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Prettiest Place to Make a Bet 

Golden Gate Fields

The ponies return to the East Bay -- drum roll, please -- May 11. And when they do, you'd be wise to wander toward the gorgeous locale known as Golden Gate Fields, artfully located at the water's edge. Many midafternoon romantics have paid the $4 parking fee just to sit in the car and admire the jaw-dropping view. At high tide, the rising bay waters make the San Francisco skyline appear as if it's sinking, the tip of the Transamerica Building barely poking through. To the right, the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge towers over the universe. Once inside the facility, bettors in the grandstand stare directly into the shimmering Berkeley Hills while those ponies down below circle the track in a blur. And damn if that $5 trifecta you just missed out on doesn't go down a bit smoother, what with the paradise that surrounds you.

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