04/23/2008 11:00PM

California dates plan aired


Golden Gate Fields would host nearly all the Thoroughbred racing conducted in Northern California in 2009-10 following the planned closing of Bay Meadows later this year and the expected renovation of the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, the California Horse Racing Board heard Thursday.

Executives from Northern California racetracks and fair associations emphasized that the dates are "a work in progress." The racing board will issue dates for 2009 in coming months.

Under a tentative plan for racing dates in 2009, Golden Gate Fields would run from January to mid-June, and from mid-October to the end of December. The county fairs would run from mid-June to mid-October. In coming years, Pleasanton would run four-week meetings in the spring and fall to break up the long meetings at Golden Gate Fields. In 2009, those meetings would be incorporated into the Golden Gate Fields dates.

Contingency plans are being discussed to allow an expansion of stabling at Pleasanton to accommodate horses currently based at Bay Meadows, which is scheduled to close at the end of the year.

The Southern California racing circuit could face a stabling crisis next year if Hollywood Park closes at the end of 2008, the board was told.

Hollywood Park officials have not committed to conducting racing in 2009. The absence of stabling at Hollywood Park could lead to additional stabling at Fairplex Park in Pomona, San Luis Rey Downs in Bonsall, Del Mar racetrack, and possibly Galway Downs in Galway, according to Del Mar's executive vice-president, Craig Fravel.

Fairplex Park is seeking to expand its barn area to accommodate 2,200 horses.