The Oakland Trotting Park, built by Edward Wiard in 1871, was originally in unincorporated Alameda County, located north of Emery Tract and west of San Pablo Avenue. When Emeryville was incorporated on December 2, 1896, the racetrack fell within the border of the newly created town. (The nearby neighborhoods would not become part of the City of Oakland until an 1897 annexation vote.) The mile long racetrack featured both thoroughbred and harness horse racing, and at the time, wagering on the races was legal.
Surrounding the track were elegant grandstands, and beyond that extensive stables extended from Park Avenue to Powell Street.
Temescal Creek was re-routed through an underground culvert below the racetrack.
During a visit to Oakland on October 25, 1879 President Ulysses S. Grant was at the finish line when the legendary horse St. Julien broke the one-mile trotting record.
The Oakland Trotting Park was renamed the New California Jockey Club in 1896 following a complete renovation./p>
From 1871 until 1911 the racetrack provided amusement to East Bay residents. In 1911, however, horse racing was outlawed by the State of California. Although horse racing was later reinstated in 1933, by that time the racetrack was gone.
After horse racing ended in 1911, the track was used for a few years motorcar racing as well as airplane racing and aerial acrobatics.
Demolition began in 1915, but the remaining structures caught fire and burned to the ground before the job had been completed.
Today on the site of the former racetrack stands an industrial park. The area includes most of the land occupied today by the Pixar and Novartis corporate campuses.
Comment on Oakland
It is not correct to say that the OTP was in Oakland. From the third source below:
(Contrary to popular belief, Emeryville was never a part of the City of Oakland. The confusion arises because Alameda County was divided into a series of “townships”, the northernmost of which was called “Oakland township”. Emeryville was in Oakland township, but not within the city limits of Oakland.)
Was basing the Oakland location for the racetrack on the official directory at that time, not on postcards, which can sometimes be inaccurate. In the 1887 "Alameda, Oakland and Berkeley Directory" [BTW, great reading, all 919 pages of the PDF!] the Oakland Trotting Park (page 82), is listed in the Oakland street directory, as is the Shell Mound Park (page 84), which is described as "on Central Pacific Railroad, west of Oakland Trotting Park"which today is also located in Emeryville, and also Powell (page 83) located "north of Oakland Trotting Park, from San Pablo Avenue to the bay." Also, in the directory section listing the names and addresses of individuals living in Oakland, some of the employees of the racetrack are listed with the Oakland Trotting Park as their only Oakland address.