Horseracing was born twice in the San Francisco Bay area of California—both times in the same location. The second occasion, in 1939, was when area voters adopted pari-mutuel betting. This allowed the 70-year-old track—first created by Spanish dons—to be reborn as a modern horseracing track. Pleasanton has often been referred to as the birthplace of horseracing in California.
These days the Pleasanton track offers live horseracing as a part of the State Fair of California circuit. Horses gallop around the oval track during the Alameda County Fair, which typically lasts from the middle of June through the first week of July. The Pleasanton meet boasts a wide array of races. Quarter Horses, Arabians, and Thoroughbreds have the opportunity to break through the gate.
Among the notable races held annually at Pleasanton are the California Wine Stakes, Livermore Valley Wine Stakes, Alameda County Fillies and Mares, Alamedan Handicap, Whiting Memorial Handicap, Gonzalez Memorial Stakes, and Nevin Alameda County Overnight Stakes.
The Alameda County Fairgrounds is just off Interstate 680 and south of I-580. The fair features a plethora of educational events, concerts, musical groups, entertainers, and special attractions for guests of all ages. Many competitive events, especially for young people, are staged each year. Agricultural competitions, long a mainstay of county and state fairs, are featured.
Pleasanton's track continues to do its part to assure the ongoing quality of horseracing. Faced with inclement weather in the eastern US, horse trainers often ship their horses to Pleasanton, where they can train through the winter.