The best way to experience horse racing is to immerse yourself in the sport. To do that, you should consider visiting the many horse racing tracks that can be found all over the world. We have ten of the most popular ones right here, so find the closest one and see what all the fuss is about. Maybe one day you can say you’ve visited all of them!
If you’re here, you’re likely new to horse racing and want to see what it’s all about. A big part of horse racing culture is betting on which horse wins, or places in the top three, at least. If you want to get started, here you can find odds on horse racing.
We start our list in Paris, France, with an older race track that has a rich history as one of the most prestigious horse racing venues in Europe. Longchamp was established in 1857 and, as one of the historically and currently prestigious horse racing venues, it has produced and hosted many world-class racehorses throughout its time. Europe’s biggest horse race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, is hosted at Longchamp.
9. Oaklawn Park
Established in 1905 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the original clubhouse was designed by architect Zachary Taylor Davis (who went on to design Wrigley Field, for the baseball fans among us). Originally attended by 3,000 people at its opening, multiple renovations have increased its capacity by a further 3,000.
8. Gulfstream Park
If you’re further to the east than Arkansas, here’s a racecourse that may be closer to you. Located at Hallandale Beach, Florida, Gulfstream Park started in 1939 and is considered one of the best meet destinations for the winter-spring period. After recent renovations, it features live racing across most of the year and launched the Pegasus World Cup, so there will likely be something to see when you go there.
7. Belmont Park
At Elmont, New York, Belmont Park was started in 1905 and is often called Big Sandy. Why? Due to its 1 ½ mile circumference main track and the fact all of its surfaces are water-resistant. It’s the home of the Belmont Stakes, one-third of the Triple Crown.
6. Del Mar
In California, Del Mar was started in 1937 by none other than Bing Crosby and other Hollywood elites of the period. They meet twice every year, bringing guests from nearby San Diego, the whole state, and the whole nation. It’s known for its summer meet-ups nowadays.
At Lexington, Kentucky, Keeneland was established in 1936. Up to now, they host two short racing meets every year. One of those meets hosts the Blue Grass Stakes, which is important for those preparing for the Kentucky Derby. The other meet is attended by those following the Breeders’ Cup.
4. Santa Anita
Here’s another Californian racecourse, started in 1934 at Arcadia. Santa Anita is better known as the Great Race Place in horse racing circles. It started with a bang by setting a world record for the largest reward purse at the time, at $100,000. It’s also hosted the Breeders’ Cup 10 times in the last few years.
3. Royal Ascot
This is one that almost everybody has heard of. At Ascot, the United Kingdom is the oldest racecourse on this list. The Royal Ascot was founded in 1711 and is more than a horse racing destination, its meet is a cultural event for many members of British high society, from the Queen to the most talked-about celebrities at the time. The meet happens in June and features the biggest horse racing talents in the world, attracting entrants from across the globe.
2. Churchill Downs
One of the older racecourses in America, Churchill Downs can be found in Louisville, Kentucky, and is known as the annual host to America’s biggest horse race – The Kentucky Derby. It has come a long way since its 1875 founding, consistently attracting more than 100,000 people to the venue every May.
Like the Royal Ascot, Saratoga enjoys the prestige of being the oldest American horse racecourse. It was started in 1863 in Saratoga Springs, New York, and has since become one of the most popular American venues. Its age and its close proximity to New York City is likely why. It hasn’t just hosted many horse racing champions, it’s hosted so many that they have been defeated on Saratoga’s grounds, coming to be known as the Graveyard of Champions.