08/23/2017 10:26AM

Ferndale opens for the 121st time


It is California’s shortest race meet and smallest race track, but the Humboldt County Fair – aka “the little fair that could” – will conduct its 121st race meeting beginning Friday in the Victorian village of Ferndale.

The seven-day meet concludes on Labor Day with the $15,000 C.J. Hindley Humboldt County Marathon, a 1 5/8-mile race where horses pass the finish line four times in the final race of the meeting. The meet runs Friday-Sunday the first week and Friday-Monday, Labor Day, the second week. The Labor Day closing is the latest ever for the meet, and Richard Conway, the fair’s general manager, said he expects it to be among the biggest days in track history.

“We’re really fortunate to get support from the local community,” he said. “Labor Day is usually a big day for racing in general, and we expect Labor Day will be bigger than our Saturday race dates.”

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Fair admission is $8 for adults and $6 for seniors 62 and older. Racing admission is $3. Post time is 2:07 p.m. most days, with a 3:07 p.m. post on Fridays.

Hugo Herrera will seek his fourth jockey title in the past five years on the half-mile bullring. Among the other jockeys at the meet are husband and wife Jake Samuels and Kassie Guglielmino.

The trainer standings are determined by points – five points for a win, three for a second, and one for a third. Quinn Howey won the training title in 2013-15 and lost the title by one point in 2016 when Jonathan Wong won the Marathon with So Elite. Howey is back at the meet, but Wong is remaining at Golden Gate Fields this year.

“The public support here for horse racing is fantastic, and I love coming here,” Howey said.

As at other fairs, Ferndale will card races for mules and Arabians, too.