Horse racing returns to the Big Fresno Fair

With the return of the Big Fresno Fair, the horse racing tradition dating back to 1884 is headed back to the Brian I. Tatarian Grandstand on Thursday.

The Big Fresno Fair kicks off Wednesday, and that means horse racing is back.

The races start Thursday and run through Sunday before having a few off days. Racing resumes Thursday, Oct. 10 and will run through the fair’s closing on Oct. 14.


Post time every day is 1:15 p.m.

There are two special stakes races this year with a large purse.

The $100,000 Harris Farms Stake will be on Oct. 5. It’s part of the Golden State Series Cal Breds and will be six furlongs. The race is for three-year-olds and up.

The second special stakes race is the $50,000 Bulldog Handicap on Oct. 13. It’s also for three-year-olds and up, but it’s a little longer of a race, coming in at one mile and one-eighth.

Horse racing started at the Fresno Fair in 1884, just two years after the fair was founded. The first pari-mutuel horse-racing meeting took place in 1941.

With a pause due to World War II, the races have been a constant fixture at the fair since 1948.

The City Race Days returns for the 14th year. The program honors all of the incorporated cities in Fresno County by naming the first race of the day in their honor. City representatives are invited to attend the races and will have an opportunity to take a picture with the winning horse and jockey after the race in the Winner’s Circle.

Here are the City Race dates: 

  • Oct. 3 – Kingsburg
  • Oct. 4 – Fresno
  • Oct. 5 – Reedley and Fowler
  • Oct. 6 – Sanger and Selma
  • Oct. 10 – Clovis
  • Oct. 11 – San Joaquin and Coalinga
  • Oct. 12 – Parlier and Kerman
  • Oct. 13 – Firebaugh and Mendota
  • Oct. 14 – Huron and Orange Cove

The Big Fresno Fair runs from Oct. 2 through Oct. 14. 

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