BERKELEY (CBS SF/AP) — Golden Gate Fields will resume live horse racing on May 14 after receiving provisional approval Wednesday from public health officials in Alameda County
The track, which straddles the Berkeley-Albany border, temporarily suspended racing on April 2 at the order of county public health officials in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Los Alamitos in Orange County is the only track in California where live racing has been allowed, albeit without fans.
Racing will resume at Golden Gate without spectators. Protocols are still being finalized with county officials and will be released in the coming days, along with the schedule of races.
As of Wednesday, there have been no known cases of COVID-19 at the track, which is owned by The Stronach Group.
“We are appreciative of the cooperation we received from the Alameda County Health officials to protect their citizens while providing us the opportunity to protect our community by continuing live racing in Northern California,” said Aidan Butler, executive director of California racing operations for Stronach.
Golden Gate’s stable area includes over 1,200 horses and 400 workers who care for them daily. Most of the workers live on-site and have been operating under new measures for protection during training, which has been allowed while racing was suspended.
The track has been closed to the public and all but essential personnel since March 12.
Officials at Stronach-owned Santa Anita in Southern California are hoping they receive permission to resume live racing soon.
Last week, Kentucky Derby-winning trainers Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neill joined a rally urging the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to reopen Santa Anita. The Arcadia track has a similar situation to Golden Gate in its stable area, where workers live and care for the horses.
The horse-racing industry has been under the microscope following dozens of horse deaths at both Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita since last year, as well as a federal probe of trainers and veterinarians accused of being in involved in a widespread international scheme to drug horses to make them race faster.