Offtrack Betting California

Updated April 9, 2024

The Golden State is home to over a tenth of the entire American population and one of the nation’s richest horse racing states. Offtrack betting California is of course huge too. There are over half-a-dozen prominent race tracks and even more notable races throughout California. And despite some bumpy roads, horse racing is firmly established and off-track betting draws in from the different crowds both within and outside of the state. 

We will be covering the major topics to get you started on offtrack betting in California:

Best OTB California betting sites

BetNow has Great Rebates

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Home to one of the biggest betting market selections in the industry, Bet365 is a household name for mainly this reason


Get rewarded up to $200 in bet credits with Bet365 when you follow the terms and conditions, including making a deposit of equal or greater value

Even if you aren’t the betting type, you’ve probably seen or heard of this green book; Bet365 is world-renowned and offers topnotch service in every major aspect: betting markets, betting odds, customer service, and user interface. It should be part of your sportsbook roster.


BetOnline has OTB California Down


BetOnline offers plenty of horse racing selection from across the globe in different categories; the odds are always competitive and available all the time


A deposit bonus and refer-a-friend bonus are available as well as the racebook-exclusive rebate bonus and risk-free betting refund for new players

This is the perfect racebook for both new players and casual bettors; but even seasoned players will enjoy the constant supply of horse racing markets with delectable odds. BetOnline is a winner in the racebook market and should be a part of your lineup.

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Is off-track betting legal in California?

With its rich history of horse racing, offtrack betting became legal in California in the late 80’s. The history of California horse racing runs through the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB). Established in 1933, it is an independent agency within the state to authorize and regulate horse racing and any betting associated with it.

The CHRB has seven members all appointed by the California governor. Through this board, off track betting was made possible.

Horse race betting blew up the moment this happened as all the major tracks within the state began taking legal wagers including the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton, Bay Meadows, and Santa Anita just to name a few.

Since this year, the state has continued to support horse race betting and only World War II has caused a disruption. Most of the betting action centers on thoroughbred racing.

Although in recent years, horse racing has taken a hit in popularity and many tracks including the Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park have closed down. Add the backlash from animal rights activists and horse racing hasn’t been as hot as it used to be. OTB California remains popular.

Still, plenty of Californians and out-of-state fans remain enthused with horse racing and off track betting allows them to splurge on the ponies.

OTB California schedule

There are a handful of notable races for offtrack betting California, but they mostly boil down to these four: the Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Handicap, Pacific Classic Stakes, and the Champion of Champions. 

The Santa Anita Derby takes place around April and has been around since 1935. It is ran at a distance of 1 1/8 miles (9 furlongs) on a left-handed dirt track. Three-year-old Grade 1 thoroughbreds at 122 lbs. (55.3 kg) compete for a share of the $400,000 purse.

The Santa Anita Handicap, in contrast, happens around March at the same Santa Anita Park. It is a longer race at 1 ¼ miles (10 furlongs) and is contested between four-year-olds or older thoroughbreds. The total purse is $600,000.

The Pacific Classic Takes happens around August at the Del Mar Racetrack, a left-handed dirt track. It is as long as the Santa Anita Handicap at 1 ¼ miles (10 furlongs), but is between three-year-old or older thoroughbreds. $1,000,000 is the guaranteed purse.

Last but certainly not least, the Champion of Champions is a stakes race at the Los Alamitos Race Course. This is a short race at only ¼ mile (44 yards) on a straight dirt track between all the champions from eight various races across the United States. The total purse is $750,000.

California Horse Racing Tracks

Like the handful of notable races, there are a few prominent racetracks in California. Despite the closure of the Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park, California still sports a lineup that includes: Santa Anita Park, Del Mar Fairgrounds, Los Alamitos, Golden Gate Fields, and the Pleasanton Fairgrounds.

The Santa Anita Park is arguably the state’s most prestigious track and its biggest. It is home to both the Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Handicap, two of California’s biggest races.

It also hosted the Breeders’ Cup as many as ten times.

