06/16/2016 7:02PM

Golden Gate executive apologizes to jackpot six bettors


ARCADIA, Calif .- A Golden Gate Fields executive apologized to racing fans on Thursday for the chaos surrounding the late transfer of two races from turf to the synthetic main track on June 12, a day with a massive pool in the track’s jackpot pick six.

After the pick six began, two races were transferred to the main track after jockeys decided not to ride the turf course, citing unsafe conditions. At Thursday’s California Horse Racing Board meeting, track executive Joe Morris said the track regretted the situation.

“It came out hardest on our players, and our big players, and we’re truly sorry for that,” Morris said. “It was unfortunate, for sure. The Stronach Group would never put jockeys or horses…at harm. In hindsight, there were some communication issues and we’ve started discussions on that.”

The Stronach Group is the parent company of Golden Gate Fields.

Racing board executive director Rick Baedeker said jockeys had not expressed concern to track stewards about the condition of the course.

“After the eighth race, the jockeys said they would not ride on the course,” Baedeker said. “Determining the safety of the racing surface is an inexact science. The jockeys racing over the surface are better than anyone to determine whether it’s safe or unsafe. Once the jockeys notified the stewards, they had no choice in the interest of safety or the jockeys to take racing off the turf.”

The June 12 program was the closing day of the Golden Gate Fields meeting. The 20-cent jackpot pick six began on closing day with a carryover of more than $1.4 million. The pool reached $4,594,997.

The two races switched from turf to the main track were considered winners on all tickets. The bet paid $146 for 31,438 winning tickets.