Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dollar Day at Golden Gate Fields

     American Pharoah reignited public interest in horse racing last year when he became the first winner of the Triple Crown since 1978 and the first ever to win America's "Grand Slam." Right now excitement is high as the last leg (Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby, and Exaggerator won the Preakness) of the current Triple Crown draws near.

     Located on the Albany/Berkeley border, Golden Gate Fields is a beautiful place for beginning and experienced race enthusiasts to get into the action, and with GGF's Dollar Day Sundays during the winter and spring, it's one of the most affordable weekend activities in the Bay Area (depending on your bet). With its coveted spot next to the San Francisco Bay, GGF is truly golden with its excellent views, proximity to the Berkeley Marina, and somewhat easy access from I-80. There's also plenty of parking, and on Dollar Day, it only costs--you guessed it--$1. Admission and programs are only $1 as well, as are hot dogs, soda, and beer. I mean, really, can a Sunday get better?

     The regular gate opens at 10 a.m., and you're instructed to use the Buchanan Street entrance for Dollar Day. Normal posting time is 1:45, but GGF's website will list special post times. If you're following the current Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes (the final leg) takes place on Saturday (in New York, so televised), June 11, and the post time is 11:45 a.m. Mind you, admission on Saturday is $6.

     The last time I went to Dollar Day was with my dad and sister. We won $5 betting on Hunted Guy to win, and we pretty much swaggered out of the joint with our big winnings. Hey, on Dollar Day, $5 is BIG. The hot dogs and beer were delicious, the live and televised races were exciting, and the track was a beauty.

     We arrived early to check out the program and horses and beat the crowd, but even closer to post time, the crowds weren't bad, and there was plenty of parking left. This is definitely a lower stress Bay Area event, though things can heat up around big races. If you want to test your luck, June 5th and 12th are the last two Dollar Days of the spring, so don't dawdle. Driving is the easiest way to get to the track, though you can also bike there from University in Berkeley on the Frontage Road bike path.

     For the sports lover, the horse lover, and any Bay Area bucket-list checker, GGF's Dollar Day is an affordable Bay Area Miss-Me-Not.

 Through the gates of Golden Gate Fields

 Don't forget your tokens for $1 food and drinks...

Bring on those hot dogs!

And the bets!

 View of the track...

 View from inside...