09/18/2017 11:50AM

Oak Tree at Pleasanton has momentum going into fall meet


Earlier this year, the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meeting became the lone racing fair to show an increase in handle over last year. The fall Pleasanton meet begins a seven-day run Thursday at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, and track officials hope to match their early summer success.

Unlike during the summer meet, there will be no fair running to draw in fans. But the fairgrounds has scheduled special events on each of the seven days of racing during the fall meet.

The Pleasanton meet runs Thursday-Sunday this week and Friday-Sunday next week. First post is 1:45 p.m. Pacific every day but the two Fridays, which have a 2:15 p.m. first post. The grandstand opens at 11 a.m. each day, and daily racing seminars will be offered at noon every day but the two Fridays, when the seminars will begin at 12:30 p.m. Admission will be free every day, and parking is free on Thursday and both Fridays.

Although he has only 100 runners stabled on the grounds, racing secretary Tom Doutrich says he is getting a better reception from trainers than he did last year, when Pleasanton first supplanted the San Joaquin Fair at Stockton on the racing calendar.

“Trainers based at Golden Gate say they’re ready to go,” he said. “I’m getting guys saying, ‘I need this’ or ‘I need that,’ which we didn’t hear last year.”

The meet’s lone stakes will be carded Saturday, Sept. 30, when 2-year-olds get their first chance to run in a route stakes in Northern California in the $75,000 Oak Tree Juvenile at one mile and 70 yards.

“We’ve already gotten some interest from Southern California trainers,” Doutrich said.

The wagering menu will include a 20-cent pentafecta wager, which requires bettors to select the top five finishers in order.

The Win-Place-Show contest will be offered daily. Sporting events will be shown daily on high-definition screens in the 95.7 The Game Fan Cave.

Thursday’s opening day will include a T-shirt giveaway and $2 hot dogs. Food trucks will be featured both Fridays, with $2 beers all day.

Other events during the meet include:

◗ Saturday, Sept. 23: Sip, Savor and Wager Wine Festival, with more than 30 wineries participating. There also willl be the Derby Dog Dash between Thoroughbred races.

◗ Sunday, Sept. 24: Poker Run to the Races Motorcycle Ride.

◗ Saturday, Sept. 30: Craftoberfest Craft Beer Festival, with craft beers from 20 breweries.

◗ Sunday, Oct. 1: Mixology Festival Craft Cocktails.