The Del Mar Racetrack is located within the multi-purposed Del Mar Fairgrounds, which also has an arena, exhibit facilities, and a golf center. The racetrack, also known as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, is the second-largest in the state and is home to races like the Pacific Classic, Eddie Read Stakes, and Del Mar Oaks.

Los Alamitos Race Course is Cypress, California’s main track and is home to the Champion of Champions among other notable races. It opened in 1951 and is renowned for holding four quarter horse stakes races with purses over $1 million.

Golden Gate Fields is located on the border of Albany and Berkeley and opened in 1941. It is the most prominent racetrack in Northern California with the closure of the Bay Meadows. It hosts the San Francisco Mile Stakes and Golden Gate Derby.


California Off-Track Betting at Santa Anita

Santa Anita, California’s premier racetrack first opened in 1934, making it one of the oldest tracks still around. The main races to note here by order are the Sunshine Millions in January, the Handicap in March, and the Derby in April.

The Derby is the West Coast version of the Kentucky Derby and is an official part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Since its inception, ten Santa Anita Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.

Most notably, Triple Crown winners Affirmed in 1978 and Justify in 2013 both won the Santa Anita Derby.

There are usually prep races at the park leading to the Santa Anita Derby. These include the San Rafael Stakes, San Miguel Stakes, Sham Stakes, San Vicent Stakes, San Pedro Stakes, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, and the San Felip Stakes. The Sham, Robert Lewis, and San Felipe are also part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

The Santa Anita Handicap, the longer of the two races, was first held in 1935 like the Derby. The legendary Seabiscuit won this race in 1940 although it is Game on Dude who holds the record with 3 wins.

Among jockeys, Gary Stevens has won the most Sanita Anita Derbies with 9 while Bill Shoemaker captured 11 Santa Anita Handicaps.

Offtrack Betting California at Los Alamitos

The Los Alamitos Race Course has a quirky distinction of having a postal address in Los Alamitos yet being officially in Cypress, California. It is the premier four quarter horse stakes racetrack in the state and holds purses over $1 million including the Champion of Champions.

Some of the top races to keep track of here are the Great Lady M. Stakes and Los Alamitos Derby ran in July, the Los Alamitos Futurity, Great Lady M. Stakes, and Bayakoa Stakes in December, and the Champion of Champions.

The Champion of Champions, a quarter-mile race holds a purse of $750,000 and pits the different champions of the following races: the Los Alamitos Winter Championship, Remington Park Championship, Vessels Maturity, All American Derby, Mildred Vessels Memorial, Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship, Los Alamitos Super Derby, and the Bank of America Challenge Championship.

Refrigerator, from 1992 to 1994, holds the record for most wins by a horse with three. Two jockeys, Jerry Nicodemus and Bruce Pilkenton have both won the race four times and are tied for the record.

But the biggest star of Los Alamitos is the iconic Go Man Go, the three-time World Champion Quarter Running Horse. His popularity, helped by his wild temperament, usually led to the course’s golden years where the stands would be filled. Go Man Go was the Man o’War of Quarter Horse racing and took its prominence to new heights.

OTB California at Del Mar

The Del Mar Racetrack was built in 1936 on the behest of the Thoroughbred Club led by founding member Bing Crosby. The racetrack holds many notable races including the Pacific Classic Stakes, Eddie Read Stakes, Del Mar Oaks, and Bing Crosby Stakes, all grade I races.

The Pacific Classic Stakes, now also known as the TVG Pacific Classic, has a purse of up to $1,000,000 million making it one of the richest horse races in America. It was first run in 1991 and is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge (since 2008).

Being relatively young, a pair of horses have won the race twice each: Tinners Way from 1994 to 1995, Skimming from 2000 to 2001, and Richard’s Kid from 2009 to 2010. Two jockeys, Garrett K. Gomez and Mike E. Smith have won four races apiece.

