09/06/2009 11:00PM

Budget tightened for new meet


Golden Gate Fields opens its second fair meet of the summer on Wednesday, with a lower purse structure than during the first fair meet, held last month. In addition, two of the four scheduled stakes have been eliminated: the $50,000 Somethinaboutlaura, which had been set for Sept. 19, and the $50,000 CARF Directors Cup, to be run on Sept. 27.

The Golden Gate meeting runs for 17 days, through Oct. 4, and is conducted by the California Authority of Racing Fairs, although Golden Gate will use its own racing secretary, Sean Greely, rather than the fair racing secretary, Tom Doutrich.

The stakes were dropped because of purse overpayments during the first fair meet at Golden Gate Fields, which ran for 10 days from Aug. 12-23. The total overpayment was more than the $100,000 that will be saved by the elimination of the two stakes, according to fair authority and track officials.

Horses entered on Wednesday's opening-day card will run for $102,300, including breeders' awards. Golden Gate paid out an astronomical $148,272 per day during the first fair meeting, more than during its regular meet. Purses for the fair meets, based on handle, are paid by the fair authority.

Purses during the meet will be competitive with those of earlier fair meets. Thoroughbred purses paid out during the first 10 days of the State Fair meeting in Sacramento, which followed the Golden Gate fair meet and was to end Monday, averaged $99,521 per day.

The two remaining stakes are $50,000 races for 2-year-olds at one mile on the turf. Twenty runners were nominated for Saturday's Bart Heller, including undefeated stakes winners Forestry Steel, who has two turf wins, and Our Minesweeper, who captured the Cavonnier at Santa Rosa. Also nominated were stablemates Court Mischief and Time for Atonement, the runner-up when favored in the Cavonnier.

The Indyanne for fillies is scheduled Sept. 26.

The meet will include the regular group of jockeys and trainers normally based here. The jockey colony is headed by Russell Baze and Frank Alvarado, as well as Hector Romero and Catalino Martinez, who were tied for the Sacramento jockey lead heading into the final day of that meet Monday. Jerry Hollendorfer and Sacramento leaders Steve Sherman and Billy Morey top the list of trainers.

The Golden Gate fair meet will be followed by a two-week run of the Big Fresno Fair, which will not face an overlap with a major Northern California track for the first time. Racing resumes at Golden Gate with its regular fall meet on Oct. 21, continuing to the end of the year.

The track will continue its popular Dollar Sundays promotion with $1 parking, admission, programs, beer, hot dogs, and sodas each Sunday, while offering every NFL game on televisions throughout the track. It will also host the Wiener Nationals dog racing championships on Oct. 3.