Their flanks flecked with sweat, muscles rippling in their necks, and nostrils flaring, the thoroughbreds at Golden Gate Fields hurtle around a 1-mile oval. Crouched in the saddle, the jockeys feel the eyes of up to 14,750 audience members on their silk-clad backs as they strain to reach the finish line. In addition to its main mile-long track, the 140-acre racing complex has a 9/10-mile lakeside turf course, giving guests plenty of races to wager on. After the first starting pistol fires, watchers can fuel their cheering with polish sausage from the Horseman’s Circle, housemade pepperoni from Tastes of Italy, and steaks from Apron Barbeque.
Even fancier food awaits rumbling stomachs at the Turf Club—the crab cakes and steak prepared by Executive Chef Bryan Taylor aren’t the only draw. Club guests can enjoy an unparalleled live view of both tracks, the bay, and the Berkeley hills or watch the steeds on the private viewing screens that grace each table. In addition to the private screens, more than 80 flat screens, a jumbo screen, and regular monitors show horses hitting breakneck paces, and both live tellers and automatic wagering machines stand ready to take bets on which horse has the biggest shoe size. Leather furnishings, Tiffany-style lights, and gallery displays of equine-themed Hermès and Gucci scarves create a sophisticated atmosphere that reminds guests of the illustrious history of the track, which dates back to 1941.