10/15/2013 1:09PM

Golden Gate fall meet could influence 2014 racing dates


With the Northern California racing schedule for 2014 still not decided and Golden Gate Fields hoping to extend its six-month-long winter/spring meet into early summer, the 36-day fall meeting that opens Thursday could have an impact on next year’s dates decision.

“Hopefully, we’ll get off on the right foot for the fall meet, and business will improve,” said Golden Gate racing secretary David Jerkens.

Jerkens believes the fall meet has several factors working in its favor.

“We’ve kept our purse structure consistent year-round this year,” he said. “The fall typically goes pretty well for us. We get an influx of Northwest horses, 2-year-old racing is in full swing, the 3-[year-olds] and-up has taken shape, and we still are using the turf course.”

As negotiations continue over 2014 dates, Jerkens believes switching early summer dates to Golden Gate in exchange for the later summer dates could be beneficial to Northern California horsemen, but he says, “We want to prove that by having a strong meet.”

A seven-race stakes schedule includes the $100,000 Pike Place Dancer for 2-year-old fillies and the Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley. The schedule begins Saturday with the $50,000-added Miss America for fillies and mares.

“The Miss America is a race we added because we need a race for fillies and mares,” Jerkens said. “We feel like it fits well on opening weekend.”

Fifteen runners were nominated for the race, and Jerkens is hopeful at least eight will enter.

The stakes schedule emphasizes 2-year-olds and leads to next year’s California Derby and Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby for 3-year-olds.

“Horsemen and owners have been cooperative,” Jerkens said. “Everyone is trying to do what they can. We are trying to continue to make progress.”

Summer meet handle declines

The 19-day Golden Gate summer meeting, which ran from Aug. 17 to Sept. 18, showed a decrease in daily averages over the 17-day 2012 meeting.

The daily ontrack live handle dipped 12 percent from $165,551 per day in 2012 to $145,569 this year. The total ontrack live handle dropped 1.73 percent from $2,814,371 to $2,765,814 despite having two extra racing days.

While the all-sources handle – which includes satellites, out-of-state betting, and account wagering – was up 3.87 percent from $48,101,923 in 2012 to $49,964,574, the daily all-sources handle dropped 7.06 percent from $2,829,525 to $2,629,714.