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Golden Gate Fields to close permanently; San Luis Rey to expand

Stronach Group to move horses from the Bay Area to San Luis Rey

BONSALL - The Stronach Group is closing its Golden Gate Fields racetrack in the Bay Area at the end of the 2023 meet and transferring its horses to Southern California, resulting in increased activity at San Luis Rey Downs, a private training track the company owns in Bonsall, officials said today.

The changes will also add to the racing calendar at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

At the conclusion of the Golden Gate Fields meet, the company will focus on ``seamlessly transitioning horses from Northern California to Southern California with the goal of increasing field sizes and adding another day of racing to the weekly racing calendar at Santa Anita Park, come January 2024,'' according to The Stronach Group.

``This consolidation will provide expanded content opportunities, wagering prospects and will serve to further elevate the overall customer experience at Santa Anita Park,'' a company statement said.

``The Stronach Group remains steadfastly committed to racing in California,'' company Chairwoman, CEO and President Belinda Stronach said in a statement Sunday. ``We believe that the future success of racing depends on a business model that encourages investment in Southern California, one of North America's premier racing circuits.

``Focusing on Santa Anita Park and San Luis Rey Downs as state-of-the-art racing and training facilities that offer enhanced program quality, increased race days, expanded wagering opportunities, and premier hospitality and entertainment experiences is vital to ensuring that California racing can continue to compete and thrive on a national level.''

Company officials said they will work in cooperation with industry participants including the California Horse Racing Board, Thoroughbred Owners of California, California Thoroughbred Trainers, and Del Mar and Los Alamitos racetracks to develop a plan to relocate horses and employees to Southern California.

``We recognize that the decision will have profound effects on our valued employees as well as the owners, trainers, jockeys and stable personnel at Golden Gate Fields. The Stronach Group is committed to honoring labor obligations and developing a meaningful transition plan,'' Belinda Stronach said.

``Golden Gate Fields has been racing nine months out of the year in Northern California,'' CHRB Executive Director Scott Chaney said Sunday. ``I think it is fair to say that race-date allocations will take on a new meaning when the Board opens discussions in August for 2024 race dates. I am acutely aware of the human impact of the closure -- be they CHRB employees, CHRB contractors, licensees, and, of course, Golden Gate employees -- and I will be working hard to ameliorate any negative consequences and to create job and role


CHRB Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales, who chairs the CHRB Race Dates Committee, said he hoped the upcoming CHRB meeting on Aug. 17 and Race Dates Committee meeting on Aug. 16 -- both in Del Mar -- will ``be an opportunity to share more information with the public.''

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