While horse racing takes place on nearly every day of the year, certain tracks hold the large bulk of races. The meccas of horse racing are in the USA, with tracks in California, Florida, Kentucky, and New York holding the largest tracks in the sport.
Due to how horses go from track to track and are constantly moving up and down in course, it is very good to know what the big league places are, where there is a little consistent racing, and where the lower tracks are by default.
What Makes a Big League Track?
Being that the greatest days in horse racing are usually Saturdays, what makes the elite tracks stand out is that while they have enormous cards on the weekend, the amount of competition during the week is usually solid too.
Obviously, the largest tracks are those that boast the top gaming quantity, not to mention that the largest audiences. As such, these tracks naturally often draw the maximum elite horses at the game.
Let us take a peek at the greatest circuits.
The Tracks in Southern California
Both primary tracks in Southern California, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, are of elite quality. Recent Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify both began their careers in SoCal.
Santa Anita Park
The majority of Southern California racing takes place at Santa Anita, located about 10 miles from Los Angeles.
Together with the San Gabriel Mountains in the space, it’s a gorgeous facility which has hosted the Breeders Cup nine times. Bob Baffert, Hall of Fame coach and the conditioner for the last two Triple Crown winners, calls Santa Anita his home track.
After Hollywood Park closed in 2013, Santa Anita picked up a lot of their racing program including prestigious races. However, after a large quantity of horse-related health incidents late in 2018, Santa Anita is only open for”limited racing” until further notice.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
For centuries, in July to September, Del Mar hosted among the very best horse racing seasons. That match remains intact and consistently receives a ton of gambling volume, but when Hollywood Park closed in 2013, Del Mar picked up much more racing. Now, it has major winter matches in both November and December as well.
The Largest Tracks in Florida
There has been a time that the Sunshine State had strong racing cards for the majority of the year in a variety of tracks. But, Calder Race Course is gone today and Tampa Bay Downs has become a decidedly mediocre track. That leaves only 1 elite monitor in Florida.
Gulfstream Park
Situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Gulfstream Park essentially runs all year round.
Gulfstream Park excels with its own winter racing because of Flordia’s temperate winter climate. When the remainder of the country is in the throes of winter, Florida generally has warm problems.
Gulfstream Park is known for its two-year-old racing and early Kentucky Derby prep races.
Since 2017, the track has hosted the richest race in the usa, the Pegasus World Cup. By minding a bag of at least $9 million dollars, the Pegasus World Cup ensures a high-level field which frequently comprises the very same horses that run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
The Biggest Tracks in Kentucky
The huge bulk of racehorses in the United States are bred at the”Bluegrass State” or, more commonly called Kentucky. It’s considered to be the core of the racing business, in which horses are bred, raised, and where they start training. Unsurprisingly, the country boasts possess several excellent tracks.
Churchill Downs
Home of the Kentucky Derby, horses at Churchill Downs operate beneath the iconic Twin Spires, responsible for perhaps the most recognizable images in all of horse racing.
Churchill has hosted the Breeders’ Cup nine times. The racing frequency in Churchill Downs is changeable based on the season, but tends to be high particularly leading up to the Run for the Roses.
For many years Keeneland didn’t have a public address announcer. They did not need to interrupt the natural beauty and noise of horses running. In other words, they value heritage and the essence and purity of rushing in Lexington.
They run two high end meets that last approximately fourteen weeks per day, respectively. The Blue Grass Stakes is a premier Kentucky Derby prep race in April, while the autumn meet in October includes a half dozen preps for the Breeders’ Cup.
The Biggest Tracks in New York
New York State is home to the most vibrant horse racing community. There are three big paths and each plays an significant function in the horse racing circuit. New York has always had a passionate horse racing community, along with the racing is celebrated for big areas of the year.
A stone’s throw away from John F. Kennedy airport, the Big A has significantly less regarded dates when compared to other New York tracks maybe because Belmont and Saratoga are so admired. After the sun comes out in the spring in the Aqueduct, it hosts several Kentucky Derby prep races like the Gotham Stakes and Wood Memorial.
Opened in 1894, Aqueduct includes a dirt trail and two turf courses.
Belmont Park
Situated on Long Island and home to the Belmont Stakes (the next jewel of the Triple Crown), Belmont Park has two meets. The first begins in late April and runs through mid-July and the moment from mid-September through late October.
Founded in 1905, Belmont’s huge track,”Big Sandy” is a-mile-and-a-half long. This permits the horses to run mile races which have just 1 turn. It features one of the greatest home moves that can often be an edge for horses coming from the pace. On the other hand, the track’s long straightaway can also leave frontrunners tired as it feels like the final drive is not going to finish.
Essentially every fantastic racehorse to ever run has spent a while at Belmont, such as Secretariat who completed the Triple Crown by winning the 1973 Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths.
The summer hideaway for New York racing fans is Saratoga, located just north of Albany at Saratoga Springs.
Opened in 1893, Saratoga has something for every fan of horse racing.
The racing is elite, crowds big, and the downtown area is full of bars and restaurants full of racegoers. Known affectionately as the Graveyard of Champions, champions Man o’ War, Gallant Fox, Secretariat, Rachel Alexandra, and American Pharoah all came up short at Saratoga.
Big, But Not Elite: Horse Racing’s Secondary Tracks
A lot of other monitors either hold a couple of major days of racing each year or have pretty good if not great rivalry throughout their matches.
Arlington Park
In the Chicago suburbs, Arlington has a pristine old grandstand which was rebuilt after the original was destroyed by fire.
Every August, Arlington’s International Festival of Racing, known for turf racing, features three top notch races all in one day. Racegoers can wager on the Arlington Million, Beverly D., and the Secretariat Stakes in 1 go.
Located just outside Baltimore, Pimlico is only known for 2 one-day-only events. It hosts the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown on the third Saturday in May. Additionally, Pimlico hosts a powerful program on Black-Eyed Susan Day that’s the Preakness equivalent for female horses.
Monmouth Park
About the Jersey Shore, Monmouth retains the first big three-year-old race after the Triple Crown. It consistently has a massive audience and a great card to the Haskell Invitational, which occurs in either in late July or early August.
Monmouth has been around since 1870, and the degree of racing has varied during the years. It recently became the first track where sports gambling was allowed in the USA, which might help the racing industry dramatically as some earnings could pour in the track.
Oaklawn Park
House of the Festival of the South every April, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR, is where American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby before going on into the Triple Crown. Present winners Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, and Zenyatta all hurried at Oaklawn.
Fair Grounds
Opened in 1952, there is strong racing throughout the meet at Fair Grounds. New Orleans’ Fair Grounds track is equally as historical as the city it is located in. Running from late November through March, the Louisiana Derby has generated three Kentucky Derby winners. Fair Grounds will have lots of the same trainers, jockeys and owners since Churchill Downs.
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