Golden Gate Fields racing is a high-class Thoroughbred experience with a distinctly Californian personality. The Turf Club Restaurant offers spectacular views of the track and the San Francisco Bay. The track itself is located within sight of multiple national landmarks, creating a one-of-a-kind ambiance for the racing experience.
Golden Gate Fields is located 11 miles from San Francisco and is a short drive from Napa Valley. Situated in the town of Albany, CA near Oakland, the track has the odd distinction of crossing city boundaries. The track actually crosses the line between Albany and Berkeley; the stable is located in Berkeley and the stands in Albany. Golden Gate Fields features fine dining, a spacious Club House, multiple simulcast rooms for viewing races at other tracks, and free seating in the general admissions areas.
The first meet at Golden Gate took place on February 1, 1941. Heavy rains resulted in rough track conditions and a meet that lasted only 5 days. America’s involvement in two World Wars then put racing on hold for 6 years. The track reopened to great fanfare on September 9, 1947. That year, two horses (Fair Truckle and Count Speed) caused a stir by setting world records at the track in consecutive races on the afternoon of October 4.
Since then, the track has hosted many world-class horses, trainers, and jockeys. From Citation, 1948’s Horse of the Year, to Lost in the Fog, Sprinter of 2005, Golden Gate has seen award-winners grace the track year in and year out. Jockey Bill Shoemaker, who would go on to hold the most wins of any rider worldwide, had his first career victory at Golden Gate Fields in 1949. Check out this link for the track’s full history.
As of this posting, the main track at Golden Gate is Tapeta, a combination of sand, rubber, and fiber that does not turn to mud even under hard rains. Golden Gate was only the eighth track in the country to install an engineered surface like this one, which is gentler on the horses in all conditions. Golden Gate is also home to a secondary firm turf track.
Races are held in May and June to take advantage of spring/early summer temperatures and breezes. A fall meet also takes place each year from October through January. Races are held on Wednesdays through Sundays and on Monday holidays during these periods. Simulcast races from other tracks are available year-round, according to the Cal Racing website.
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