06/05/2007 12:00AM

Golden Gate surface renovation delayed

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Plans to begin installing a Tapeta synthetic racetrack at Golden Gate Fields next Monday have been put on hold. The Albany, Calif., planning department was expected to decide whether to issue Golden Gate a permit to install the track during a Monday meeting, but the decision has been tabled until an unspecified date.

Once the permit is granted, Golden Gate can begin construction, according to the track's general manager, Robert Hartman. Golden Gate has satisfied the city's environmental impact report requirements, Hartman said, although several local environmental groups have been requesting additional environmental reports. They could seek an injunction against construction at the track when the city permit is granted, which could delay construction further.

The Golden Gate race meet ends Sunday, and racing doesn't resume there until Nov. 7. Installation of the track was scheduled to be completed by Labor Day.

Golden Gate had planned to close down its barn area and begin removal of all horses on Monday. But Hartman said the horses can remain in the barn area until the permit is issued.

"We promised horsemen we would never ask them to move out of the barn area until we have the permit in hand," Hartman said.