Racing board to discuss Bay Meadows track status

Bay Meadows stakeholders will get a chance to discuss the fate of the legendary track with the state horse racing board on May 22.

But after demanding the meeting for almost two months, no one seems to know what to say.

On March 22, the California Horse Racing Board denied a waiver for Bay Meadows track officials that would grant a two-year release from a law requiring that major tracks install synthetic running surfaces to protect horses and jockeys. Without the waiver, Bay Meadows will not be able to obtain a license for any races beyond this year’s winter season, effectively closing the track at least a year early.

Adam Keigwin, spokesman for Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco-San Mateo, said his office is dismayed that the item is only up for discussion.

“Never seen an item just for discussion, there’s usually always possible action,” Keigwin said. “What if the discussion becomes fruitful and they decide they want to do something?”

Yee has been a vocal critic of the board, calling for Chairman Richard Shapiro’s resignation and leading the charge that effectively eliminated the board’s state funding unless they meet with local and state leaders over concerns, including Bay Meadows.

Shapiro has said throughout the past discussions that he would like to see track owners find a way to install the synthetic surfaces and continue racing, in hopes of preservingthe legacy, local funding and jobs that Bay Meadows provides. Twenty-five horses died from injuries sustained at Bay Meadows in the most recent racing season.

“At the present price, estimated to be $8 to $10 million, we can’t install it,” said Bay Meadows President Jack Liebau. “It’s just economically impossible.”

The entire complex — which hosted legends such as Seabiscuit in its 73 years — is slated to be redeveloped by the Bay Meadows Land Company beginning in 2008.

Shapiro said he hopes the discussion topic, which encompasses the status of Bay Meadows and the future of horse-racing dates around Northern California, will reveal some way to compromise and save the track from closure.

“We all know things are up in the air, so it’s a discussion item for the industry to advise the board so we have a viable racing season [in Northern California],” he said.

The California Horse Racing Board meeting is set for May 22 at 1 p.m. in the California Department of Water Resources Auditorium, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento.

jgoldman@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Health care workers treat a Covid-19 patient who needs to be intubated before being put on a ventilator at Providence St. Mary Medical Center during a surge of cases in Apple Valley, Dec. 17, 2020. Confronted with surging infections, California became the first state in the country to mandate coronavirus vaccines or testing for state employees and health-care workers. (Ariana Drehsler/The New York Times)
In California, a mix of support and resistance to new vaccine rules

By Shawn Hubler, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Soumya Karlamangla New York Times SACRAMENTO… Continue reading

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference at Kaiser Permanente facility in Oakland on Monday, July 26, 2021, where he announced a new state requirement for all state employees and health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face regular, frequent testing. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
What to know about new masking guidelines in California

By Jill Cowan New York Times The delta variant is really throwing… Continue reading

Thousands gather in Washington on Aug. 28, 2020, in support of social justice and commemorating the historic March on Washington and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Have a Dream" speech on that date in 1963. Criticism of critical race theory coincided with widespread demonstrations.  (Jason Andrew/The New York Times)
Critical race theory: A brief history

By Jacey Fortin New York Times About a year ago, even as… Continue reading

Most Read