Very low polymorphism in the germplasm typically used by breeding programs poses a significant bottleneck with regards to molecular breeding and the exploitation of breeding materials for quantitative trait analyses. California rice cultivars, derived from a very small base of temperate japonica germplasm and having a relatively brief breeding history, are a good example. In this study, we employed a reduced representation sequencing approach called Restriction Enzyme Site Comparative Analysis (RESCAN) to simultaneously identify and genotype single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in forty-five rice cultivars representing the majority of the 100 year-old breeding history in California. Over 20,000 putative SNPs were detected relative to the Nipponbare reference genome which enabled the identification and analysis of inheritance of pedigree haplotypes. Haplotype blocks distinguishing modern California cultivars from each other and from the ancestral short grain temperate japonica cultivars were easily identified. Reduced representation sequencing methods such as RESCAN are a valuable alternative to SNP chip genotyping and low coverage whole genome sequencing.