California Horse Racing Betting – Comparing the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in California 2023

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor Fact Checked by Ollie Ring

Horse racing in California has a rich history and has been massively popular in the largest US state for nearly 100 years. Throughout that period, Golden State natives have enjoyed the extra thrill of California horse racing betting during the track meets.

In this guide, we cover all aspects of California horse racing betting. These topics include horse racing tracks in California, the best betting sites, horse racing history in the state, the bonuses offered, and much more. Whether it’s horse racing in southern CA or anywhere else in the state, we have you covered, beginning with the top 10 betting sites for horse racing in California.

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In This Guide

Ranking the Top 10 Betting Sites for Horse Racing in California

  1. Bovada – The best horse betting site in California
  2. BetOnlineLong history in the online gaming industry
  3. Everygame – One of the best mobile apps on the market today
  4. MyBookie – Horse racing rebate offers
  5. BetNow – One of the fastest payouts horse betting site
  6. BetUS – Covers racetracks and races from all over the world
  7. XBet – Owned by Churchill Downs – The best online racebook
  8. BUSR – CA Horse betting site with Simple User Interface
  9. Jazz – Wide array of offers for Horse racing, casino, and sportsbook
  10. – Excellent customer service

Reviewing the Best California Horse Racing Betting Sites

Now that we have our top 10 betting sites for horse racing in California, we will take a deeper dive into the top five. These reviews will be information covering features, promotions, and more. Be sure to take advantage of the welcome bonuses at the best California horse racing sites.

1. Bovada – No. 1 Horse Racing Site in CA

CA horse racing site - Bovada

Bovada as a brand has only been around since 2011. But the company that founded it, Bodog, has been in the gaming industry since 1994. Today, Bovada offers some of the best online gaming platforms across multiple game types, including sports betting, casino play, live casino play, and poker.

There are two excellent possible welcome bonuses at Bovada that you can take advantage of for real cash or cryptocurrency, but there are no other offers beyond that.

As far as the racebook itself, you do have Virtual Racing, and the site is filtered to show the available tracks. There are no additional features or distinctions between Thoroughbred and Harness, and there appear to be fewer track options than other racebooks.

What we like

  • Two possible welcome bonuses
  • Long and trusted history in online gaming
  • Online casino and sportsbook available
  • Aesthetically pleasing user interface
  • Virtual Racing available

What we don’t like

  • Limited features
  • No promos outside of the welcome offer

Welcome Bonus Offers:

Using Bitcoin, players will receive a deposit match at a 75% rate and for up to $750. There is a 5x wagering requirement when using this for horses.

Using real cash, you will receive a deposit-matched welcome bonus here as well, but at a 50% rate and up to $250. The wagering requirement on this offer is also 5x.


2. BetOnline – The Best Racebook with the Fastest Payout in California

California Horse Racing Betting – Comparing the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in California [cur_year]

BetOnline is an online sports betting website that offers online betting on horse racing. The site features bet types, live betting, and handicapping tools for players to use in order to give them the best experience possible. BetOnline also provides a blog page with tips for handicapping horses and playing the different types of games offered on their site.

BetOnline does not have a large inventory of live events to bet on yet; however, it does offer some important races like the Kentucky Derby or America’s biggest race at Churchill Downs. This website broadcasts horse racing schedules for bettors in California.

The site has a good reputation among punters and offers high-quality content with a solid layout and good usability features like fast loading speeds and mobile compatibility.

They offer risk-free bets of 25$ and 9% daily track rebates. You will also be able to take a tour of the site to help answer any questions you may have.

What we like

  • Large selection of betting options
  • Great customer service with knowledgeable representatives
  • The odds are more favorable than other website

What we don’t like

  • Limited minimum withdrawal

Welcome Bonus Offer:

New players at BetOnline will receive a $25 risk-free bet to use right away. If you win, you will keep your winnings; however, you will receive your wager back in free play credits if you lose. The free play credits come with a 6x wagering requirement. They also offer risk-free bets of 25$ and 9% – 7% daily track rebates.


3. Everygame – One of the Best Mobile Apps on the Market Today

Everygame Horse racing

Everygame is a great platform to wager on major sports actions for a lot of reasons. They offer quality customer support, they pay you for your losses in the form of rebates, and you get quality in-play odds when you use the live betting option.

