College of the Redwoods

Humboldt County Fair to honor former Ferndale, CR star

Ray Hamill/ – Horse racing returns to Ferndale next month.

Next month’s Humboldt County Fair horse races will honor Dave Mogni, a legendary Ferndale High and Humboldt County athlete.

Mogni, who also served as President of the Humboldt County Fair Board, passed away in September at the age of 64.

This year’s races, which get under way on Aug. 19, will feature the inaugural running of the “Dave Mogni Special.”

Stamped as the premier thoroughbred race for fillies and mares during the upcoming 125th Humboldt Fair meet, the “Dave Mogni Special” will headline the Aug. 20 program and offer a hefty $15,000 purse, which should attract a stellar field.

After his time at Ferndale High, Mogni would go on to star at receiver for College of the Redwoods football during the 1970s, before playing at the University of California-Berkeley.

He returned to his roots and opened the Ivanhoe Restaurant with his wife Barbara in 1997 and later acquired the Palace Saloon in Ferndale.

In addition, Mogni was a member of the Humboldt Fair Board for 12 years, including serving several years as president.

Prior to his time helping the Humboldt Fair and local community, Mogni enjoyed a stellar athletic career and earned 15 varsity letters in four sports at Ferndale.

He also led the Corsairs to two Northern California football titles in 1975 and 1976 and was a standout rugby player at Cal and then for the Old Blues club.

“Dave meant so much to the Humboldt Fair, and contributed a lot to the fair’s success each year,” said Humboldt Fair racing secretary Tom Doutrich. “He was a very special person in this community and the Humboldt Fair feels very privileged to have this race in his honor this year and in years to come.”

The Ferndale races are set for a six-day run, with consecutive Friday, Saturday and Sunday programs on August 19-20-21 and 26-27-28. 

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