Another Horse Racing Track Is Closing

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Golden Gate Fields will shut down in December.

The horse racing industry is leaving the San Francisco Bay Area market permanently. Golden Gate Fields will shut down in December as The Stronach Group has decided to try and strengthen its holdings in Southern California and will shift as much of its Bay Area business to its Los Angeles area and San Diego area properties as possible. The horse racing industry is dying for a multitude of reasons. The Golden Gate Fields 110-acre property is located in Albany and in Berkeley. There is no immediate word on what the Stronach Group plans to do with the waterfront property that it purchased in 2011. Golden Gate Fields opened in 1941. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 and the United States declared war on Japan on December 8th, 1941, the U.S. Navy took over the property for storage of landing craft that was to be used in the Pacific theater. After the war ended, racing returned to the site.

Horse racing has lost its way. There are some races that still attract attention, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont along with the Breeders’ Cup. Much of horse racing’s allure was gambling and the track was the place to go to make legal bets. But Horse Racing’s huge following quickly faded after the 1950s as states began lotteries and betting was made easy. In the 1960s, there was a limited but growing form of legalized betting around, with state lotteries, off track betting and the availability of all forms of gambling in stores along with casinos sprouting up around the country. Gamblers’ have choices. A portion of the horse racing industry has been saved by casino gambling at tracks. That is not going to change anytime soon. Tracks have closed around the country and there is no novelty to horse racing anymore.

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. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)