Northern California horse race fair circuit begins

San Francisco Chronicle, CA - Jun 21, 2012

The Northern California summer fair circuit, which opens Thursday in Pleasanton, used to be the poor stepchild to the region's major racing venues - Golden Gate Fields or Bay Meadows before it closed. Not so much anymore.During the circuit's first eight weeks - at the Alameda County, State and Sonoma County fairs - 15 stakes races are scheduled. Golden Gate Fields ran only 11 in its 25-week season that ended Sunday. Purses have been raised as much as $3,000 on the lower end of the class spectrum, so that a majority of them are higher than comparable races at Golden Gate. Still lagging are purses for the higher-class non-stakes races."We're working on our program on three levels," fair circuit racing secretary Tom Doutrich said.