The Cal Expo Race Track history has a little more to it than meets the eye. In an effort to promote California’s farming and industry reputation, the state legislature created the State Agricultural Society. They organized an agricultural exposition in San Francisco in 1854, but because travel was a little hectic and difficult those days, the next annual expos had to be moved around the state. When the expo returned to Sacramento, in 1859, they decided a more permanent site was in order and thus bought Capitol Park, a six-block site that homed the state fair for 50 years.

Since the population was growing at a steady pace, they had to purchase 80 acres barely outside the city limits and held the fair there. Of course, it later had to be expanded by 75 acres, but WWII had the fair suspended and the grounds were occupied by the Army. The grounds were also used around that time by the California Highway Patrol as an unofficial training ground until the current Academy opened in 1976.

Governor Ronald Reagan later opened the new Cal Expo Race Track" site north of downtown Sacramento in 1968, with over 350 acres. A memorial plaza for 9/11 attacks was installed in 2002 and Disneyland Resort later donated the “CALIFORNIA” letters that now greet fairgoers at the entrance.

Now then, in addition to the annual State Fair and many other events, Cal Expo Race Track hosts live thoroughbred racing and live harness racing during the fair (September-May). The one-mile dirt racetrack is only a small part of the all-encompassing world of events at the Cal Expo Race Track.

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Cal Expo Racetrack Facts:

  • Racecourse type: American Thoroughbred & Harness (dirt).
  • Location: Sacramento, California
  • Purse: N/A
  • Venue Capacity: N/A
  • Track length: one mile
  • Important track records: N/A