If you want to wager on major track races in the US, Everygame Racebook should be your top pick. They have an extensive list of horse tracks strictly located in the US. If you don’t want to miss major horse racing games, this bookie covers Churchill Downs and Parx Racing matches.

This bookmarker periodically rolls out bonuses and promos that will increase your playing time as a newbie or existing user. Everygame bonus code will mostly be needed to unlock the promos this bookie offers. Because this bookmarker accepts different payment methods wagering on horses using cryptocurrency is possible.

You can deposit into your account for as low as $20 and withdraw for as low as $50. Though the maximum weekly withdrawal limit is quite low, they offer fast payouts.

What we like

  • Varying payment options
  • Quality customer service with knowledgeable representatives
  • Safe and secure sports betting site.
  • Rebates are available

What we don’t like

  • Limited horse racing tracks and market

Welcome Bonus Offer:

Registering on Everygame Sportsbook for the first time gives access to unlock truckloads of bonuses using the available Everygame promo codes. As a New user, you have entitled to a welcome bonus worth $750 and a 7% rebate on accrued losses when wagering on available tracks.


4. MyBookie – Unmatched Racebook Customer Service for Bettors in California

California Horse Racing Betting – Comparing the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in California [cur_year]

If you are looking for pleasure, satisfaction, and professionalism while you book a bet in Horse Racing in California, try MyBookie. MyBookie was founded in 1974 and is one of the most trusted sportsbooks among gamblers. It’s very user-friendly, even without an account you can access a lot of information such as race schedule, betting odds, and race simulcasting wagers available at any given time.

There is an extensive list of betting options, ranging from live racing to cash games, to futures and props. They offer a 50%welcome bonus on the initial deposit – this information is useful for people that are new to betting on horses.

But if you’re not new to racing then you can get updates on when your favorite horse will be racing and an 8% track rebate on your race booking. They also offer a 200% referral bonus for existing customers.

What we like

  • Great customer service
  • live streaming, so users can view the race as it happens
  • Longevity, Superiority, and Professionalism
  • More options for players and a wide variety of betting options

What we don’t like

  • Little analysis of races

Welcome Bonus Offer:

MyBookie offers new players a 50% deposit match welcome bonus. To qualify, you will need to deposit a minimum of $10 within 15 days of creating your new account.


5. BetUS – Covers Races from All Over the World

CA horse racing site - BetUS

The online sportsbook is the focus of BetUS, and the brand, which has been around since 1994, also has a top-tier online casino and racebook.

BetUS’ user interface is easy to navigate with a list of tracks and races that are happening on any particular day. In the middle of the page, you will find links to Thoroughbred entries in North America and abroad. Fixed odds and harness racing are also given separate tabs.

Bettors can claim a promo on Saturdays throughout 2023 that will give them cash back if their staked horse finishes second or third. There are also welcome bonuses and crypto cash bonuses available throughout the racing season for those depositing with Bitcoin.

What we like

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Dedicated racebook
  • Can wager using cryptocurrency
  • Cashback promos
  • Part of a brand that has been in business for 25 years

What we don’t like

  • High rollover requirements on welcome bonus

Welcome Bonus Offer:

BetUS offers players a 10% bonus in addition to a 20% casino bonus for a deposit of up to $2,500. The cash bonus carries a 30x wagering requirement.


6. XBet – Best Off Track Horse Betting Racebook in California

California Horse Racing Betting – Comparing the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites in California [cur_year]

In operation since 2006 and with security certificates and licenses issued in Malta, the UK, Poland, Romania, and Costa Rica, XBet is a top choice for California horse racing betting

XBet is a safe and reliable online betting site for gamblers in the Golden State. The site uses SSL security for all financial transactions and enables crypto deposits for those of you who are keen to wager at the track using Bitcoin.

Boasting a dedicated racebook, bettors will find all the latest information about US and international horse racing betting options at XBet. When it comes to the lines on offer, XBet has markets open for all the big events, including the Triple Crown races at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes

Straight wagers on the moneyline are a breeze, the odds are generally among the best, especially if you wait for the Morning Lines, and players will discover a deep range of exotic wagers, including exacta, trifecta, and quinella bets. XBet is also one of the best sites that we’ve reviewed when it comes to swift customer service.

