Golden Gate Fields, the iconic horse racing track in Northern California, is set to close its doors permanently later this year, marking the end of an era for racing enthusiasts in the region.
The Stronach Group, the track’s owner, intends to shift its focus to Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Downs in Southern California.
Belinda Stronach, CEO and president of The Stronach Group, emphasized the superior facilities and experiences offered at Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Downs, with plans to relocate horses from the Bay Area to Arcadia and enhance the racing schedule at Santa Anita.
Acknowledging the significant impact on employees and industry stakeholders, Stronach assured that the company would honor its labor obligations.
Collaborating with industry groups and other racetracks in California, The Stronach Group aims to facilitate the transition of horses and employees to Southern California.
Horse Racing and Thoroughbred Breeding in California
However, concerns have been raised regarding the potential repercussions of the closure on horse racing and Thoroughbred breeding throughout California and the West.
The closure of Golden Gate Fields holds historical significance, as the track has a rich legacy dating back to its establishment in 1941.
Over the years, it has hosted renowned horses and even played a role in literature and cinema, immortalized in Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road” and the film “Metro.”
Russell Baze, a retired Hall of Fame jockey, achieved a significant milestone at Golden Gate Fields by winning his 10,000th career race there in 2008.
With the closure of Golden Gate Fields, Northern California will be left without a major racetrack, as Bay Meadows ceased operations in 2008.
The Stronach Group’s renewed focus on Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Downs aims to ensure the continued success of horse racing in California on a national level, albeit in a different location.
While the closure brings nostalgia and marks the end of a cherished era, it also represents the beginning of a new chapter in the rich history of California horse racing.
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