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Mixed Feelings as Golden Gate Fields Racetrack Prepares for Closure

A Bittersweet Farewell to Golden Gate Fields

ALBANY, Calif. – Exciting news is rippling through the horse racing sphere, creating a stir across the nation.

Golden Gate Fields, situated in both Berkeley and Albany, is bidding farewell to its horse racing operation at the close of this year. This track has been an integral part of the horse racing scene since 1941.

RELATED: Golden Gate Fields set to close by the end of this year, owners confirm

“It’s a downer, no doubt about it. It’s quite disheartening. Golden Gate Fields has always held a special place in my heart,” shared Lee Siegel, a devoted horse racing enthusiast.

Siegel’s disappointment stems from the recent revelation that Golden Gate Fields will cease operations by the conclusion of 2023.

“They used to rave about the breathtaking view of the bathroom at Golden Gate Fields,” Siegel reminisced.

Indeed, the track offers magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay, complete with the city skyline and both iconic bridges in sight.

On the other hand, animal activists have persistently called for the shutdown of Golden Gate Fields, and they are claiming credit for its impending closure.

“Today, my thoughts are with the horses. I cannot help but think of all the horses that endured confinement at Golden Gate Fields, something we were tirelessly striving to eradicate. I also remember all the horses that tragically lost their lives here,” expressed Samantha Faye of StopBloodSports.org.

RELATED: Bay Area animal activists demand closure of Golden Gate Fields in light of horse fatalities

However, staunch supporters of horse racing firmly believe that this closure has origins in a different cause. Howard Kravets, host of the HHH Racing Podcast, shares his perspective.

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“I do not entirely agree with those who perceive this as a triumph for animal rights groups. I believe there is an entirely different reason behind this decision. Currently, it revolves around the declining number of foals being born in the country,” Kravets explained.

Despite the closure announcement, the group that owns Golden Gate Fields did not provide a specific reason, stating, “The Stronach Group today announced it will double down on its prestigious racing and training venues at Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs by closing Golden Gate Fields at the end of the 2023 racing meet.”

MORE: 36 racehorses forced to leave Golden Gate Fields following 30th horse death in Santa Anita

Although eight horses have tragically perished at the Golden Gate Fields track this year, the facility’s ownership highlights that horse fatalities across the entire state have decreased by over 50% in the last five years, positioning California among the safest states for thoroughbred racing.

“Whether the death rate is declining or not, the public remains concerned about the loss of individual horses. We perceive each horse as unique,” Faye emphasized.

The fate of the stables and horse handlers residing within the premises of Golden Gate Fields remains uncertain. It is unknown whether all of them will have the opportunity to relocate to Southern California.

“There’s a close-knit community out there, and it’s disheartening to think that they may be uprooted. It’s a real shame because that community is quite substantial,” Siegel expressed with regret.

“I fervently hope that the powers that be, J.R., can collaborate and find a resolution. Closing tracks cannot be the ultimate solution for horse racing,” Kravets urged.

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