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Horse racing comes to Stockton next week

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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 10:00 pm

San Joaquin County residents aren't used to being able to see horse racing in September, but they will be able to for the first time this year.

The horses will race for nine days beginning Wednesday at the San Joaquin Fairgrounds on Charter Way, also known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Fairgrounds CEO Forrest White said he is busy trying to promote next week's races since the community is used to races being held in conjunction with the San Joaquin Fair in June. They've been racing in June for 20 years. Before that, they've raced 100 years in August, when the fair was held before moving to the June schedule.

But this year, the California Horse Racing Board changed the dates for Stockton for two basic reasons - the recent closure of the Bay Meadows race track in San Mateo, and the need to fill the gap in the calendar between the California State Fair and the Big Fresno Fair in October, White said.

"This year's going to be a struggle," White said. "It's new. People aren't used to it."

Fairgrounds officials are even thinking of telecasting football during the races on the weekends to lure in more fans.

Horse racing in general is facing some challenges, White said. They include:

• Taking place at the fairgrounds with nothing else going on. Previously, it was held in conjunction with going to the fair, where visitors can combine watching the races with carnival rides, concerts, looking at livestock and displays and eating traditional fair food.

• Competing with other forms of gaming, such as the Indian casinos, card rooms like Lodi's Wine Country Casino and Restaurant, and the California Lottery.

• The trend for people to bet on the horses at casinos and now on their personal computer without having to go to the race track.

Horse racing coming to Stockton

Opening day: Wednesday.
Other racing dates: Sept. 5-7, Sept. 10-14.
Time: Daily post time is 12:45 p.m., final race ends at about 5:30 p.m.
Number of races: Eight to 10 per day, sometimes 12 on the weekend.
Admission: $3 per day. Opening day is free, and seniors admitted free Sept. 5 and Sept. 12.
Box seats: Available for purchase, for one day or for the entire nine-day season.
Parking: Free.
Information, call 466-5041.

Source: San Joaquin Fairgrounds

Mitch Slater, who is maintenance and operations director for the Lodi Unified School District and serves on the fair board for the Second Agricultural Association, doesn't like the schedule change.

Racing "keeps the fair live and vibrant," Slater said. "We don't know how many people will show up."

White said that he's a purist when it comes to horse racing - that the best way to enjoy it is in person, watching the horses and participating in the social life at the track.

But younger people who stay at home and play video games also tend to bet on the horses from home, White said.

So the fairgrounds is trying to market the races as something to see in person. Admission most days is only $3, and parking is free. During the fair, admission is $9, and parking costs $5.

"We have to make it fun, make it an outing," he said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 4:01 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    oops typo ! Supposed to read /I'm beginning to

  • posted at 3:59 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    dogs4you You should go out to the races and check it out! The track has to meet all kinds of certain rules and is specially groomed and taken care of for the races.In beginning to see your true colors by your posts also. You'd better stick to your veggies.

  • posted at 3:55 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    T&C As far as eating at the local choke and puke, and what they serve, I`ll leave that up to you since you seem to know what goes into that "thing" your eating. If it`s meals on wheels, I don`t bother. Might be a road kill in that taco your eating.

  • posted at 2:08 am on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    Dogs4, do you think you're eating real chicken, beef or pork in those 25 cent tacos and burritos at your local roach coach? Why do you really think their food is so cheap? LOL

  • posted at 7:57 am on Sun, Aug 31, 2008.


    Pithy Opiner: your a jerk and missed my entire point. It`s against the law to sell horses for human comsumtion. As far as dogs are concerned, I have been to dog races and it should be stopped. Let people that want to bet, bet on each other in that stupid new sport of cage fighting. A dog or horse doesn`t know any better, and from what I have seen those morans in and out of the cage are in the same catagory, they bet allot the money on the one with the most blood, as it seems he will win. To kick a man when he`s down, and you call that a sport. The world has taken a giant step backwards.

  • posted at 7:45 pm on Sat, Aug 30, 2008.


    Well, would you rather they raced dogs like they do in Florida?? If a horse looses it's life in a race, at least you can eat the horse. With a dog you have to discard the carcass. I'll stick to horses. Wish they would let us bet on them from home, tho. Using an off-track bettin acount is cool. Just like in NYC

  • posted at 11:14 am on Sat, Aug 30, 2008.


    With horse racing coming to Stockton, I can only hope the track is in the best shape possable. While horse racing might be the sport of kings, it`s a heart breaker to see a horse`s go down like 8 belles and Barbaro, loosing their lives to please people and allot of money. Run safely o might steed



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