08/23/2010 11:24AM

Golden Gate refreshed and ready to run


After a 10-week break for the Northern California fair season, racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields on Wednesday for a 28-day summer meet. The meet runs through Oct. 3.

As usual, officials at the Albany, Calif., track are worried whether there are enough race-ready horses to make for decent-sized fields, but those who do run will find a renovated Tapeta main track and a refreshed turf course waiting for them.

“I think our track’s in pretty good shape,” said Golden Gate general manager Robert Hartman.

In addition to the work that has been done, Michael Dickinson, creator of the Tapeta surface, will be onsite testing the track during the opening days of the meet.

The turf course has fully grown back since its last use, and Hartman and racing secretary Sean Greely hope it will attract some Southern California-based runners north during the Fairplex meeting. Fairplex, which has only a dirt track, runs the Los Angeles County Fair meet from Sept. 9-27.

As far as field size goes, September has never been a particularly kind month to Northern California racing interests. Emerald Downs near Seattle is in full swing, and horses from there don’t usually start coming to Golden Gate until late in the month. Some horses who have been running on the fair circuit are either freshening up for the Fresno meet in October or looking for easier spots.

Because of worries over the horse population, the track will twice run four-day weeks during the Fairplex meet.

The highlights of the meet are a pair of 1 1/16-mile stakes for 2-year-olds. On Labor Day, 2-year-old fillies will run in the $50,000 Rosie the Riveter, while on Sept. 11, 2-year-olds of either sex will go in the $50,000 Angel Island. The Angel Island could match Luckarack and King Cola, the one-two finishers in the Cavonnier Juvenile at Santa Rosa.

Golden Gate will continue its Dollar Day Sundays. The Dollar Days offer $1 admission and parking.

Also on several Sundays, the track will be the site of a four-hour live radio show on KTRB 860, San Francisco’s newest sports-talk station. The first program will air Sept. 12. The station will also air the stretch call of the day’s feature race.

Golden Gate will unveil a minimum 50-cent bet on the pick four instead of the former $1 minimum.