The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce is gambling on horse racing for their annual fall fundraiser.


The chamber's "Hesperia Downs" fundraiser will be held Friday in the Terrace Room of Foremost Healthcare in lieu of the traditional casino night the chamber has relied on in years past.


The centerpiece of the event is a board game-like horse race.


"You put a grid on the floor and it has six lanes and it has furlongs," said Yvonne Woytovich, president and CEO of the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce. "It's done by rolling dice. So we have three 24-inch dice. ... Each side of the dice, 1 through 6, represents one of the horses."


Horses are either built or decorated by various chamber members or are one of the chamber's hobbyhorses available to any participants. Each time a given horse comes up on the dice, they move forward a single square.


"It tends to be a lot of fun," Woytovich said. "The whole group is involved and people are cheering on whatever they bet on."


Attendees will receive an allotment of wooden nickels when they buy their ticket to the fundraiser and use those to bet on the races.


"At the end of the night, you trade in your winnings and get raffle tickets," she said.


All raffle prizes are valued at $25 or more, and include gift baskets and gift certificates.


In keeping with the derby theme, the chamber is also holding Most Elegant and Most Outrageous hat contests.


The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce's Hesperia Downs fundraiser is open to the public and will be held Friday at Foremost Healthcare at 17581 Sultana Street. Drinks and food are served starting at 5:30 p.m. and the nine races begin at 6:30 p.m.


Tickets are $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by visiting HesperiaCC.com or by calling (760) 244-2135.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.