The best horse racing tracks in the US
The best horse racing tracks in the US
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.
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.