What we like

  • Featured Races
  • Exotic wagers
  • Rebate offers
  • Risk-free bet
  • Easy-to-use interface

What we don’t like

  • Lower welcome bonus than rival sites

Welcome Bonus Offer:

$500 welcome bonus and a 7% rebate for existing customers


7. – Excellent Customer Service

California horse racing betting - designs a dedicated racebook to cater to its horse racing betting enthusiasts, and we like what we see. The clean and simple layout that’s easy to steer immediately caught our attention. Information regarding racebook rules, track limits, and payoff odds is clearly labeled and easy to find.

Users have interesting bonuses to unlock, including the coveted 9% Rebate promo code. The rebate percentage went slightly up from the previous 7%, something most bettors will appreciate.

You’ll like how user-friendly the app is and covers global horse racing events.  Bettors can look forward to wagering on events like the Breeder’s Cup, Triple Crown Prep, and Big SummerStakes all year round.

But of all the things that stood out, the excellent customer service takes the cup. Players have a dedicated support team to look to when they are stuck on the app. You can reach the team via the live chat platform manned round-the-clock for a lightning-speed response. Another option is to call or send an email.

What we like:

  • Several horse racing bet types
  • Generous rebate bonus
  • 7 customer support
  • International horse racing events

What we don’t:

  • High processing fees for winnings

Welcome Bonus Offers:

Players who’ve never placed a bet in the racebook can claim a $25 risk-free wager.

New sign-ups get a 50% up to $1,000 match deposit offer for the rest of the sportsbook.


More on gambling in California…

Learn about all types of online gambling in California in our expert guides below:


Comparing the Best Sites for Horse Racing California has to Offer

When reviewing betting sites in California, there are many possible angles to approach it. While there is no perfect way to say which one is better because players have their own sensibilities, there is a certain hierarchy of factors to consider.

For example, Bovada has some of the best welcome bonuses you can find for horse racing in California, but it does have its flaws.

Below is a list of various aspects of what makes horse racing betting sites tremendous, and we also look for these with each entry into our top-10 list.

Horse Racing Odds

The lifeblood of betting sites that offer horse racing is the odds. With so much competition today, you will find that most online racebooks in California offer similar if not the same, odds. Odds shopping is something most players do.

With that said, what makes BetOnline so appealing is its balance with its odds, including longshots with bettable lines.

Horse Racing Betting Markets

Atop the list, you will find BetOnline and MyBookie, and part of that is the sheer amount of horse racing betting markets available.

For example, at BetOnline, on any given race, you can wager in multiple ways, including the following:

  • Win
  • Show
  • Place
  • Exotic
  • Trifecta
  • Superfecta
  • Super High Five
  • Double Bet
  • Pick 3
  • Pick 5

With this many ways to bet, you will not always find this many options at other sites which will offer your standard win, place, and show.

Live Horse Racing Betting

Going back to BetOnline and MyBookie, being able to wager on horse racing as it’s going on makes for a more enjoyable experience and shows the capabilities of the sites.

Licensed by Curacao, MyBookie is the hub for anything and everything horse racing-related.

Beyond BetOnline and MyBookie, though, sites like Bovada and BetUS also update quickly, too.

Horse Racing Betting Promotions

Before diving into the welcome bonuses, having promotions for life after these offers allows for a sustained lucrative experience.

Without sounding like a broken record, BetOnline has so many additional betting promotions, including leaderboard promotions, boosts on Trifectas, Exacta Insurance, and Moneyback offers.

However, some other sites that stand out are BetOnline with rebate offers and BUSR, which has a reload bonus.

Special Features for Horse Racing

Features at horse racing sites include many things, including live streaming, promotions, expert analysis, and more.

Most horse racing sites in California will have some of these, but live streaming seems less prevalent.

Overall, you will find a mix of features throughout, but of course, BetOnline and MyBookie lead the way offering crucial elements such as live streaming.

Horse Racing Welcome Bonus

Promotions are always a nice icing on the cake at horse racing sites, but welcome bonuses will always pack the most punch.

With that, Bovada is in the lead regarding the welcome bonus, primarily if you use cryptocurrency. However, MyBookie and BetOnline offer similar real money welcome bonuses with easier wagering requirements.

When it comes to the most casual-friendly, BetOnline has a risk-free bet of $25 which has little barrier to entry.

User-Friendly Design

Functionality and aesthetics are the two critical components of a user-friendly design. All of our picks in the top-10 have excellent user design. Some like BetOnline, MyBookie, and BetUS may have more appealing aesthetics, but each brand is streamlined and easy to use.

