Overshadowed by its southern cousin and its six stakes races – including three Grade 1s – Golden Gate Fields also opens its Winter/Spring Meet on Sunday. But instead of three Grade 1s – the marquee events on Santa Anita Park’s opening day — the Northern California track turns out two allowances as its featured races.
For horseplayers, however, the story for Golden Gate Fields revolves around the wagers shared with its bigger cousin. Golden Gate and Santa Anita offer the Golden Hour Double and Golden Hour Pick Four wagers. The bets are offered on days the two tracks run simultaneously.
The Golden Hour Pick Four combines the last two races at Santa Anita and the last two races at Golden Gate. That bet comes with a 15% takeout and a $1 minimum. The Golden Hour Double encompasses the final races at both tracks. It features a 15% takeout and a $5 minimum.
That Golden Gate doesn’t offer a Grade 1 doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer intriguing races during the longest of its three annual meets. The Winter/Spring Meet, which runs from Sunday through June 14, 2022, features 13 stakes races. Prominent among those is the $100,000 Listed El Camino Real Derby, Golden Gate’s stop on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Rombauer put the El Camino Real on the national stage
This season’s El Camino Real runs on Feb. 12, 2022, offering 10-4-2-1 Derby qualifying points to its top four finishers. It also offers a berth in the Preakness Stakes to its winner, which 2021 El Camino Real champion Rombauer parlayed into a Preakness victory.
The El Camino Real runs 1 1/8 miles on Golden Gate’s Tapeta synthetic surface. It’s often a sidelight for West Coast B-listers on the Derby trail.
Golden Gate goes Gold in April
The other signature weekend on Golden Gate’s schedule is Gold Rush Weekend, which runs the week before the Derby on Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1. That weekend features eight stakes races over the two days, including six on Saturday.
First among equals there is the $250,000 Grade 3 San Francisco Mile, which sends its 3-year-old and up field a mile on the turf.