BERKELEY, Calif.—Sam Spear, a Northern California media icon and sportscaster who promoted thoroughbred racing in the Bay Area for five decades, passed away in October of 2021 at the age of 72. In memory of Spear and his devotion to thoroughbred racing and sports, Golden Gate Fields will run the Sam Spear Memorial annually, beginning this year. The 2022 edition is set to take place on Labor Day Monday, September 5.
Formerly known as the Rolling Green Stakes, the Sam Spear Memorial is a mile and a sixteenth turf race for 3-year-olds and upward. A $50,000 purse is offered. 29 colts and geldings made the nominations list, with official entries for the Sam Spear Memorial and the rest of the Monday card to be drawn this Friday.
Throughout a large portion of his career, Sam Spear held the position of publicity manager at Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows. He hosted “At the Track with Sam Spear,” a popular morning radio show every Sunday, and a daily race replay show that debuted in 1978 and ran through 2018 on KTSF-TV. Spear had strong connections with Bay Area newspapers, radio and TV stations and was a key figure in working with those channels to promote horse racing. He also consulted several notable figures who showed a passion for horse racing. Among them: rapper MC Hammer, Hall of Fame baseball player Joe DiMaggio, and Hall of Fame baseball manager Earl Weaver.
“Sam was an all-around good man,” said Golden Gate Fields Vice President and General Manager David Duggan. “He was an encyclopedia of sports knowledge, very well connected and did a lot for local communities. He was a massive part of Bay Area horse racing for a long time, and he will always be remembered in a very positive light.”
Live racing resumes at Golden Gate Fields this Friday afternoon. A four-day race week is in store, with our traditional Friday through Sunday race programs and the Labor Day Monday Holiday card. First post each race day is 1:45 PM. For more information, please visit goldengatefields.com.
Golden Gate Fields Press Release
Photo by Vassar Photography