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Cal Expo: Race pays tribute to Kirk Breed
Race pays tribute to Kirk Breed

Friday night’s Kirk Breed Pace is named for the man who was the Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board and previously served as a board member and general manager of the State Fair here at Cal Expo.

Kirk Breed passed away in 2013 at the age of 73 after a battle with cancer.

During Gov. Jerry Brown's first term in 1979, Mr. Breed was appointed general manager at Cal Expo and was credited with turning around the event's financial fortunes during lean times. He later became a lobbyist on behalf of the racing industry and also served eight years on the Cal Expo board of directors.

Mr. Breed served as executive director of the California Horse Racing Board from 2008 until his death. During those five-plus years, he oversaw the regulatory agency's day-to-day business.

He was involved in such high-profile issues as the restriction of the use of steroids; the reduction of permissible levels of bute; and the transformation of the Santa Anita main track from a troubled synthetic to a dirt surface.

"In his years as executive director, Kirk Breed provided invaluable guidance and counsel to everyone who served on the board," said former racing board chairman David Israel. "No one was more dedicated to assuring the welfare of the horse, the well-being of the participants and the integrity of the sport than Kirk."

The Oklahoma native attended Oklahoma State on a football scholarship in the 1950s, while as the same time helping his father, who trained a stable of quarter horses. After graduating with a degree in zoology, Mr. Breed volunteered for the Peace Corps, spending time in Chile and Columbia and working at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

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