12/04/2012 3:16PM

Golden Gate: El Camino Real Derby tops winter-spring stakes schedule


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.”