The Derby Room horse-race betting venue in California gets license

Plans to open January in Norco

A long-anticipated off-track horse race venue is expected to open in Norco around New Year’s Day, now that it has a license from the California Horse Racing Board.

The Derby Room still needs a liquor license, said Casey Zolnier, one of the owners, but that should come in the next week or two.

“We should be open right around the first, but we don’t have a set date yet,” Zolnier said. “New Year’s Day would be a safe bet.”

Horse Racing Board spokesman Mike Marten said the board voted 4-0 Thursday, Dec. 13, in Los Alamitos to give Lake Elsinore-based California Horse Racing and Sports, LLC the green light to operate a “mini-satellite wagering facility.”

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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