Live Streaming

Considering BetOnline and Jazzsports are the only two sites that offer live streaming, they take the prize in this category. While you can bet live on other sites, being able to see the race in progress in real-time gives you a far better experience.

To watch, you will need to create an account and log in. Although not all races will broadcast, the vast majority will be.

Comparing Features At The Best Sites For Horse Racing Betting In California
Live Streaming Racecard Enhanced Lines Welcome Offer Mobile App Handicap Sports Betting Casino

How to Choose the Best California Horse Racing Betting Sites

Picking the best California horse racing betting site will always be different for everyone. Still, in addition to the aspects listed above, we will look at some more general parts that could be more important to you versus other players.

Keeping in mind the elements above, here are some other minor traits to consider.

Brand Recognition

Playing at a betting site that has been in business for a while instills a sense of trust and peace of mind compared to a newer site.

Payment Methods

The more ways you can perform deposits or withdrawals, the better. For example, if you enjoy using crypto, some sites offer far more currencies than others, whereas some sites gear more toward “real cash.”

Safety & Security

This somewhat ties into brand recognition, as it would be logical to conclude that sites with lengthy histories have systems in place to keep your data safe. However, beyond that, we also look for sites that are licensed to operate.

Speed & Design

Having a site that has an intuitive user design allows you to navigate the site faster and make quicker wagers. All of our top-10 horse racing sites fit this bill nicely.

Customer Service

Being able to contact someone for help is something that you may not think about, but when needed, you will be disappointed when there are few ways to get into contact. We recommend always keeping your eyes open for a live chat option.

Overall Value

Value is a culmination of everything listed here and in the above sections. If you can find a healthy balance, that will provide great value. However, if you’re someone who depends on bonuses and promotions, your sense of value will be much different.

Below is a table summing up this information below.

What To Look For In The Best Sites For Horse Racing Betting In California
Brand Recognition ✅ Trustworthy

✅ Reliable

Payment Process ✅ Safe Payment Options

✅ Fast, Secure Payouts

Safety & Security ✅ Safety & Security

✅ Protecting Privacy & Personal Information

Speed & Design ✅ Fast Software

✅ User-Friendly Design

Customer Service ✅ 24/7 Live Chat

✅ Friendly Customer Service

Overall Value ✅ Best Odds

✅ Live Streaming

✅ Promotions Offers

✅ Special Features

Is Horse Racing Betting Legal in California?

Yes, horse racing betting is legal in California. The California Horse Racing Board was established following Prop 3 passing in 1933.

More particularly, pari-mutuel wagers are legal in addition to off-track betting facilities, satellite wagering, and tribal casinos.

You must be 18 years of age or older to wager, per the California Horse Racing Board.

Horse Betting Guides State by State

California Horse Racing Betting Guide – How to Bet on Horse Races in California

California not only allows for in-person wagering but also online as well. As far as in-person wagering, you’ll be able to do it on one of the many tracks in the state, in addition to tribal casinos and some off-site facilities that are not casinos or the tracks themselves.

However, online betting has become a go-to method where you can register at many sites such as BUSR, BetOnline, Bovada, BetOnline, and more.

These sites offer a unique advantage in that you can wager from home, engage in bonuses and promotions, and, at select sites, play an online casino and sportsbook if you wish.

How Does Horse Racing Betting Work in California

Once you arrive at a California horse racing betting site, the standard ways to wager will be on “place”, “show”, and “win”. On these sites, you will see upcoming races, and once you click on them, you will see the available wagers.

For new players, you may want to try out a more popular race such as the Kentucky Derby as sites will focus on this race as it is a significant event.

Once you get more used to the basics, there are plenty of other wagers to wager, including trifecta, exacta, and more.

Depending on the site you are using, you may see a drop-down menu that shows the different bet types, followed by the money you want to wager. You will also see the odds. For example, if you see the odds as 22, this indicates 22-to-1 odds, or +2200.

California Horse Racing Betting Explained

Below is a screenshot of a race chosen at BUSR. The race is not based in California but is only an example.

BUSR - Best horse racing betting apps

Looking at the screenshot above, there are a few things to be aware of. We won’t go into too much detail and only look at the basic things you will need to be concerned with out of the gate.

There are a few different ways to view the odds, including a Classic, Basic, and Advanced form. Either way, you will see the menu for “Win,” which serves as a menu for all of the different ways you can wager, followed by your wager, and then the horse in which you select.

