A number of horse race meetings were held in the early days of European settlement throughout Northland with both European and Maori races. After a number of failed attempts by clubs the Whangarei Racing Club was formed in 1820 with racing held at Kensington Park in Whangarei. In 1976 the racing was transferred to the current location at the southern end of Peter Snell Road, Ruakaka, adjacent to Bream Bay.
The coastal location is idyllic in summer and the well-draining sand based profile of the kikuyu grass tracks provides a strategic winter racing and training venue for NZ thoroughbred racing. The Club is scheduled for nine meetings a year but from time to time has been asked, particularly in winter, to take on additional meetings when southern areas of the upper North Island are too water logged.
The facilities are small, of provincial standard with an enjoyable intimate feel. The west facing elevated seating is under cover and permits excellent viewing of the racing on the track that has a circumference of 1850 metres. Entry to the course is from the northern end via Peter Snell Road that comes from the small Ruakaka Village shopping centre. Free car parking is available close to the facilities on the eastern or beach side of the track.