photo courtesy Mary Ann Breed / Courtesy of Mary Ann Breed

Cal Expo’s horse racing track was named after Kirk Breed, former Cal Expo general manager and longtime horseman, who later was on the state Horse Racing Board.

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The Buzz: Former Cal Expo manager Kirk Breed gets fairground legacy

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 - 10:27 pm

Cal Expo racetrack named after site’s former chief

An influential former leader of the California Exposition and State Fair, the late Kirk Breed will be memorialized at the site he loved best: the horse racing track.

A resolution passed by the Legislature designates the track at Cal Expo as the Kirk Breed Memorial Race Track.

Breed, who was appointed general manager of the State Fair during Gov. Jerry Brown’s first term, is credited with resurrecting the fair amid financial challenges and turning it into a premier agricultural event. A cowboy from Oklahoma who loved horses, he later became a racing industry lobbyist and director of the California Horse Racing Board until his death from cancer last year at the age of 73.

His widow, Mary Ann, said Breed was “a voice to protect the horses” who devoted himself to reducing track fatalities and improving the safety of racing.

“His identity was connected to that,” she said. “He would be so humbled by the fact that the state of California would recognize him in this way, because he never thought about how it could benefit him.”

The resolution honoring Breed was chaptered on Aug. 7, the anniversary of his death.

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