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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Racing starts at the county fair

Uploaded: Jun 18, 2014

Alameda County Fair racing officials joined with state horse racing board representatives last week to introduce the Oak Tree Racing Association before the fair opened Wednesday.
The fair board has partnered with the Southern California-based Oak Tree to enhance the 12-day fair racing meet. The Oak Tree folks were introduced at a media event was held in the first-class remodeled director's lounge which sits atop the grandstands. If you receive an invitation from a director to visit that room—don't miss it—it is great. The new lounge is one of several improvements at the grandstands that included doubling the capacity of the trackside terrace along with a new winner's circle and remodeling elsewhere in the grandstand, all to make it more fan friendly.
Jerome Hoban, the fair's CEO, estimated that they had spent about $400,000 on materials alone. That doesn't include labor because virtually all of the work was done in-house by fair maintenance staff. Oak Tree contributed to the capital improvements, but its biggest impact likely will be in the purses. The non-profit association has run meets at Southern California tracks, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita (in the past). It will contribute $150,000 to add to purses.
The purse for a routine race will increase 12-15 percent this year, while the fair will stage six stakes races over its 12-day run, including two that will have $100,000 purses. Those will be the first six-figure purses on the fair circuit since 2002.
It's all designed to draw a better class of horse north to the Pleasanton meet. Better horses draw more bettors which increases the daily betting handle. Oak Tree's agreement guarantees the fair association its average racing revenue over the last five years—it gets a share of the profits once that threshold is crossed.
Looking ahead to the next three weeks, it will be interesting to see how the partnership plays out. Long-time Pleasanton trainer Jeff Bonde attended the media event and shared that the plans look good and are welcome.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

Groucho at the races: Web Link

I luv luv luv horse racing...HOORAY!

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jun 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Don't care for the gambling part, though I'll wager on 1-2 races max just for fun.

But I really love to watch the races. The horses are magnificent.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:48 pm

You really need to put your blog on registered users status only. It works for Tom Cushing. It should work for you. You see, whenever Cushing confronts a position that is articulated more clearly than his own, or that disagrees with him in ways that he's unable to debunk, he just shuts down his site. Why? Because he's a coward, of course. As a blogger/writer he's also a crushing mediocrity who appeals to the lowest denominator of readers -- viz., mostly dumb conservatives who have nothing of substance to offer and hence present no threat to the pseudo-liberal, milquetoast Cushing.

He did this with me several weeks ago because, as he admitted, my comments were upstaging his. Unable to meet my intellectual challenges, he banned me from his blog.

Now he is doing something similar with Frederick. Will having posters register their real names make any difference -- beyond, that is, making themselves visible to Cushing's voyeuristic practices? Of course not. But it will limit the number of posters who reveal Cushing's unfortunate shortcomings.

Posted by Barbara, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

Morris, intellectual superiority is one thing, but outright and blatant crude rudeness is quite another. Try saying things in a way that respects the person you're addressing, as well as the readers. Go ahead and make your welcomed well-reasoned intellectual fact-based arguments; we need them. But do it in a respectful way. I sincerely doubt that anyone will have a problem with that.

We have lost so much of our social fabric; 30 years ago, no one would have believed we could all be so incredibly rude to each other while engaging in public social discourse.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I've read lots of nasty comments from posters. It doesn't bother me. I also don't care if somebody removes a post...tough luck!

It's their blog...they have a choice what they want to allow.

I've been called lots of names and I haven't lost a week...seem to always wake-up rested and ready for brecky! yup...

Posted by Morris, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Barbara using the collective "We." Gosh, how many of you are there?

Our language provides descriptors for modes of thinking, acting, being. The multiple Barbaras apparently is against using words like coward, cowardly, racism, racist, ignorance, because, well, I guess we shouldn't call cowards cowards or racists racists? Or perhaps its too raucous, as in "raucous caucus" -- what a misnomer that! Or maybe the multiple Barbs thinks calling the coward a coward is ill mannered. Of course, holding manners above rigorous dialogue is an old form of conservatism; Western philosophy took us well past such, though not without some bumps along the way, such as the 'well-mannered' conservatives (politely) demanding that Socrates drink hemlock on account of his arguments being superior to their own.

I've been called many things in my life. Always I've attempted to use as an occasion for self reflection. Sometimes one can learn from the charges leveled against oneself by other. This, in fact, is a basic liberal principle, first articulated by the liberal John Stuart Mill in his "On Liberty." The sometimes harsh validity claim by other can and should be used by oneself as an occasion to learn and change; but even if the validity claim is invalid, and shown to be invalid, one still can use it as a way to strengthen or deepen one's own positions. Of course there is a difference between calling someone a coward, based upon the alleged coward's actions, and calling someone 'boy' while in the midst of a dialogue on race and racism. It is the latter, of course, which is ill-mannered, not to mention racist.

Shutting things down in the middle of a dialogue is simply an act of cowardice. It is illiberal, and it benefits no one. No accident, of course, that all the illiberal conservatives jump on the bandwagon in support of the coward.

Posted by WOW, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 21, 2014 at 9:11 am

This sounds more like a personal vendetta than constructive debate or criticism.

Posted by wmshawk, a resident of Carriage Gardens,
on Jun 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Morris is nothing but an old-fashioned "BLOWHARD". Enough said.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

I want to bring this blog back to the original topic of horse racing. I was disappointed California Chrome lost the Belmont Stakes (I didn't bet on him though), but after the race it was discovered he cut his foot coming out of the gate. That poor horse ran the whole race with a bleeding foot. He's really a champion to do that and come in 4th.

However the whole story sounds suspicious. I read that another horse nicked his leg coming out of the gate. We know that horse racing is a dirty business. Horses are killed or abused, and yes, races are occasionally fixed. Is there an investigation into what happened to California Chrome in the Belmont? What happens if they discover the cut was intentionally caused?


Posted by Me too, Morris, a resident of Carlton Oaks,
on Jun 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm

If I thought the collective Barbara or Wow or wmshank had anything to say, I'd ask them to defend their vindictive assaults upon Morris. But I know they're incapable of so doing.

Wmshank's name-calling aside, I wonder what the difference is between a blowhard and an old-fashioned blowhard. Not that wmshank could tell us.

Morris offers something to chew on. The others come across as uneducated hacks.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:55 am

This is so cool Tim, especially for those of us who love horse racing and this local event in particular. Really fun and mesmerizing to watch. I haven't missed the Alameda County Fair in 30 years, love to see all the entrants and realize what real effort it takes to participate in this event. (-And Morris is right about TC...A real so-called journalistic chicken when it comes to chest-pounding his opinions (sigh) Such is life. Every community has one or two!)

Posted by WOW, a resident of Birdland,
on Jun 24, 2014 at 8:02 am

Your are so right Me too. Morris. You and Morris offer much to chew on if you like chewing on insults, hatred and vitriol. Those who profess there superior intellect while insulting others most assuredly lack it.

Posted by Morris, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

Dear "there superior intellect,"

Life must be difficult for you ... not knowing anything, yet always feeling compelled to demonstrate your lack of intellect.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jun 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm

I heard stories of great horse racing here in the Tri Valley back around 1880's or so?

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