly committed to racing in California. Focusing on Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs as state-of-the-art racing and training facilities that offer enhanced program quality, increased race days, expanded wagering opportunities, and premier hospitality and entertainment experiences is vital to ensuring that California racing can continue to compete and thrive on a national level.”
The company said its decision to close the San Francisco Bay area horse track would have “profound effects” on employees, owners, trainers, jockeys and stable workers.
Track closure will have negative effects
Alan Balch, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, told the Associated Press:
“The ramifications of this Stronach decision will be far-reaching and long-lasting. They will include, we believe, a great many unintended and mainly detrimental consequences for all of racing and Thoroughbred breeding throughout California and the West, including in Southern California. We can only hope that we are entirely wrong.”
Scott Chaney, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, told AP he would work to ease the adverse effects of the closure.
“I am acutely aware of the human impact of the closure — be they CHRB employees, CHRB contractors, licensees, and, of course, Golden Gate employees,” Chaney said.
“I will be working hard to ameliorate any negative consequences and to create job and role opportunities.”