Tracing its history back to 1854, the state of California has continuously held horseraces as part of its annual state fair. Since 1861, the fair has been held in the state capitol and the races are at the Sacramento Racetrack. The highlight of the races is the $50,000 Governor's Handicap. The Governor's Handicap race is six furlongs (3/4 of a mile) and is open to all horses who are at least three years old. The winner's purse is $30,000.
Cal Expo is the name of the fairgrounds complex, where the fair is held each year for 17 days from mid-July to early August. The fair itself features many educational events, harking back to its origins as an exposition of agriculture and farm machinery. Over the years, industrial machines and later tech developments came to be featured. The fair also provides fireworks, concerts, a carnival midway, various competitions, and animal exhibits.
While the oval dirt racetrack was intended for horseracing, over the years, it has also been used for auto and motorcycle racing. The long-standing track, constructed in 1906, was replaced by the current track in 1970.
In addition to the Sacramento Racetrack, fairground horseraces are held at three other public fair locations in the state. From mid-June through July, races are held at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. Races at the Humboldt County Fair are held in Ferndale in mid-September. From the second through the third week of October, races are held in Fresno at the Big Fresno Fair. In addition to all the fair activities, OTB (off-track betting) is also available at each venue.