History

 1941   Golden Gate Fields commenced its inaugural meet on February 1, 1941.
 
 1950   Noor and Citation meet in the 1950 Golden Gate Handicap, after which prompted Citation’s rider, Steve Brooks, to proclaim, “We just can’t beat that horse!”

The 1950 Golden Gate Handicap concluded the most remarkable rivalry in racing history to that point and rivals anything since, including the Secretariat—Sham, Affirmed—Alydar, or Sunday Silence—Easy Goer.

 

 1957 1957 brought Silky Sullivan and any excitement that a previous horse or horse race had provided, would eventually be exceeded by this lovable laggard who would become one of the true legends of the turf.

 

 1972 February 22, 1972, opening day, Golden Gate debuted its infield turf course. And on the seventh race of the card, Mrs. F.A. Spencer’s Honor’s Justice, ridden by apprentice Raul Ramirez, became the course’s first winner as he defeated Kingpasser.


 

 1974 April 11, 1974, the first $2 million day in Northern California came on California Derby day.

 

 1977 March 5, 1977, also California Derby Day, a modern day on-track attendance record for the Bay Area was set as 26,108 fans turned out to see riding sensation, Steve Cauthen, make his local debut aboard Make Amends. Cauthen and Make Amends finished tenth (and last) as the Noble Threewitt trained Cuzwuzwrong sprung the upset.
 
 1980 February 7, 1980 — Using the American Tote 300, Golden Gate introduces one-window wagering — bet and cash at the same window.

 

 1981 May 10, 1981 — After an eight-year absence, Sunday racing returns to Northern California. Seven Sunday programs are scheduled during the Tanforan portion of the spring meet. A Mother’s Day program draws 15,378 and Prenotion wins the Oakland Handicap for trainer Doug Utley.

 

 1984 May 6, 1984 — Nine-year-old John Henry, moving toward a second Horse of the Year title, carries Chris McCarron to a course record win in the Golden Gate Handicap, defeating Silveyville.

 

 1984 May 6, 1984 — The daily average mutuel handle exceeds $2 million for the first season when the 55-day meet averages $2,004,409.

 

 1988 May 7, 1988 — Northern California attendance and handle records fall as on-track and satellite crowds total 34,408 and wager $5,715,683 in watching Winning Colors take the Kentucky Derby on a simulcast program.
 
 1989 January 3, 1989 — Documents are finalized as Ladbroke Group PLC, of London, acquires Golden Gate Fields from Pacific Racing Association and Bay Area Sports Enterprises for $41 million.

 

 1990 May 5, 1990 — The $6 million handle plateau is reached for the first time and a Northern California attendance record falls as 34,976 at Golden Gate Fields and its satellite locations wager $6,685,040.

 

 1992 April 16, 1992 — Russell Baze establishes a Northern California record for most victories on a single card when he rides seven winners in nine mounts at Golden Gate Fields..

 

 1992 June 10, 1992 — Russell Baze sets a Golden Gate record for most wins in a meet with his 165th victory. He eventually finishes with 178 wins.
 
 1993 March 3, 1993 — Russell Baze becomes only the 23rd rider in racing history to win 4,000 races with a victory aboard Frank Musso in the third race

 

 1994 April 16, 1994 — Screaming Don, owned by the partnership of Said, Heim and trainer Lanny Sharp, rallied from far back in the 80th running of the California Derby to post the biggest upset ($103.60) in race history.
 
 1994 May 12, 1994 — Golden Gate Fields presented the first Match Race in track history. Harris Farms and Don Valpredo’s brilliant four-year-old filly, Soviet Problem, dueled with the male rival, Lazor, to the stretch, then drew off to a 4 1¼2-length victory in the six-furlong race. Later in the year, Soviet Problem would lose the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the final step to Cherokee Run.

 

 1995 April 15, 1995 — Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye rallies Fine N’ Majestic along the rail of the infield turf course to score a one-length victory in the California Derby. This marked the first time in the 81-year history of the race that it has been contested on the turf. Fine N’ Majestic is trained by Bill Shoemaker, who 47 years earlier at Golden Gate Fields notched the first of his record 8,833 riding victories.
 1995 May 6, 1995 — Sparked by a Kentucky Derby simulcast crowd of 27,710, Golden Gate Fields eclipsed the $7 million plateau in handle for the first time in Northern California history. A total of $7,093,420 is wagered at Golden Gate and its satellite facilities.
 
 1995 November 19, 1995 — Russell Baze wins the third race of the afternoon aboard Royal Boutique by a head. The victory was number 400 on the year, making him the first jockey in history to reach the 400-win plateau four times.
 
 1996 April 13, 1996—George Todaro and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Pike Place Dancer becomes the first filly since 1954 (Miz Clementine) to win the California Derby, defeating ten males over the infield turf course as the 4-5 favorite.
 
 1996 May 1, 1996—Starting a remarkable eight race winning skein, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer equals a Northern California record by saddling five winners on a single card.
  2005     June 2, 2005--Russell Baze records the 9,000th victory of his career when he wins the eighth race aboard favored Queen of the Hunt ($2.80).
  2007     Nov. 7, 2007  --  The opening-day card of the 2007-2008 meeting features the successful debut of Golden Gate Fields’ revolutionary Tapeta racing surface, an all-weather synthetic track designed to make horse racing a safer sport.  Tapeta performed as advertised as Golden Gate Fields was able to conduct its 62-day season without interruption despite a rainy winter.
  2008    Feb. 1, 2008  --  Russell Baze becomes the first jockey in North America to win 10,000 races when he records the landmark victory aboard Two Step Cat in the third race at Golden Gate Fields.  Armando Lage trained Two Step Cat.
  2008   June 22, 2008  --  William E. Morey wins the training title at the 2008 spring meeting and ends Jerry Hollendorfer’s incredible reign as leading trainer, which dated back to 1986 and featured 32 consecutive training crowns at Golden Gate Fields.  Morey earned the championship by saddling 25 winners during the 30-day meet.  Hollendorfer won 23 races and tied for second in the standings with Steve Miyadi.
  2009    April 5, 2009  --  A crowd of 11,462 attends Golden Gate Fields for a Dollar Day Sunday program that also features the first annual Dachshund Derby.  Some 96 weiner dogs competed in eight 30-yard qualifying heats, with the winners meeting in the championship final, which was won by Downtown Beans.