Bay Meadows Racecourse Closes Down
Bay Meadows Racecourse in San Mateo County, opened for the first time in 1934. It is one of the oldest racetracks, and it is rich in history and fond memories for those who have faithfully been attending live horse racing in the past seventy four years. Bay Meadows Racecourse has also welcomed legendary racehorses, such as Cigar, Citation, Silky Sullivan and John Henry to its grounds. In 1938, thousands of spectators came from far and wide, to witness Seabiscuit make history on the track. All these moments of loss and victory, came to an end on Sunday 11 May 2008, with the last day of the final racing season at Bay Meadows Racecourse.
Over the last fifteen years, the future of Bay Meadows had been hanging in the balance, and racing authorities and enthusiasts had been holding out for a miracle that would save this historical racetrack. On Sunday, as Wild Promises crossed the finish line, to win the Mother’s Day Handicap, all punters, supporters and staff knew that it was the end of the season and the end of an era. Even though there will be ten days of racing for the San Mateo County Fair, which takes place from the 6th to the 17th of August 2008 and horses are allowed to remain and train on the racecourse until September, for horse racing fans, Sunday was the official close of Bay Meadows.
And while the faithful racing followers look across the track and remember the days where celebrities such as Mickey Rooney could be seen placing a bet and waiting for their horses to come up, the BMLC has been working on their plans for the eighty three acres of racing land. The grandstand and other buildings at Bay Meadows are set to be demolished in October, to make space for the three phased building project. Once complete, the racecourse will be replaced by approximately one thousands residential units, office complexes, restaurants and retail stores. Any sign of the racecourse will no longer be visible.
The Bay Meadows Racecourse has been a part of many peoples’ lives for many years and even though they will no longer be able to attend live horse racing events here, they will still revisit the racecourse and its buildings through their fond memories and memorable moments spent here. With the massive support shown to the racecourse over the weekend, with thousands of locals coming to bid the track farewell, it is clear that the decision to demolish Bay Meadows weighs heavy on the hearts of those who treasured its presence.