Horse Racing on Track

Our Impact

California’s robust equine industry is proud to support communities across California in countless ways.

The equine industry contributes billions annually to our state’s tourism industry and economy, and employs tens of thousands of workers. It also supports sustainable agriculture and enriches communities across California. Learn more about the equine industry’s impact on the state.

Economic Impact

The equine industry is proud to be a sustainable, stable, and ever-growing industry in California. We support a diverse range of skills, employing individuals across multiple industries that help sustain and contribute to California’s economy.

  • $8.3 Billion in contributions to California’s economy through the horse industry annually, with the racing sector accounting for $2.47 Billion in contributions. (1)
  • $1.7 Billion in tourism spending generated by horse racing participants and spectators, accounting for 37% of our total economic impact.
  • Horse racing tourism supports the local hospitality industry, including hotels, taxi drivers, restaurants, shops and small businesses.

Jobs & Labor

The equine industry is a major employer of California workers. Many backstretch workers are part of a multi-generation tradition among their families, and are able to provide their talent and skill to the industry, unmatched due to their deep care and familiarity with horses.

  • 115,474 workers supported by the horse industry, with 77,000 workers directly employed by the industry. (3)
  • 17,000 workers supported by the racing sector. (4)

Agriculture & Sustainability

The equine industry is proud to contribute to our state’s cyclical and sustainable agricultural ecosystem.

  • 1.4 million acres of land in California used for horse-related purposes. (5)
  • The average horse typically eats 15-20 pounds of hay per day produced by local farms, supporting local farms’ overall profits and sustainability. (6)
  • The straw from horse bedding diverts 8,000 tons of waste from the landfill each year – and is repurposed for mushroom farms throughout the state.

Cultural Enrichment

Horse racing and horse sports are among the oldest and most celebrated sports in the world. Today, 30.5% of households in California have a horse enthusiast in their home.

Equestrians, workers, and fans alike are part of a long tradition with deep cultural ties, with those traditions passed down from generation to generation. Like, football, soccer, baseball, and basketball, horse racing brings together families and creates shared experiences that form strong ties within communities. In fact, over 270,000 California residents volunteer their time for horse related activities. (7)

California’s equine culture is unique to that in other areas of the country in its inclusivity and accessibility to local communities of all ages, genders, and economic backgrounds.

Animal Wellness

The equine industry provides home, quality care, and an active lifestyle to over 6,000 horses in California – and we take our responsibility to care for them very seriously. Tracks, owners, trainers, riders, veterinarians and and workers are all dedicated to ensuring horses are supported throughout their lives, on and off the track. 

Learn more about how the industry supports the health and well-being of horses.

Learn More

(1) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)
(2) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)
(3) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)
(4) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)
(5) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)
(6) The Humane Society of the United States
(7) Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in California, American Horse Council Foundation (2018)