Also known as Saint Roche’s Hill, the ‘Trundle’ is a vantage point high on the South Downs, at an elevation of 675 feet, approximately three miles north of the cathedral city of Chichester, West Sussex in South East England. Strictly speaking, the ‘Trundle’ refers to an Iron Age hill fort on Saint Roche’s Hill, the ditches and embankments marking the perimeter of which are still clearly visible, but nowadays the names are often used interchangeably. The name ‘Trundle’ is derived from the Old English word ‘tryndel’, or its variant ‘trendel’, meaning ‘circle’ or ‘ring’.
The top of the Trundle offers panoramic views across the coastal plain, and the English Channel beyond, to the south and the Weald to the north. In particular, from a horse racing perspective, the northeastern slope of the Trundle offers a clear view of Goodwood Racecourse, making it a popular, inexpensive, albeit slightly remote, viewing platform when racing is in progress. In 1933, the Duke of Richmond fenced in most of the Trundle and built an admission gate to create the ‘Trundle Enclosure’, with an admission fee of 3/- per person. The Trundle may not be as popular a vantage point as it once was, but is easily accessible by car, with a car park near the top, and nowadays offers free grandstand views of the racecourse.
A flag bet is a full cover, combination bet akin to the ubiquitous ‘Yankee’ insofar as it covers four selections, participating in four different events, in six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold accumulator. However, while a Yankee consists of eleven bets, a flag also bundles together six pairs of ‘if cash’ or ‘any-to-come’ wagers, known as ‘single stakes about’ or ‘up-and-down’ bets, to make a total of twenty-three bets.
Of course nowadays Online Bookies, not just ‘bricks and mortar’ establishments offer a myriad of ways to place a bet, be it single, multiple and so on. Also options such as ‘cash out’ are sometimes available actually during a live event allowing you to take the money and run, as they say. Or alternatively see the bet out if you have enough confidence in your selection.
Each single stake about bet is a wager on two selections, in two different events, and consists of two single bets. Thus, for four selections, A, B, C and D, a flag bet includes single stakes about bets on AB, AC, AD, BC, BD and CD. For the sake of simplicity, consider just the selections A and B; if selection A wins, the return on the single bet is used to fund an additional single bet, up to the original stake, on selection B, and vice versa. Of course, if either selection loses, the return on the original single bet is zero, so the additional single bet on the other cannot be funded, and both original stakes are lost. If both selections A and B lose, the return from the single stakes about bet is zero.
In the absence of an objective measure of the abilities of racehorses from different generations, any discussion of the ‘greatest’ racehorses of all time is inevitably highly subjective. According to Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings World, formerly Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, which began in 1977, Frankel, who retired, unbeaten, in October, 2012, is the highest-rated horse in the history of official classifications. Even so, Frankel only achieved that position after a controversial ‘recalibration’ of the ratings, which saw Dancing Brave, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1986, downgraded by 3lb.
Timeform agrees that Frankel is the highest-rated horse, on the Flat, at least, since its first ‘Racehorses’ annual, published in 1948, 2lb superior to Sea Bird, winner of the Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1965 and fully 7lb superior to Dancing Brave. Timeform also has Arkle, winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965 and 1966 at the head of its all-time list of steeplechasers; his rating of 212 is 20lb superior to any steeplechaser, bar stable companion Flyingbolt, in over five decades. According to Timeform, Brigadier Gerard, who tasted defeat just once in his eighteen-race career in the early Seventies, is rated 3lb inferior to Frankel, but must be considered one of the greatest racehorses of all time. So, too, must Eclipse, who won all eighteen starts between April, 1764 and February, 1789 without being asked a serious question.
Horse racing is one of the most popular and oldest sports in the world. There is evidence of it as far back as during the Roman Empire, with competitors racing horses whilst standing behind them on chariots. And it has been in no decline over the years.
In fact, following the COVID-19 pandemic, horse racing was one of the first sports to get back to business, and as a result saw its popularity increase. As people were stuck without being able to watch football, basketball and a number of other sports, more TV coverage was horse racing’s gain whilst others lost out.
For those who have been invested in horse racing for much longer though, there are always some races that they look forward to more than others. The US has some of the best races and tracks in the world when it comes to horse racing, maybe not THE BEST in the world, it’d be hard to compare anything with Aintree, England and its world famous Grand National race. But they certainly have some spectacular ones, and here are some of our favourites.
Churchill Downs, Pimlico Park and Belmont Park
Now there is a reason why we have combined these three tracks together, and that’s because they are the three tracks that make up the legendary Triple Crown in the US. First up in the Triple Crown races is the Kentucky Derby, known as The Run for the Roses. Taking place on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
The course has a magnificent grandstand that looks over the 147 acre site, with the race run over a distance of 1 ¼ miles, or 10 furlongs/2,000 metres. The course is an absolute spectacle that people flock to in huge numbers, even famous figures have been in attendance at some of the biggest races it hosts, such as Jack Nicholson and Queen Elizabeth II.
The next race in the Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes, nicknamed The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. The Preakness takes place two weeks after the Derby on the third Saturday of May, at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
Whilst it may be a slightly shorter race with the Preakness stakes seeing colts, geldings and fillies racing over a distance of 1 3/16 miles, or 9/5 furlongs/1,900 metres, it doesn’t take away from the history of the track, which is the second oldest in US history. Opened to the public in 1870, Pimlico Park sees some of the biggest events outside of the Triple Crown take place there too, such as the Dixie Stakes and the Pimlico Special.
The final track of the Triple Crown is Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, which hosts the Belmont Stakes, known as The Test of the Champion. This race takes place on the third
Saturday following the Preakness Stakes, usually making it the first or second Saturday in June. It has the longest running distance of any American race course, and so is also the longest race of the Triple Crown at 1 ½ miles, or 12 furlongs/2,400 metres.
It too has a long and illustrious history much like Pimlico, having operated as far back as 1905. Alongside the Belmont Stakes, it also hosts some other incredible spectacles too, such as the Champagne Stakes, Man O’ War Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and Mother Goose Stakes.
Despite how long the Triple Stakes has operated for, only 13 horses have ever won all three races to claim the prize. The first being Sir Barton in 1919, and the last being Justify in 2018.
Situated in Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago, Arlington park is one of the most beautiful tracks in the whole of the US. It too, like the others, has amassed quite the history over the years, having opened up to the public in 1927, and hosting the first ever $1 million horse race with the Arlington Million.
Sadly, it wasn’t all good times for Arlington Park when in 1985, the grandstand that was famous around the world, was burnt to the ground during a horrendous disaster. But, like a phoenix from the ashes, it has been rebuilt and is as beautiful as ever, allowing fans to witness the continuation of that million dollar race that it made history for.
New Jersey is known for many things; the TV Show Jersey Shore, musical icons such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Frank Sinatra, and there are some of the best casinos NJ has to offer there as well. But it is also home to Monmouth Park, nicknamed The Shore.
Again, this is another track that is over 100 years old, with the track dating back to 1870 when it was first situated in Oceanport New Jersey, near the Atlantic Ocean. And it has seen many big races in its time, including its flagship races, the grade one Haskell Invitational Handicap and the United Nations Stakes.
That’s it from us, what are your favourites?
There you have some of the best tracks in the US, in our opinion anyway. But are there some that should get a special mention? Some favourites we’ve missed off? Why not get in touch and let us know what you think should’ve made our list of the best horse race tracks in the US.