Capitol Alert

Former Cal Expo manager Kirk Breed gets fairground legacy

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 last week by the Legislature newly designates the facility 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 long loved horses, he later became a lobbyist for the racing industry and served as 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 true public servant” and “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 August 7, the first anniversary of his death.