09/26/2007 11:00PM

California allots '08 dates

EmailThe California Horse Racing Board issued racing dates for 2008 at its monthly meeting on Thursday, awarding two meetings in the first eight months of the year to Bay Meadows in San Mateo, Calif., a track scheduled to close in the next couple of years.

Bay Meadows will run its main meeting from Feb. 6 to May 11 and host the San Mateo County Fair meeting from Aug. 6 to 18. The track is expected to stay open through the end of 2008 as a training center and be developed for other purposes, perhaps as early as 2009.

In other Northern California dates, Golden Gate Fields, the circuit's other major track, will run three meetings: Dec. 26, 2007, through Feb. 3; May 14-June 22; and Oct. 3-Dec. 21.

The fair circuit will operate at Pleasanton (June 25-July 6), Vallejo (July 9-20), Santa Rosa (July 23-Aug. 4), Ferndale (Aug. 7-17), Cal-Expo (Aug. 20-Sept. 1), Stockton (Sept. 3-15), and Fresno (Oct. 1-13). Stockton's dates are a change from past seasons, when the track operated in June.

The Southern California schedule is similar to recent years. Santa Anita will run from Dec. 26, 2007 through April 20. Hollywood Park will run its spring-summer meeting from April 23-July 13 and its fall meeting from Oct. 29-Dec. 21.

Other dates are Del Mar from July 16-Sept. 3, the Los Angeles County Fair meeting at Fairplex Park from Sept. 5-22 and the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting from Sept. 24-Oct. 26.

The Breeders' Cup will be run at the Oak Tree meet on Oct. 24 and 25.

The Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton has been mentioned as a replacement to Bay Meadows on the Northern California Thoroughbred circuit. In Southern California, there are concerns about the racing calender should Hollywood Park be closed for development in the next few years. Fairplex Park in Pomona is the leading candidate to replace Hollywood Park.

In other developments, the racing board deferred for one month the approval of the Hollywood Park's application for fall racing dates this year from Nov. 7 through Dec. 22 until agreements with account-wagering services and horsemen's groups are completed.