Santa Rosa Unveils $3 Million Turf Course

The Sonoma County Fair at Santa Rosa annexed its lush $3 million turf course Wednesday, opening day at the two-week Northern California fair meeting.

Four-year-old gelding Taco Willy, ridden by Barrington Harvey, won the sixth race, a 1 1/16-mile grass event for $12,500 claiming horses in a time of 1:43 1/5. Gloria Buckridge trains the California-bred son of Walter Willy, who finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Marcutio at odds of 14-1.

Sonoma County Fair officials broke ground on the seven-furlong course, which is approximately 60 feet wide, in April 2004. It is to be used exclusively for the 12-day "Wine Country Racing" meet. The initial running of the $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, is on the grass Saturday.

(Chart, Equibase)