03/23/2012 12:34PM

Golden Gate adjusts date for Golden Poppy, changes Berkeley to handicap

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Golden Gate Fields racing secretary David Jerkens has announced two changes to the spring meet stakes schedule. The $75,000 Golden Poppy will be pushed back one day to Sunday, May 6, from Saturday, May 5, and the Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley on May 28 will be run as a handicap race rather than a stakes.

Jerkens said that switching dates for the Golden Poppy to move it away from Kentucky Derby Day could provide fans two big days.

“By moving the Golden Poppy, we’re shooting for back-to-back big days with the simulcast of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and the running of the Golden Poppy providing excitement for our Dollar Day crowd on Sunday,” he said.

Jerkens said that the Berkeley began as a handicap event in 1948 and was contested as a handicap for much of its existence.

“I just want to bring the race back to its history,” he said.

The Berkeley was last run as a handicap in 2006, when Spellbinder was ridden to victory by Roberto Gonzalez, carrying 118 pounds.