It's Fresno's version of the Kentucky Derby. The horse races began Thursday at the Big Fresno Fair. Over one million dollars in prize money will be given away over nine days of racing.
The sound of the horn means one thing: A horse race is about to begin. Folks place their bets and hope for a win. One woman is decked out, Kentucky Derby-style, while Bill Chato wears his lucky hat.
"I wear it every time I go to the races," said Chato, a longtime fan of horse racing.
Others in the stands don't rely on luck alone to beat the odds.
"I take it very seriously. Yeah, probably more serious than I should. I spend a lot of time studying," said Tammy Thomas, who comes every year to the races.
Tom Dontrich has the inside on all the races. It's his job as racing secretary.
"From deciding what races are used, what horses are running here, and we basically put the whole program together," said Dontrich.
The large pool of prize money is what entices the best horses and riders to come to the fair in Fresno. As for spectators, if a little money goes their way, they'll certainly take it.
"It's fun if I get to make money, but I come for the fun. I don't care if I win or lose, I can go home, lose all day and still have a great time," said Thomas.
Racing begins at 1:15 on weekdays, 12:45 on weekends. There are no races on October 9th and 10th.