The track is also notable for its innovative renovations. In early 2007, the racetrack became the first in California to install a Polytrack brand surface although they later returned to a dirt track. The track also features a tan stucco grandstand found in the Pacific Ocean. 

Locations for Offtrack Betting California

Shasta District Fair

1890 Briggs Street

Anderson, CA 96007

Phone: (530) 378-6789

Humboldt County Fair

1250 Fifth Street

Ferndale, CA 95536

Phone: (707) 786-9511

Sonoma County Fair

1350 Bennett Valley Road

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Phone: (707) 545-4200

The Solano Race Place

900 Fairgrounds Drive

Vallejo, CA 94589

Phone: (707) 551-2030

California State Fair

1600 Exposition Boulevard

Sacramento,CA 95815

Phone: (877) 225-3976

San Joaquin County Fair

1658 S Airport Way

Stockton, CA 95206

Phone: (209) 466-5041

San Mateo Jockey Club

2495 South Delaware Street

San Mateo, CA 94403

Phone: (650) 574-6063

Golden Gate Fields

1100 Eastshore Highway

Berkeley, CA 94710

Phone: (510) 559-7300

Alameda County Fair

4501 Pleasanton Avenue

Pleasanton, CA 94566

Phone: (925) 426-7600

Monterey County Fair

2004 Fair Road

Monterey, CA 93940

Phone: (831) 372-5863

StanCoFair Turf Room

900 North Broadway

Turlock, CA 95380

Phone: (209) 634-2870

The Big Fresno Fair

1121 S Chance Avenue

Fresno, CA 93702

Phone: (559) 650-3247

Tulare County Fair

215 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue

Tulare, CA 93274

Phone: (559) 686-4707

Original Roadhouse Grill

1423 South Bradley Road

Santa Maria, CA 93454

Phone: (805) 614-0586

Kern County Fair

1142 South P Street

Bakersfield, CA 93307

Phone: (661) 833-4929

Antelope Valley Fair Turf Room

2551 West Avenue H

Lancaster, CA 93536

Phone: (661) 206-0404

The Derby Club

10 West Harbor Boulevard

Ventura, CA 93001

Phone: (805) 653-2533

San Bernardino County Fair

14800 Seventh Street

Victorville, CA 92395

Phone: (760) 951-7223

The National Orange Show Events Center

689 South E Street

San Bernardino, CA 92408

Phone: (909) 885-7223

Hollywood Park

1050 S Prairie Avenue

Inglewood, CA 90306

Phone: (310) 419-1500

Commerce Casino

6131 East Telegraph Road

Commerce, CA 90040

Phone: (323) 721-2100

Santa Anita Park

285 W Huntington Drive

Arcadia, CA 91007

Phone: (626) 574-7223

Lake Perris Sports Pavilion

18700 Lake Perris Drive

Perris, CA 92571

Phone: (951) 679-7223

Los Alamitos Race Course

4961 Katella Ave.

Los Alamitos, CA, 90720

Phone: (714) 820-2800

Fairplex Park

1101 W McKinley Ave

Pomona, CA 91768

Phone: (909) 623-3111

OC Tavern

2369 South El Camino Real

San Clemente, CA 92672

Phone: (949) 542-8877

Barona Resort & Casino

1932 Wildcat Canyon Road

Lakeside, CA 92040

Phone: (888) 722-7662

Shalimar Sports Center

46350 Arabia Street

Indio, CA 92201

Phone: (760) 863-8246

Fantasy Springs Casino

84-245 Indio Springs Parkway

Indio, CA 92203

Phone: (800) 827-2946

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard

Del Mar, California 92014

Phone: (858) 755-1141

Sycuan Casino

5469 Casino Way

El Cajon, CA 92019

Phone: (619) 445-6002

Viejas Casino

5000 Willows Road

Alpine, CA 91901

Phone: (800) 847-6537

About the Author

Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent’s your man when it comes to all things sports. He covers a wide range of sports for Sports Betting Sites, and has been published in some pretty reputable outlets, such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent’s got the inside track on all the happenings in the world of sports.

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