Track urges review of shutdown 

As a state senator was drafting a resolution calling for one man’s resignation over the Bay Meadows closure, another document was being written up, with a much less drastic stance.

On Friday, Bay Meadows Racing Association President Jack Liebau released an open letter to California House Racing Board Chairman Richard Shapiro, with seven points outlying circumstances he says warrant a second look at the issue.

On March 22, Shapiro and three other board members voted to deny Liebau’s request for a waiver on a rule requiring the installation of a synthetic racetrack by the beginning of 2008. Under California racing law, any course that holds more than four consecutive weeks of racing needs to be licensed, and the new track is a requirement for that license.

In the letter, Liebau claims that the track accounts for $22 million in purse money, 47 percent of the total generated in all of Northern California. San Mateo gets approximately $600,000 of that annually in general fund revenues.

"The California Horse Racing Board acted in haste and did not consider all of the ramifications relating to the impact of their decision, and this letter raises all the questions that weren’t considered," Liebau said.

Liebau’s position is shared by at least one racing board member. On Thursday, Vice Chairman John Harris said he didn’t think the votes to deny the waiver were motivated by character flaws or vendettas against Bay Meadows, but rather out of a lack of complete information on the situation.

Shapiro — whose resignation was called for Thursday by State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo — said thatalthough he voted to deny a waiver to the track, he does not want the facility to close. He met with jockeys and horse owners Thursday at Bay Meadows to discuss the possible closure and what could be done to keep it open.

In his letter, Liebau says "Bay Meadows is committed to staying open as long as there is a chance the California racing business can be fixed" and that "Bay Meadows’ closure is not inevitable."

But the owners of the land, Bay Meadows Land Co., are planning to redevelop the site into a mixed-use housing, retail and commercial complex in two years.

Because of that plan, company spokesman Adam Alberti has said repeatedly that they are not interested in investing the $10 million needed to install the track.

Tags: ,

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
Pin It

More by Staff Report

© 2019 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation