07/10/2013 12:56PM

Sacramento: California State Fair meet opens

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The California State Fair in Sacramento lost a great promotion when Russell Baze rode his 12,000th winner Sunday in the last race on closing day at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, Calif.

Even without the Baze countdown to 12,000, there will plenty of racing attractions at the State Fair, which begins its eight-day racing meet Friday.

A new $75,000 stakes, the Governor’s Cup, Northern California’s first main-track route stakes for fillies and mares, will be run Saturday. Fillies and mares also will be featured in the $75,000 California State Fair Fillies and Mares Sprint the following Saturday.

California State Fair At a Glance
RACING SCHEDULE: Eight days, July 12-21; dark Monday and Tuesday
POST TIME: 1:45 p.m. daily, except 3:45 p.m. Fridays
HIGHLIGHTS: July 13, $75,000 California Governor’s Cup; July 20, $75,000 California State Fair Fillies & Mares Sprint
FAIR ADMISSION: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; ages 5-12, $8 (free admission to track)
PARKING: General, $10; preferred, $14
LOCATION: 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, Calif.
PHONE: (916) 263-3247
INTERNET: www.bigfun.org

The State Fair also is working on new ways to attract more runners after trying to lure them last year by inflating bottom-level purses.

The State Fair will provide $150 in shipping stipends for runners coming from Pleasanton or Golden Gate Fields and a $500 trainer bonus for every five horses entered during the meet.

“We began working on this last October,” racing secretary Tom Doutrich said.

Also being offered are six starter-allowance races for runners who have competed for $4,000, $6,250, or $12,500 claiming prices in 2011-12. One sprint and one route will be offered at each classification, with $20,000 purses for the $4,000 runners, $22,000 purses for the $6,250 runners, and $25,000 for the $12,500 runners.

“Too many trainers are looking for an excuse not to run, which I can understand given the year-round racing, but we are trying to give them a reason to run,” Doutrich said.

Doutrich expects more than 300 horses will be stabled at Sacramento, up from last year’s total of 250.

Director of racing David Elliott has put together racing-related promotions for the meet, including a late pick four that will have a $30,000-guaranteed pool each day.

Several fans each day will be given $50 vouchers for the “Let It Roll” promotion covering five races. Fans must bet win, place, or show for the first two races in the sequence, and if they are still alive can stop and keep half of their winnings or continue to let their bet ride.

New to the fair this year is a horse racing bingo game based on racing events at the track that day. Prizes include betting vouchers and an Atlantis Casino package.

For the youngest fans of all, jockey silks will be available for picture-taking sessions.