Big Fresno Fair Horseracing
The Big Fresno Fair is the fifth largest fair in the State of California. It boasts of an average daily attendance of 45,000 during its yearly October run. More than 550,000 Californians visit the Big Fresno Fair each year, making it the largest and longest running special event in the Central Valley.
One of the events held at the Big Fresno Fair is horseracing. The Fair holds it on a one-mile track that features thoroughbred, quarter horse, appaloosa, Arabian, and mule racing.
The venue of live horseracing is the Brian I. Tatarian Grandstand. It has a capacity of 5,125 persons.
Funding for the Fair and the fairgrounds is sustained by a licensing fee on wagers placed on horseracing. Pari-mutuel wagering on horseracing in California was allowed through a constitutional amendment in 1933, with a portion of the revenues designated to support the network of California fairs.
Big Fresno Fair Track Facts
- Main Track: One mile, oval
- Distance from last turn to finish line: 979 feet
History of Big Fresno Fair
1882 - A group of prominent Fresno citizens formed the Fresno Fairgrounds Association. They spearheaded the establishment of the Fresno Fair to showcase the quality and variety of the area's agricultural and livestock products.
1884 - The first fair was held during the week of October 7. It consisted of a horseracing meet for trotters, and livestock and produce exhibits. Confidence, a three year old race horse was favored to win the opening day handicap, where a purse of $100 went to the winner. Many of Fresno's prominent families were in the grandstand, but some preferred to view the proceedings from their carriages parked in the infield.
1920-1931 - Fresno Chamber of Commerce managed the Fair.
Since early 1930s - The Big Fresno Fair adopted a "one-pay-gate". This policy was so successful that soon most fairs throughout the nation adopted it.
1942 to 1947 - The Fairgrounds became a temporary holding facility for Japanese Americans interned by the U.S. Government, and later became a military base for processing new recruits.
1948 to present - The Fair was reborn and continued to grow over the next quarter-century and today ranks as one of the largest fairs in the Golden State. Located in what is now the world's agricultural capital.
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