San Francisco's Golden Gate Fields close its doors ending a 80-plus year run of horse racing

Pick Pony |June 10, 2024, 1:12 p.m.

Golden Gate Fields racetrack closed its doors for good, ending 80-plus years of horse racing at 5:37 p.m. on Sunday.

The final day saw eight races, about 50 horses, and thousands of people who came to pay their respects to the venue's past.

"We're closing after 83 years. We'll miss everyone," said David Duggan, the racetrack's vice president and general manager.

According to Duggan, horse racing's popularity and business viability are on the decline. Online betting has resulted in fewer attendees.

"Once upon a time, we had thousands of visitors. Dollar days were a big hit. But post-pandemic, it's been hard to revive that interest," he said.

On the last day, thousands came. Many stood in long lines, eager to get in. Some celebrated the closure, pointing out it would mean the end of horse deaths at the track.

The California Horse Racing Board reported 18 horse deaths at the facility since the announcement of its closure last year.

The 140-acre venue, straddling the cities of Albany and Berkeley, offers panoramic views of the bay. Although there are discussions about what will happen to this valuable property, no concrete plans have been made yet. The prevailing thought is that it will be transformed into a combination of park space and housing.