A Guide to Visiting Golden Gate Fields Race Track
by SanFranciscoDotCom Staff
With the closures of Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows, San Francisco and California now have fewer racetracks than ever before but there are a number of venues still flourishing. Golden Gate Fields stages regular meetings throughout the year as well as providing stunning views across the bay.
The track has been in existence for over 75 years in Berkeley and is hugely popular with sports fans and tourists alike. Incredible views of the San Francisco Bay and the glistening Golden Gate Bridge in the distance are all part of the appeal with the latter particularly eye-catching during early-evening meetings at the course.
It is easily accessible and many passers-by will have driven close to the track on a number of occasions. Dollar Day Sundays are a great incentive to visit this wonderful venue with admission, programs, parking and hot dogs all priced at just $1 each throughout the winter and spring. There are a number of options for diners at the track with a hugely-popular Italian kitchen serving up bespoke pizzas and a grill which delivers mouth-watering ribs, burgers and wings. Betting begins at just $2 and there are plenty of advisors on hand to help with any questions relating to placing a wager at the track. The Grandstand houses approximately 8,000 spectators.
Golden Gate Fields has been forced to play second fiddle to the glorious surroundings of Santa Anita over the past few years with the Arcadia-based track considered one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world. It is often found on the bucket-list of many racing enthusiasts alongside Happy Valley, Meydan and Aintree. The latter hosts the world's most famous steeple-chase and is a hugely popular destination for visiting sport fans to the UK. Anibale Fly and Total Recall are the joint favorites with William Hill for this year's four-and-a-half-mile event which is once again shaping up to be a hugely competitive contest.
Golden Gate Fields has a number of horsemen who regularly send their stable stars to the track including Jonathon Wong, William Delia, Jerry Hollendorfer, Tim McCanna and Blaine Wright. William Antongeorgi III and Abel Cedillo are just two of the jockeys who are regularly spotted in the winners' enclosure here.
The track hosts a number of Grade 3 events throughout the season including the El Camino Real Derby, the San Francisco Mile Stakes, Berkeley Handicap and the All-American Stakes. The latter was previously held at Bay Meadows where it was known as the Seabiscuit Handicap. Other notable contests include the Lost in the Fog Stakes and the Gold Rush Stakes which currently offers a purse of $75,000.
If you're searching for a place to soak up the sun with a group of friends, Golden Gate Fields provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy some top-class hospitality whilst having a wager on the day's thoroughbred racing. It is an extremely welcoming, well-maintained and friendly track and it has the added bonus of being extremely easy to locate. On race days, there is a free shuttle bus which takes racegoers from Berkeley's BART station and there is always ample parking.
You don't have to be a racing expert to appreciate the splendour of Golden Gate Fields and visitors to the North Bay area should seriously consider spending an afternoon trackside.