You will also see the columns for odds. To recap, the odds, for example, that are 7/2 mean that when you wager $2, you will get $7 if you win.

Horse Racing Betting Odds

This is an ad for BUSR's 8% rebate offer.

At the end of the day, the horse racing betting site can have this, that, or the other things, but what matters are the odds and the upside for winning money.

If you’re able to find a site that has better odds than others, that is a site you will always find yourself frequenting. With so much competition, these sites cannot afford to stay competitive in today’s environment.

With that said, in looking around, we found sites like BUSR, MyBookie, Bovada, and BetOnline have some excellent odds, especially when it comes to more frequent wagers.

There are a few ways to wager on horse racing, and we will go over them below.

Fixed Odds for Horse Racing Betting in California

Fixed odds betting allows you to wager on a horse and lock into the price. However, the site can change these odds before and after that.

This is a way of betting you’d be used to with a sportsbook, but some may argue pari-mutuel is the way to go.

Pari-Mutuel Betting in California

If you’ve only ever wagered on sports and are now breaking into horse racing betting, pari-mutuel betting may seem odd at first to you.

With this type of betting, you will bet into a pool and be issued a payment if your wager wins. However, you will not know what that is until the race begins.

Pool Betting on California Horse Races

We just mentioned pools above with pari-mutuel, and pool betting is pretty much the same. The only difference is that this aligns more with wagering on things like trifecta, exacta, and superfectas.

What are The Different Types of Horse Racing Bets?

This page shows some of the basic bet types for horse racing at Bovada.


This is the most straightforward wager: Bet on the horse you think will win.


With a place wager, this allows for your pick to finish first or second.


Show wagers expand upon win and place in that your horse can finish inside the top three.


With exacta wagers, you will need to pick the exact top two finishers. This is the oldest exotic wager out there.


If you’re feeling confident coming off an exacta wager, you can extend that from the top two to the top three with trifecta wagers.


With one of the lowest minimum wagers (around $0.10 usually), you will take trifecta’s one step further to predict the top four finishers in the exact order with superfecta bets.

Daily Double

Also known as just a double wager, you will need to pick the winners of back-to-back races with minimum bets of $1-$2.

Pick 3/4/5/6

This just continues with the Daily Double in that you pick the correct winners for three, four, five, and six consecutive races. Most tracks host 10+ races on a given day.

Comparing the Different Types of Bets for Horse Racing in California
Bet Type Description Minimum Bet
Win Your selection comes in first $2
Place Your selection finishes in first or second. $2
Show Your selection finishes in first, second, or third. $2
Exacta Selecting horses that finish in first and second place exactly $1
Trifecta Selecting which horses will finish in first, second, and third in a specific order $0.50 – $1
Superfecta Picking top-four placing horses in the correct order $0.10
Daily Double Betting on winners of two races on a particular day $2
Pick 3 Selecting winners of three consecutive races. $0.50
Pick 4 Selecting winners of four consecutive races. $0.50
Pick 5 Selecting winners of five consecutive races. $0.50
Pick 6 Selecting winners of six consecutive races. $2

California Horse Racing Betting Terms

No matter if you’re betting on horse racing for the first time or have been for a while, there are terms you will want to get acquainted with. The same goes for online casino play and online sportsbooks.

Horse Racing Betting Terms Explained:

Dead Heat

Two or more horses finish in a tie at the finish.


A unit used to measure distance equal to 1/8th of a mile.

Handicap Race

Races where horses will have what is essentially a “point spread” to make the competition even out. The term used for horse racing is that the horses carry a different weight.

Maiden Race

A horse looking for its first win.

Tote Board

A digital board showing betting information such as post time, odds, results of the races, and the payouts.

California Horse Racing Betting Calculator

With some horse racing betting, you may not know your possible winnings until the very end of a race. This is very different from online sportsbooks that calculate immediately, and you’ll know right away.

However, you can somewhat figure out your winnings by looking at the percentage of money wagered on your horse and converting that into a probability.

How to Calculate Horse Racing Betting Odds

There are two things to keep in mind with every horse racing wager: The amount of money wagered on a horse and the number of people that wagered on it.

For yourself, you’ll also want to consider the number of units you wagered.

So, if a pool of money is a total of $100 and there are 20 different bettors, you will each get a $5 dividend. So, if you had 10 units on it, you would win $50.

California Horse Racing Odds Chart:

Below is a list of different odds and lines showing potential winnings and implied chances of winning. We will use $2 wagers as an example to keep the numbers small and easier to understand.

