‘Bigger And Better’: Golden Gate Officials Looking To Build On Success Of Gold Rush Weekend

by | 05.01.2019 | 8:41pm
Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco, Calif.

Just days after completing its inaugural Gold Rush Weekend last Saturday and Sunday, officials at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, Calif., deemed the event a successful beginning to an annual tradition that is expected to continue for years to come.

“Just an outstanding 48 hours,” reflected Golden Gate Fields General Manager and Vice President David Duggan. “Our fans, owners, horseplayers and horsemen have given us very positive feedback. Our numbers were very strong. Both days produced solid on-track crowds that were festive and exuberant. Our wagering product was fantastic and horseplayers were able to dive into competitive sequences with large pools. We are extremely pleased with how the inaugural Gold Rush Weekend went.”

Saturday, April 27 featured a 13-race program, with six of the 13 races going as stakes events for horses of varied divisions and of various ages. Saturday's main event was the Grade III, $250,000 San Francisco Mile and was won by the Doug O'Neill-trained Blitzkrieg. Ridden to victory by Rafael Bejarano, the son of top-class stallion War Front picked up his third consecutive win since being claimed by O'Neill for $25,000.

Sunday, April 28 saw a 12-race card with two marquee events for California-bred or sired horses at one mile on turf: the $100,000 Campanile Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $100,000 Silky Sullivan Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

The Campanile was won by Southern California shipper Kitty Boom Boom, while Unusual Heatwave won a three-horse photo in the Silky Sullivan, defeating the late-running local Our Silver Oak and recent Santa Anita stakes winner Lieutenant Dan.

All-sources pari-mutuel handle on Saturday totaled $8.1 million, up over $4.5 million from last year's $3.6 million on the same calendar day.  Sunday's all-sources handle of $5.9 million was a $1.5 million increase over last year's $4.3 million figure.

All-sources handle for the two-day Gold Rush Weekend was up 80 percent over a year ago, as  $14,077,741 was bet on Saturday and Sunday, an increase of nearly $6.1 million over the $7,979,824 wagered over the same two days in 2018. This robust handle was made possible by the fact a total of 212 horses competed in 25 races over the Gold Rush Weekend, making for average field size of 8.48 runners per race.

“We are always looking to improve our product,” Duggan concluded. “We are very proud of the 2019 edition of Gold Rush Weekend, yes, but we are also eager to make Gold Rush Weekend an even bigger and better event next year. Golden Gate Fields and The Stronach Group are very excited about the future.”

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