Horse racing is one of the most exciting sports to follow in the world, as bettors can feel the rush of excitement when there runner is edging toward the finishing line with their nose in front.
However, it is also one of the most global sports that are competed, with huge racedays being staged in all four corners. Therefore, it is an enjoyable sport to follow, as the action can take you to some of the most beautiful courses in the world. The United States has some of the most unique tracks in the world of horse racing, with each boasting their own esteemed history.
But, what are five racecourses in America that all fans should visit at least once?
There are few more picturesque racecourses in the world than Santa Anita Park, with the course having played host to some of the most iconic moments in North American racing history. Santa Anita was first opened in December 1934 after being purchased by a local rancher named Hugo Reid.
Following the legalization of pari-mutuel betting in 1933, work was completed to get Santa Anita up and running. Since its early history, the Californian track has played host to the world famous Breeders’ Cup on eleven occasions, and it was also used to host equestrian events at the 1984 Olympics. Some of the biggest races on the calendar are staged at Santa Anita, including the Santa Anita Handicap and the Santa Anita Derby.
Keeneland is one of the most important racecourses in the United States, as it hosts the annually Keeneland Sales. It is also a location of major significance, with the reference library highlighting key facts throughout the history of the sport. The course is commonly ranked among the best racecourses in the United States, and it was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Keeneland was first opened to the public in 1936, and it has welcomed some of the most famous horses throughout history. As well as hosting the Breeders’ Cup on a number of occasions, Keeneland has also welcomed royalty, with Queen Elizabeth II visiting the track in 1984. Annually, Keeneland hosts a number of prestigious Grade 1s, including the Turf Mile Stakes, Ashland Stakes, and the Blue Grass Stakes.
Churchill Downs is potentially the most recognisable racetrack in the United States, as it has hosted the Kentucky Derby throughout history. Located in Louisville, Churchill Downs was first opened to the public in 1875 under its previous name of Samuel Churchill.
It is most famous for hosting the illustrious Kentucky Derby, which forms the opening leg of the Triple Crown in the United States. You can check out how to bet on the derby and get a nice welcome bonus here: twinspires.com/200-signup/
Thousands of visitors attend racing at the track throughout the season, with as many as 170,000 spectators able to be housed at the course. While the Kentucky Derby is the standout race at Churchill Downs, the track also hosts further competitive races throughout the year, such as the Kentucky Oaks, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, and the Clark Handicap. Meanwhile, the Breeders’ Cup has been staged at Churchill Downs on nine occasions.
One of the biggest courses in north-eastern America comes in the form of Belmont Park. The track is operated by the New York Racing Association, and it was first opened to the public in 1905. There are two meets at Belmont Park during the season, with the first running between April and late July, before the fall meet is staged between September and October.
As one of the elite tracks in the United States, Belmont Park hosts no shortage of major racing throughout the season, with the biggest raceday coming when the Belmont Stakes is staged. The race forms the final leg of the Triple Crown, meaning that Belmont Park has staged some of the most famous races in the history of the sport. One of the most famous came in 2004 when 120,000 fans attended to see Smarty Jones upset the Triple Crown-chasing Birdstone.
Saratoga is one of the most beautiful racecourses in the United States, and it has been open to the public since 1863. It is commonly regarded as the oldest major sporting venue in America, but it is actually the fourth oldest racecourse in the United States. Traditionally, the Saratoga meet only lasted for four days, but it has been increased since 2010, with four days of racing being staged at the Spa.
Racing at the track gets underway in July, before closing day takes place in early September. The track in New York stages some of the most competitive races in the United States, including the Travers Stakes, Alabama Stakes, and the Jockey Club Golf Cup. However, it has also been a graveyard of champions, with Secretariat, Man o’ War, and American Pharoah all suffering earth-shattering defeats at Saratoga.