California Horse Racing Betting Odds Chart
Odds Payout on $2 Bet Implied Winning Percentage
-500 $2.40 83.33%
-400 $2.50 80%
-300 $2.60 75%
-200 $3.00 66.67%
-150 $3.33 60%
-100 $4.00 50%
+100 $4.00 50%
+200 $6.00 33.33%
+300 $8.00 25%
+500 $12.00 16.67%
+1000 $22.00 9.09%

California Horse Race Tracks

Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack – 4501 Pleasanton Ave, Pleasanton, VA 94566

Built in 1858, the Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack resides at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. The track is a one-mile track built for Thoroughbred, Quarter horse, and Arabian racing.

Cal-Expo – 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

Opened to the public in 1971, the Cal-Expo hosts harness racing meets for most of the year.

Del Mar – 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd Del Mar, CA 92014

Del Mar Racetrack opened on July 3, 1937, and is home to the Pacific Classic. It bears the slogan “Where the Turf Meets the Surf”.

Ferndale – 4501 Pleasanton Ave, Pleasanton, VA 94566

Ferndale is the site of the Humboldt County Fair and has been since 1896. The track is a half-mile oval with sharp turns.

Fresno – 1250 5th St. Ferndale, CA 95536

Fresno offers satellite wagering year-round and five days a week. The wagering facility is called The Starting Gate.

Golden Gate – 1100 Eastshore Hwy Berkeley, CA 94710

Opened in 1941, Golden Gate Fields is located near Albany and Berkeley and is on the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The track is a one-mile synthetic track and a turf course close to a mile, but seven furlongs, to be more precise.

Los Alamitos – 4961 Katella Ave Cypress, CA 90720

Los Alamitos features daytime thoroughbred racing and hosts live racing Saturday and Sunday nights.

San Joaquin Fair – 1658 S Airport Way Stockton, CA 95206

San Joaquin offers satellite wagering on every major horse race all year long. The track is a one-mile dirt oval.

Santa Anita – 285 W Huntington Dr. Arcadia, CA 91007

Santa Anita hosts some of the most highly anticipated events of the year. In 2022, Santa Anita will host seven races, including the Santa Anita Derby.

Santa Rosa – Santa Rosa Horse Track, Carapo, Trinidad & Tobago

Santa Rosa takes place on the site of the Sonoma County fair. The track is a one-mile oval and has 1,022 stalls.

List of Horse Race Tracks in California
California Horse Race Track Address Phone Number Notable Races
Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack 4501 Pleasanton Avenue

Pleasanton, VA 94566

(916) 799-7084 California Wine Stakes
Cal-Expo 1600 Exposition Blvd

Sacramento, CA 95815

(916) 263-3000 Bob Staats Pacing Series
Del Mar 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd

Del Mar, CA 92014

(855) 755-1141 Pacific Classic
Ferndale 1250 5th St.

Ferndale, CA 95536

(707) 786-9511 Ferndale Arabian Stakes
Fresno 1121 S Chance Ave

Fresno, CA 93702

(559) 650-3247 Satellite wagering year-round
Golden Gate 1100 Eastshore Hwy

Berkeley, CA 94710

(510) 559-7300 California Derby
Los Alamitos 4961 Katella Ave

Cypress, CA 90720

(714) 820-2800 Ed Burke Million Futurity
San Joaquin Fair 1658 S Airport Way

Stockton, CA 95206

(209) 466-5041 Satellite wagering
Santa Anita 285 W Huntington Dr

Arcadia, CA 91007

(626) 574-7223 Santa Anita Derby
Santa Rosa Santa Rosa Horse Track, Carapo, Trinidad & Tobago (868) 646-2450 Royal Oak Derby

The History of Horse Racing in California

The history of horse racing in California dates back to June 27, 1933, when pari-mutuel wagering was first legalized. Before that, California was home to some areas for horse racing throughout the 1800s. The most well-known facility, Santa Anita, opened just over a year after pari-mutuel wagering was legalized on Christmas Day 1934.

A few years later, California would open another main track, Del Mar, on July 3, 1937.

After pari-mutuel wagering was allowed, Daily Double wagers would become legal in 1940, and 31 years later, Hollywood Park, which is now defunct, pioneered the exacta wager.

In the mid-1980s, Senator Ken Maddy passed bill SB14 which allowed satellite wagering.

