Tanforan Racetrack

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Tanforan Racetrack
TanforanRaceCourse.jpg
Tanforan Racetrack
Location San Bruno, California,
United States
Date opened September 4, 1899
Date closed July 31, 1964 (fire)
Course type Flat for Thoroughbreds
Notable races Tanforan Handicap

Tanforan Racetrack was a thoroughbred horse racing facility in San Bruno, on the San Francisco Peninsula, in California. It was in operation from September 4, 1899 to 1964. The horse racing track and buildings were constructed to serve a clientele from the nearby San Francisco.

The racetrack was destroyed by fire on July 31, 1964.[1] The site is now the location of The Shops at Tanforan shopping center. The mall has a Tanforan Racetrack historical plaque, the Tanforan Assembly Center commemorative garden, and a statue of Seabiscuit.

History[edit]

Tanforan Racetrack historical marker at The Shops at Tanforan.

The facility was named after Toribio Tanforan, the grandson-in-law of Jose Antonio Sanchez, the grantee of the Rancho Buri Buri Mexican land grant. [2] [3]

In addition to horse racing, dog,[citation needed] motorcycle,[citation needed] and auto [4] races were also held at the track during its early years. On January 25-26, 1910, the Tanforan Racetrack served as the site for the Second International Air Meet in America, organized by the Pacific Aero Club and attended by aviation notables Louis Paulhan and John J. Montgomery.

Closed following California's 1911 anti-gambling legislation, it reopened without betting for the 1923 and 1924 seasons through the subsidy of prominent area businessmen led by sugar magnate Adolph B. Spreckels. After 1924, it would be another ten years before a full racing season was held once the ban on parimutuel betting had been lifted. [5]

Hollywood film director Frank Capra filmed scenes for two of his films, Broadway Bill and Riding High, at the racetrack.[6]

World War I and II[edit]

1942 Tanforan Assembly Center barracks.
Tanforan Assembly Center, line to mess hall.

Tanforan was temporarily converted into a United States military training center during World War I.

Tanforan Assembly Center[edit]

In Spring 1942 the Tanforan Park Racetrack became the temporary Tanforan Assembly Center to process approximately 8,000 Bay Area Japanese Americans, U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry with most born in the United States, for forced relocation and internment during WW II. The people were housed in horse stable stalls, on grandstands, or in 170 barracks quickly built in the infield, while awaiting removal to Japanese American Segregation Centers in other parts of the state and country.[7]

Famous race competitors[edit]

Some of thoroughbred racing's most notable owners and trainers competed at Tanforan Racetrack including: owner/breeder James Ben Ali Haggin; owner/trainer Sam Hildreth; and trainer Noble Threewitt. Threewitt set a record when he won with nine consecutive starters at Tanforan in April 1954.[8]

In 1932, the great Australian champion Phar Lap was brought to Tanforan to rest from his long ocean voyage and then conditioned before being shipped in late January to Agua Caliente Racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico to run in the Agua Caliente Handicap.[9]

Over the years, Tanforan Racecourse saw a number of famous horses compete on its track. Among them, future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Seabiscuit was stabled at Tanforan after recovering from an injury where he began training for a comeback. .[10]

In 1948, future U. S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Citation set a new Tanforan track record of 2:02 4/5 for a mile and one quarter in winning the Tanforan Handicap.[11] Two years later his Calumet Farm stablemate and Kentucky Derby winner, Ponder, also won the race. [12]

In 1956, Bobby Brocato won his second straight Tanforan Handicap. That same year, he equaled the Tanforan track record for 8.5 furlongs and set a new track for 9 furlongs.[13]


References[edit]



Coordinates: 37°38′11″N 122°25′04″W / 37.636367°N 122.41779°W / 37.636367; -122.41779