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Golden Gate: El Camino Real Derby tops winter-spring stakes schedule
By Chuck Dybdal
Golden Gate Fields will again card 11 stakes for its upcoming winter-spring meet that begins Dec. 26.
The 11 stakes – highlighted by the Grade 3, $200,000 El Camino Real Derby, the Grade 3, $100,000 San Francisco Mile, and Grade 3, $100,000 All American – are worth $950,000, a decrease of $150,000 from the 2011-12 meeting.
Missing from the schedule is the Grade 3 Berkeley, but the All American – traditionally scheduled in the fall – will be run in its place with the Berkeley moving to the fall.
“We wanted to run the All American around Memorial Day and the Berkeley in the fall,” Golden Gate Fields racing secretary David Jerkens said. “It was just a little tweak.”
Eliminated was the $75,000 Alcatraz, a turf stakes for 3-year-olds.
Added to the stakes schedule is the $50,000-added Camilla Urso, a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
Purses were reduced for three stakes. Both the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and the California Oaks for 3-year-old fillies suffered $50,000 reductions. The San Francisco Mile now has a $100,000 purse, while the purse for the Oaks was cut from $100,000 to $50,000.
The Golden Poppy, which was a $75,000 turf race for 3-year-old fillies last year, will be a $50,000-added race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up this year. It does give older fillies and mares a chance to run in a stakes at Golden Gate Fields, an opportunity that they did not have at last spring’s meeting.
For the first time in three years, Golden Gate will offer stakes for all age categories.
“We’re trying to be more viable,” Jerkens said. “We wanted to try at least to cover everybody and keep our signature races. We could always add an overnight stakes if revenues improve.
“We’re also doing everything we can to use the [non-conditioned] allowance races.”
GGF is trying just about everything under the sun or lately the rain clouds to increase revenue. The powers at large should forget the silly promotionals, though I do like seeing Mr. Baze's win #'s increase daily atop of the tote board! Decreasing the purses in the upcoming winter/spring stakes schedule is a step backwards making it less attractive for horse owners to enter these races while there is better $ to be made elsewhere. I do like the fact that Mr. Jerkens is trying to broaden the scope of stakes catagories and adding more NC allowance races. But what GGF really needs to do is get serious and stop charging for parking and admission and take the plunge in raising purses to bring back larger fields and better quality races to attrack the betting public to place their wagers locally instead of on other race tracks. And why exchange wagering at Las Alamitos and not here? That would really put GGF on the serious horse players map! It is feeling more and more like a grave yard where the bay used to play, even on dollar day Sundays!
- 1.Posted 12/08/2013 09:52AM
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- 5.Posted 12/07/2013 03:42PM