Fast-forward to 2010, and this would be a milestone year for the state and horse racing, with Del Mar finishing with the second-highest daily average attendance, nearing 18,000. Later that same year, Zenyatta would win her 19th straight race at Hollywood Park.

A Timeline of the History of California Horse Racing
Date Description
June 27, 1933 Pari-mutuel wagering horse racing wagering legalized
September 1933 Fairplex Park is the first Southern California track to allow pari-mutuel wagers
December 25, 1934 Santa Anita opens and is still one of the more popular California horse racing tracks today.
July 3, 1937 Del Mar opens
1940 Daily Double wagering introduced
1971 Hollywood Park pioneers exacta wager
October 17, 1985 After SB14 passes, thanks to Senator Ken Maddy, the northern California satellite wagering network launches.
February 6, 1985 Live telecasting of all races in and out of California begins at Santa Anita.
September 8, 2010 Del Mar finishes the season with the second-highest daily average attendance with 17,906
October 2, 2010 Zenyatta wins her 19th straight race at Hollywood Park

California Horse Racing Schedule 2023

Now that we are into March of 2022, California will see three more races this month and five more throughout the rest of the year. The track that will see the most action on the horse racing schedule in 2022 is Santa Anita, which is hosting all of those races except for the Pacific Classic, which is hosted by Del Mar.

Below is a list of races in California in 2023.

California Horse Racing Schedule 2023
California Horse Race California Horse Race Track Date
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Santa Anita March 5, 2022
San Felipe Stakes Santa Anita March 5, 2022
Beholder Mile Stakes Santa Anita March 5, 2022
Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita April 9, 2022
Hollywood Gold Cup Santa Anita June 30, 2022
Pacific Classic Del Mar August 21, 2022
American Pharoah Stakes Santa Anita September 24, 2022
La Brea Stakes Santa Anita December 26, 2022

Santa Anita Derby 2023

This is a look at what the Santa Anita Derby looks like.

The biggest horse race in California is the Santa Anita Derby, which was inaugurated in 1935. It has a run distance of 1 ⅛ mile on dirt with a $400,000 purse.

Here are the previous 10 winners.

Santa Anita Derby Past Winners
Santa Anita Derby Year Santa Anita Derby Winners
2021 Rock Your World
2020 Honor A.P.
2019 Roadster
2018 Justify
2017 Gormley
2016 Exaggerator
2015 Dortmund
2014 California Chrome
2013 Goldencents
2012 I’ll Have another

Comparing Betting at the Racetrack with Online Horse Racing Betting

Wagering online and in-person do present their unique pros and cons. Of course, the first significant difference is the setting in which you make the wagers. Some players may like to hang out at home, while others want to have their boots on the ground and in that environment.

While this is a surface-level comparison, below is a table detailing a complete list of pros and cons for each style.

Comparing Betting at the Racetrack With Online Horse Racing Betting
Betting at the Racetrack Online Horse Racing Betting
✅  In-person entertainment ✅ Welcome Bonuses
✅ Facility likely has food, beverages, and other amenities ✅ Expert Analysis on the site
❌ No promotions to take part in ✅ Additional Promotions
❌ Need to wager with cash only ✅ Can wager from anywhere
❌ Travel to the facility ✅ Live Streaming

General Terms and Conditions at Horse Racing Betting Sites in California

When wagering for an account at a horse racing betting site in California, you will need to provide certain information about yourself. At some sites, you may need to disclose the last four digits of your social security number or your address, while most sites will ask for things such as your name, date of birth, email, and create an account.

Next, you’ll find things known as rollover requirements when it comes to claiming your welcome bonus. You must understand rollover requirements thoroughly to take full advantage of your offers.

Rollover Requirements

Rollover requirements are what stand between you withdrawing the bonus funds you receive as cash. Until you meet this requirement, the bonus funds you receive from offers will be non-withdrawable.

These can range anywhere from 1x-15x. With there being such a wide range, below is a table with all welcome bonuses from our top-10 betting sites in California, including the rollover requirement.

