If you’re a horse racing fan who wants to check out all the best venues, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ve gathered several interesting racecourses across America, ten to be exact. While some destinations are more significant than others, we’ve listed them from west coast to east coast.
Many horse racing fans try their luck at sports betting. If that’s you, you may want to visit TVG to check out the odds at some of the racecourses we’ve covered below.
Santa Anita Park
Starting in sunny California, Santa Anita Park is otherwise known as the Great Race Place to fans of horse racing. Nestled in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains and only a hop away from Los Angeles, it’s naturally a significant venue for horse racing fans based on the west coast. It can comfortably fit 40,000 people, so we’re sure you can fit in somewhere!
Del Mar Fairgrounds
Close by to San Diego is the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the second major racecourse based in California. Being located closer to the sea, it facilitates races six days a week and has an interesting history behind it. The track was founded by several Hollywood elite, most notably Bing Crosby and Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame. Crosby recorded a short promotional song, “Where the Surf Meets the Turf,” which is still played before the day’s races start.
In the New Mexican desert and nestled by the mountainous oasis that is the Lincoln National Forest, the Ruidoso Downs is the place to be for fans of quarter horse racing. It’s the host of the All American Futurity which carries a purse of $2 million. While you’re there and placing bets, there’s also a casino built into the venue.
If you’re looking for a venue closer to the South, look no further than Hot Springs, Arkansas, home of Oaklawn Park. The place is a good visit during their day-to-day races but gets even better if visited during the Racing Festival of the South, which is used as preparation for the Kentucky Derby, so you can witness the best horse talent in action.
Up north from Arkansas, in Illinois, you can find Arlington Park. Situated close to Chicago, this is the most accessible popular horse racing site for those from the Great Lakes region. It takes advantage of the full fields in the area and also features the Million Room, a renowned restaurant that overlooks the track.
Our journey across the US brings us now to Kentucky, home to one of the most prestigious race tracks. That’d be Churchill Downs, the host of the annual Kentucky Derby. Based in Louisville, the Derby can see attendance in the six-figure range, so some prefer to visit when it’s quieter. They even have a nearby museum that will keep horse racing history buffs happy!
Just east of Churchill Downs is the Keeneland Racecourse, an elegant (if often overshadowed) venue that hosts its own top-notch races. Many hit both Churchill and Keeneland in the same week to take advantage of all the horse racing action possible. The spring meet is particularly interesting there because it’s used as a prep event for the Kentucky Derby at the Downs.
Pimlico Race Course
Any fan of thoroughbred horse racing should have heard of the Preakness Stakes. The event is hosted at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Like Churchill Downs, it’s also an older venue that benefits from historical significance. The Preakness Stakes itself was started in 1873 and is one-third of the Triple Crown along with the Kentucky Derby.
We finish our list with two venues in New York state, the first one being just outside the city itself. Belmont Park is otherwise known as Big Sandy for its sweeping, water-resistant track that guarantees a fair race. Its placement near NYC and the fact it’s the last third of the Triple Crown via the Belmont Stakes makes it a must-see venue for those on the east coast.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Saratoga Racecourse in upstate New York. It’s the oldest mainstream racecourse for American horse racing, having been started in 1863. Throughout its long existence, and even up to today, it’s hosted many champion horses. It’s even called the Graveyard of Champions since many top horses have suffered defeats there. If you’re on the east coast, you should visit and pay your respects sometime.