Horse racing has always played a vital role at the Sonoma County Fair. The first fair took place in 1936, just three years after horse racing was legalized. In its first year, more than 70,000 people attended the races. The handle, or the amount wagered by fairgoers, totaled $20,100, helping to fund the yearly agricultural festival.

Over its 81-year history racing has retained its popularity, attracting top-tier riders like retired jockey Russell Baze, who won his 5,000th and 11,000th races during the fair in 1995 and 2000.

Two more weeks of horse racing remain at the fair, Aug. 10-13 and Aug. 18-20.

Click through our gallery of horse racing images from the 1930s to 1980s.