New documentary goes behind scenes of Bay Meadows 

Jon Rubin directed and produced “The Last Train from Bay Meadows,” which portrays the history of the longest continually operated thoroughbred racetrack in California. The San Mateo facility closed in 2008. The San Mateo County Historical Association and KM2 Communications will present a premiere Thursday.

Why was the documentary made? The track was closing down after nearly 75 years of operation, and after many efforts to keep it open failed. With the help of the San Mateo County History Museum, we tried to get ... footage of the day-to-day life of the track.

What perspective is it filmed from? We interviewed as many people as possible, including jockeys, the people who ran the barns, ticket sellers, veterinarians and newspaper reporters who wrote about Bay Meadows. We discovered that there’s a very rich and valuable tradition disappearing.

What challenges did you come across in making this? Trying to get everything in and learn enough to do it justice.

What are the highlights of the documentary? A variety of amazing horses and jockeys, including Seabiscuit and Citation. The relationships between the horses and people is very important and valuable. It may not be immediately apparent, but the care and love for the horses was very deep.

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Laura Colgan

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