Horse racing in America began in the 17th Century when the British settled with their horses; it was this influence that has led to the sport being so popular even to this day, with the highlight of the year being the Kentucky Derby. The sport did take a hit in 1910 when virtually all gambling was banned in the US, but has managed to thrive since the 1930’s when 21 states reintroduced race tracks. If you have a love of horse racing, you can follow the latest races with Betfair.
Whether it’s thoroughbred racing, steeplechase or endurance, crowds are always gathered at horse racing events around the globe – even the Queen of England attends the Royal Ascot Racecourse every year, a 300-year-old tradition that was set by King George IV. Over the pond in the US, the biggest events that draw the biggest crowds and volumes of betting are the Triple Crown (which involved the Kentucky Derby we mentioned earlier) and the Breeders Cup as well as some various boutique meets.
Taking place over five weeks, the Triple Crown events consist of three thoroughbred events, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes – all which have sent jockeys and horses names into the history books, especially the thirteen who have managed to win all three crowns in a single year.
The Kentucky Derby at the Churchill Down in Louisville, KY is the first of the Triple Crown events and the biggest of the year, usually reigning in crowds of over 100,000! The race first came about in 1875 and has flourished year on year; the main event consisting of 20 horses running 1.25 miles, taking around 2 minutes. Just a mere two weeks after, horses and riders make their way to Baltimore, MD where they take on the 1900m course in the Preakness Stakes race. Finally, the Triple Crown finishes at the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Long Island, NY, which is known as “The Championship Track” as nearly all major American champions in racing history have competed on it.
As the finale of the horse racing calendar in America, The Breeders Cup is yet to take place this year. You can catch it on the first two days of November this year. The two-day event includes 14 different races and this year will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. You will see huge crowds attend the cup races from all over the country. Each race is worth at least $1 million with the biggest at the Breeder’s Cup Classic, which is open to all of the best horses in the world, having a total pot up to $6 million. At the Breeder’s Cup, the wide range of races provides a lot of opportunities for bettors, meaning you’ll find thousands of peoples in the stand and at home eagerly awaiting the results.
Aside from the previous two mentioned there are a couple of other meets which are always marked down in any horse racing fans calendar. The Saratoga Race Course houses one of the few two-year-old races in the country, which paved the way for the bigger events such as the Triple Crown the next year. If you’re wanting a livelier atmosphere, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is perfect for concerts or if you’re looking for a bit of tourism scenery, take a trip to Keeneland Racecourse to see where horse racing films Seabiscuit and Dreamer were filmed!