Ageless wonder returns to Ferndale, with the Fair races set to begin Friday

Ray Hamill/

Horse racing returns to the North Coast this weekend, with the Humboldt County Fair set to open on Thursday.

The annual fair will include six days of horse races, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday programs on back-to-back weekends.

And ageless wonder Barrington Harvey is expected to be on hand when the action gets under way on Friday afternoon.

At an age when many have retired or are in the process of planning to, the 59-year-old jockey believes he hasn’t even reached the homestretch of his riding career.

And he loves competing here in Humboldt County.

“It’s the highlight on my racing calendar each year when I come to Ferndale,” he said. “I just plain love it here. The weather, the food, and especially the fans make it something I look forward to each summer.

“There is something special about Ferndale and the Humboldt County Fair. I feel years younger riding here. The owners and trainers have been great to me, and the fans are simply the best. I wish the Humboldt meet lasted two months instead of two weeks.”

A native of Jamaica, Harvey began riding thoroughbreds in 1979 and is the oldest California-based jockey riding horses on a regular basis.

He has competed on the Northern California summer Fair circuit since 1992 and boasts 565 career victories and has earned in excess of $8.2 million.

The ageless wonder has also enjoyed plenty of success at the local track over the years.

He was runner-up in the jockey standings in 2010 and 2011, and rode six winners last summer to finish second once again to Hugo Herrera.

With no racing at the Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area this week, a competitive field of horses and jockeys is expected at Ferndale for opening weekend.

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