About the California Authority of Racing Fairs
THE HISTORY OF HORSE RACING AT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FAIRS
California fairs are the very heart of horse racing. Since the early days of exploration and settlement, people have come together at certain times of the year to enjoy the festival of a season, the anniversary of a place, or the celebration of a special event. When people came together for these occasions, they came by horseback. They came to eat, drink, visit, look around, play, have a little fun... and to see who had the fastest horse. This is the historical legacy of the fairs of California and this is how we still race our horses and where we still have fun.
Horse racing and fairs share a particularly special partnership. When the horse racing industry we know today was established in 1933, the stated purpose of the racing law which created it was the "encouragement of agriculture and breeding of horses." Wagering of money on horse races in California had been outlawed since 1909 and the return to "legalized gambling" was made possible by a statewide initiative which was only passed after three attempts. The successful version of racing legislation included a commitment for the continuous funding of the fairs of California with an annual allotment of racing revenues to be used for health, safety and maintenance projects.