12/16/2006 12:00AM

Golden Gate stakes worth $500K

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Seven stakes worth $500,000 will be offered during Golden Gate Fields' 31-day winter meeting beginning Dec. 26. All will be run on the main track.

Four of the stakes are for 3-year-olds, beginning on their Jan. 1 "birthday" with the $50,000 Stinson Beach at six furlongs. That race is a prep for the $150,000 California Derby at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 28.

The $50,000 Tiburon at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies will be run Jan. 13 as preparation for the $100,000 California Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 10.

Two route stakes for older runners are scheduled: the $50,000 Union Square on opening day and the $50,000 Muir Woods for fillies and mares on Jan. 6. Both will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

The $50,000 Fairfax is a six-furlong sprint scheduled for Feb. 3. There is no sprint stakes exclusively for fillies and mares.

"We are committed to stakes and hope to get participation from horsemen in both the north and south," said Robert Hartman, Golden Gate Fields' general manager.

Hartman said that with a four-day race week and the possibility of adding more races on weekends, Golden Gate Fields would be open to the idea of running stakes with only four runners.

"It's critical to give our best horses a chance to run," Hartman said.