Bay Meadows 'Holiday Meet' Begins Monday

Bay Meadows opens its new 31-day "Holiday Meet" on Monday.

The short stand, which resulted as part of a dates swap in 2006 with Golden Gate Fields, runs through Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5. The usual post time is 12:45 p.m.

The meet will feature eight stakes races, including Northern California's premiere Triple Crown prep race, the $250,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) on Jan. 29.

The 24-year-old El Camino Real Derby is a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds. Run in March the previous nine years, the race returns to a January date this season.

"The new meet gave us the opportunity to place the El Camino Real Derby in the same place on the calendar where it historically proved to be successful," said Jack Liebau, president of Bay Meadows. "It's in a place on the schedule where horses went on to do well in the Triple Crown. Being run in January, it's one of the first two-turn races for 3-year-olds. In the past, trainers like Wayne Lukas (winner of a record 13 Triple Crown races) would use it. We've also raised the purse from $200,000 to $250,000. I think it will definitely be one of the highlights of the meet."

Stakes racing will get started immediately as Bay Meadows has scheduled the $75,000 Holiday Turf Handicap for opening day. A 1 1/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds and up, the Holiday Turf Handicap has attracted 17 nominees, including multiple stakes-winners Adreamisborn and Desert Boom.

Seniors (62 and older) receive free grandstand admission to Bay Meadows every Thursday as part of the "Senior Thursdays" promotion, which also offers seniors half-price admission ($3) to the clubhouse. Thursday racing programs also feature a $5 spaghetti feed, which is available to all fans.

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