Golden Gate had its first race on its infield turf course on February 22, 1972. April 11, 1974 saw the first $2 million day in Northern California.
California Derby Day March 5, 1977 had a modern day on-track attendance record for the Bay Area set as 26,108 fans turned out to see riding sensation, Steve Cauthen, make his local debut aboard Make Amends. May 6, 1984 saw nine-year-old John Henry, moving toward a second Horse of the Year title, carrie Chris McCarron to a course record win in the Golden Gate Handicap, defeating Silveyville.
In May of 1990 the $6 million plateau was reached and a record 34,976 fans show up. In 1992 Russell Baze set a record for most victories on a single card when he rode 7 winners in 9 mounts. Baze set the record for most wins a meet with 178 wins. In 1995 Baze continued shattering records as he became only the 23rd rider in history to win 4,000 races and 10 years later broke Bill Shoemaker’s all time record.
Major Races: $300,000 San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile, April 25; $200,000 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap, May 8; $500,000 Golden Gate Handicap, June 19; $100,000 Forty-Niner Handicap, November 26