The 2012-2013 winter/spring meet at Golden Gate Fields, featuring 101 days of Thoroughbred racing in Northern California, opens Dec. 26 with a nine-race program.
Post time for the opener is 12:15 p.m. (PST).
The winter/spring season runs through June 16 and will feature 11 stakes races, including the $100,000 California Derby Jan. 12, the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) Feb. 16, the $100,000 San Francisco Mile (gr. IIIT) April 27, and the $100,000 All American Stakes (gr. III) May 27, Memorial Day.
The California Derby is a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that serves as a steppingstone to the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby, Northern California’s official Kentucky Derby prep.
The El Camino Real Derby is part of the new “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” a 36-race series that will award points to the top four finishers in each race. The top 20 point earners nominated to the Triple Crown will earn a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 4 at Churchill Downs. Point distribution in the El Camino Real Derby will be as follows: 10 points for first place, four for second, two for third, and one for fourth.
The San Francisco Mile, for 3-year-olds and up, is the Bay Area’s top race for turf milers. The All American, also for 3-year-olds and up, will be run at 1 1/16 miles on Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic Tapeta racing surface.
The stakes schedule features two other six-figure races—the $100,000 Campanile, a one-mile turf race for California-bred 3-year-old fillies June 1, and the $100,000 Silky Sullivan, a one-mile grass race for California-bred 3-year-olds June 9.
The stakes slate is rounded out by the following $50,000-added events: California Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies Feb. 9; Albany, a six-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and up Feb. 18 (Presidents’ Day); Camilla Urso, a six-furlong test for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, March 9; Golden Poppy, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, April 7; and the Lost in the Fog, a five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds on June 15.
Every Sunday throughout the meeting will be Dollar Day, with Golden Gate Fields offering $1 general parking, $1 general admission, $1 hot dogs, and $1 beer and soda.
The winter/spring season gets off to a flying start with six racing programs in seven days. After Wednesday’s opening-day program, Golden Gate Fields will be dark Thursday, Dec. 27, and then conduct racing Dec. 28 through Jan. 1.