Comparing Welcoming Bonuses At The Best Online Horse Racing Sites
Brand Welcome Bonus Offer Rollover Requirement
Bovada 50% Deposit Bonus up to $250 5x
BetOnline $25 Risk-Free Bet 6x
Everygame $750 Welcome Bonus (3 X $250 Bonuses) 8x
MyBookie 100% Deposit Bonus Up to $1,000 10x
BetNow 100% Deposit Bonus up to $500 15x
BetUS 10% Cash Bonus Up to $2,500 3x
XBet 100% welcome bonus of up to $500 7x
BUSR $150 Cash Bonus 1x
Jazzsports 50% welcome bonus up to $1,000 27x 100% Deposit Bonus up to $1,000 (Crypto) 14x

California Horse Racing Betting Bonuses

This illustrates the welcome bonus at TwinSpires.

As you can see from the table above, you may encounter a couple of different welcome bonuses at California horse racing betting sites. Below are further explanations about each offer.

Deposit Bonuses

You will receive a percentage of it matched by the betting site with deposit bonuses. This ranges all over the place, but you will need to meet specific rollover requirements to withdraw the bonus you receive as cash. For example, if you have a 100% deposit bonus and deposit $100, you will receive a $100 bonus.

Free Bets

Horse racing free bets allow for you to wager on a contest without running the risk of totally losing your money. If you win, you keep your winnings. However, if you lose, you will receive the amount of that bet back as site credit. There may be rollover requirements associated with it.

Enhanced Odds

At various times throughout the year, horse racing betting sites in California will occasionally offer enhanced odds. This is meant to increase action on a particular horse or race.


If a site offers a VIP or Loyalty Program, there will often be promotions that involve receiving points to increase your standing in them.

Comparing The Best California Horse Racing Betting Bonuses
Welcome Bonus Loyalty Racebook Moneyback Enhanced Odds

Virtual Horse Racing Betting in California

Virtual horse racing may not take the place of horse racing itself, but it allows for an alternative when no races are available, but you’re in the mood to wager. These races are RNG-based, meaning a computer will determine the result of the race.

California Horse Racing Betting Apps

Sports betting app - BUSR

When you’re not at the track or home and on the desktop, being able to take horse racing betting on the road is crucial. Most sites will have a mobile web browser optimized for that kind of play, but some sites take it a step even further by creating a mobile app downloaded onto your device.

California Horse Racing Betting Apps for iPhone

Most of the betting sites in our top-10 do not have a dedicated iPhone app that you download from the Apple App Store. Again, though, you will be able to play on your iPhone through a mobile web browser. With that said, this played a factor in making BetOnline and BUSR rank inside the top two sites.

You will download an app from the App Store for BetOnline and BUSR.

California Horse Racing Betting Apps for Android

The same methodology applies here—there are apps available for BetOnline and BUSR, but not the other sites. However, again, you will be able to play the other sites competently from your mobile web browser.

How to Start Betting at Horse Racing Sites in California

To wager on horse racing in California, you will need to create an account first. The process of creating an account is easy to do, but below, we will walk you through that and some immediate steps afterward using BUSR as an example.

Step 1: Visit The Home Page, Click “Join Now”

Once you arrive at BUSR, you will find the link to begin the registration process in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

BUSR registration Menu

Step 2: Complete the Registration Process

Once you open this page, you will see a three-step process to complete your account registration. Here, you will need to provide your name, email, address, date of birth, and more.

Busr Sign up

Step 3: Make Your First Deposit

After you complete the registration process, you’ll want to deposit money into your account that you can use to wager with.

BUSR Deposit Methods

Step 4: Choose Your Bet and Place It

After you deposit, you’ll want to make your way back to the home page. Here, you will need to find the race to wager on. Once here, locate the wager you want to make, place your bet and wait for the result.

BUSR – Best Vermont Horse Racing Betting Site

Other Types of Gambling in California

As you’ll find with most of these sites, online casino play, online sports betting, and even online poker are available throughout. Some sites may not allow you to play based on geolocation, but others will allow you to place real money wagers on the casino and sportsbook.

With the online casino, you can play casino classics such as slots and blackjack, whereas, with online sportsbooks, you can bet on the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and more.

What is The Best Site for Horse Racing Betting in California?

BetOnline has undoubtedly created  a wide gap ahead of other racebooks. They offer quality gaming service, exceptional customer care service, and over 70 tracks from across the world to bet on.

They also offer bonuses and promos for new and returning users and created a safe and secure space for players online. Apart from the racebook offer, BetOnline also have a sportsbook and casino option for interested parties.


What is the big horse race in California?

How many racetracks are there in California?

Is horse racing betting legal in California?

Why is horse racing legal in California?

Are there horse races in California?







Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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