Though Golden Gate Fields management said it disagreed with jockeys’ assessment of the turf course condition, two races on the June 12 closing-day card were moved from grass to the Tapeta surface after riders refused to ride the 10th and 12th races, two of the last three races in the Golden Pick 6 sequence.
The jackpot bet requires that there be one single winning ticket. Because it was closing day, there was a mandatory payout and the total pool swelled to well over $5 million.
When the races were moved from grass to the Tapeta surface, the two off-the-turf races became "all" events for the purposes of the Golden Pick 6. So each 20-cent ticket with the most winners returned only $146.16.
“We are truly sorry and we understand that this is a very disappointing outcome for our horseplayers and fans that participated so enthusiastically here on closing day,” Joe Morris, senior vice president of West Coast operations for The Stronach Group, said in a release. “We did not agree the turf course was unsafe and we were disappointed the jockeys didn’t communicate with us earlier. However, after the jockeys informed us about their concerns, we had no choice but to make the surface change to our main track.
"The safety of our athletes, both human and equine, is always our top priority.”
The surface switch necessitated that both races be considered “no contest,” which created the “all” payout for Golden PIck 6 wagering purposes. The net pool and carryover were paid as a single-price pool to tickets with the most winners in accordance with California Horse Racing Board regulations.