About the California Authority of Racing Fairs


In the same way that our annual fairs are an opportunity for the public to exchange goods and to learn from the ideas and experience of others, the people who organize and manage the fairs do the same thing through the Western Fairs Association. The horse racing segment of the fairs is such a big business with its own special interests that the racing fairs have always formed a special cadre.

In 1985, ten fair racing associations embarked upon a unique opportunity offered by law and formed a single business entity known as a "joint powers authority," for the purpose of "conducting horse racing and parimutuel wagering" at fair facilities. The California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF) was born.

In 1986, this business group pioneered satellite wagering in California, and it soon expanded to twenty-three members offering some form of parimutuel wagering activity. Directed by an elected Board of Directors and supported by dues and its own revenue generating operations, CARF supports and represents over one-hundred days of live racing events annually with an attendance of 1.1 million patrons and a handle of over $245 million (1996). The "summer fair racing circuit" (see racing calendar) ranks within the top 1/3 of North American race tracks. Collectively, the satellite wagering membership of CARF is the largest major "off-track" wagering network in the United States, with an annual attendance of 2.5 million patrons, who wagered more than $664 million in 1995.

From Ferndale to Del Mar, this partnership of CARF forms a unique and vital element in the horse racing industry, which generates continuous funding for fairs. At its heart and soul exists the resolve to "encournge agriculture and the breeding of horses."

The hoofbeats move faster and fun becomes better at the California Fairs.