Equestrian Excursion: Golden Gate Fields

BY JESS CLAWSON

I love Thoroughbreds. They are definitely my breed of choice for my personal riding and showing. While I don’t have a lot of direct experience with the racing industry, I certainly appreciate it because it produces the horses that I love so much. Enter Golden Gate Fields: a racing venue in on the shore of the San Francisco Bay. What could be better?

Golden Gate Fields, opened in 1941, remains the only major thoroughbred race track in Northern California since Bay Meadows closed in 2008. The venue made history in 2016 when it hired Angela Hermann to be the track announcer–the first full time track announcer at a race track in the US since 1960.

The track has also seen some of the greatest horses in racing history run, including Citation, Noor, John Henry, Silky Sullivan, and Lost in the Fog.

Golden Gate hosts several graded stakes, including the El Camino Real, the San Francisco Mile Stakes, the Berkeley Handicap, and the All American Stakes, among others. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer is currently stabled there, so the number of drool-worthy baby thoroughbreds is high.

If you want to go watch the races, you have several spectating options. You can sit in the grandstands and be closer to the track; the clubhouse with its indoor/outdoor options; or the Turf Club. Elegant, yet casual, dining and panoramic views of the track and the Bay? Yes please, sign me up!

The beautiful scenery and high quality of horses at Golden Gate Fields are enough to make me want to book a plane ticket and get out of this cold Virginia weather. Maybe even bring back a cute thoroughbred or two as a souvenir! I guess I better quit daydreaming and go ride my horse, but if you live nearby or are traveling to the Bay Area — stop by Golden Gate Fields and send me Instagram stories of your day!


About the Author: Jess is a professional historian and educator who lives in northwestern Virginia. They completed their undergraduate degree in English at William & Mary, and did their masters and doctoral work at the University of Florida. Jess is an event rider with a passion for thoroughbreds, and has extensive experience in community organizing around queer identities, racial marginalization, and labor.
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