08/20/2007 12:00AM

Golden Gate ahead of schedule

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Horses will return to Golden Gate Fields on Oct. 5 and can begin training on the track the next day, the track's general manager, Robert Hartman, said Monday.

"We will finish the installation of our new surface 10 days ahead of schedule," he said. "There haven't been any surprises, and our contractors have been making up time every day."

Golden Gate Fields, following a mandate by the California Horse Racing Board, is installing a synthetic surface, having chosen Tapeta Footing. The project began in mid-July. The Golden Gate meeting opens Nov. 7.

In addition to the new racing surface, Golden Gate has done $1 million in work to the barn area, including electrical work, new water heaters, and a new paved walkway for trainers from the barn area to the track.