Horse Racing

Gonzales Voices Concerns Over Golden Gate Purse Cut

Speaking during the monthly meeting of the California Horse Racing Board Dec. 14, two Northern California horsemen and CHRB vice chairman Oscar Gonzales voiced concerns over a sudden and dramatic purse cut for the upcoming Golden Gate Fields meet that begins Dec. 26.

The Northern California track published online its condition book for the winter/spring meet Dec. 13, revealing an approximate 25% decline in purses after reports surfaced over the weekend of the impending cut. Golden Gate, owned by 1/ST Racing, is scheduled to close permanently June 11. 

Wagering is down in Northern California, resulting in a sizable purse overpayment after past seasons without significant reductions. CHRB executive director Scott Chaney told Gonzales that purses are based on betting estimates, and tracks will typically try to adjust follow-up meets to offset overpayments or underpayments. With Golden Gate ceasing operations after this next meet, this presented different circumstances.

He told Gonzales a purse structure is decided between the Thoroughbred Owners of California and a racetrack, but he said the CHRB could use its influence in granting race days and licenses to racetracks to “exact more fairness, if you will, in these types of things.”

Gonzales said the CHRB should “remain vigilant about the management that comes before us because I believe they are doing things that are detrimental to California racing.” 

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Owner/breeder George Schmitt and trainer Jamey Thomas expressed their dissatisfaction during the public comment period of the meeting. Schmitt claimed an authorized group representing Northern California voted not to accept the 25% cut, but they were overruled.


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