Racing on the present site on Boroughbridge Road began on August 6, 1900. but racing has taken place at a number of locations in the city from as far back as 1664 when it hosted its first meeting on Bondgate Green. An 1856 OS map shows a racecourse on the north side of the Ure beside the road to Thirsk and adjacent to the railway station.
Racing in the town first gained national attention in 1723 when the city hosted Britain's first horse race for female jockeys.
It was voted the 'Best Small Racecourse in the North' by the Racegoers' Club in 2003.
The annual race season at Ripon now includes Ripons "Big Night Out" and Family Day in May, Ladies Day in June and the opening day of the Go Racing in Yorkshire in July. There are other fixtures throughout the year including Children's Day, Great St. Wilfrid Day and the Ripon Champion Two-Year-Old Trophy all taking place in August.
The course is a flat, right-handed oval of 1 mile 5 furlongs with a sharp bend preceding the 5 furlong run in. There is a chute which creates a six furlong straight course. The cramped bends and undulations in the straight make the course very sharp.