The first thing you need to do is bookmark this page. It’s going to serve as your “go-to” guide for everything you want to know about all the top horse racing venues around the globe. Are you interested in some of the top tracks in America like Churchill Downs or Santa Anita Park? Or would you rather learn about the most acclaimed racecourses in the United Kingdom like Epsom Downs and Ascot?
Either way, we have you covered, thanks to this all-inclusive hub page for all the top tracks in the world. There are simply too many esteemed racetracks in multiple countries for us to try and squeeze everything into one small guide. Talking about Belmont Park or Aintree Racecourse in just a few short paragraphs wouldn’t be fair, and quite frankly, it wouldn’t do the venues justice.
This page is going to act as your “central hub” for locating the plethora of individual pages we have created. Not only are you going to read detailed information about the horse racing facilities, but we are going to reveal records and facts from the most renowned races that take place there.
All our betting fans need not to worry; we didn’t forget about you. When you click on one of the buttons to each dedicated page, you will get the answers you’re looking for. The whys and hows when it comes to placing a bet at each track can be found by exploring the links we provide.
We had been searching the internet for an organized catalog of the best racecourses in the world and just couldn’t find one that was as clean and well-planned-out as we like. So here we are, designing our own.
Before you start jumping into the specific horse tracks, here is a brief overview of what you are going to find when you read them.
We’ll start out with a little bit of history about the property. When it got started, why it was opened, and who was responsible are just a few of the questions we cover as we introduce each site. We want our readers to have a full picture of what the facility looks and feels like.
On top of describing particular details about each venue, we bring up the most famous races. Whether it’s the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse or the Grand National at Aintree, we promise not to leave out any of the prominent races on any of the horse racing calendars.
We also cover betting information and tips and advice on traveling to each destination. Not only how to actually get there, but what else is around the area that offers some fun and entertainment.
You will notice that many of the horse racing facilities are conveniently positioned in populated areas with good local infrastructure. However, others are in more rural regions and offer a different vibe and scenery. All you have to do is check them out, and you’ll find out which category each one falls in.
Now that you are familiar with what information can be found on our individual racetrack pages, we ought to tell you how we came up with our list in the first place.
The Top Tracks in the World – What Makes Them So Great?
Becoming one of the most illustrious horse racing venues on the planet doesn’t happen overnight. In order to reach the upper echelon of racetracks, memorable moments need to occur, and they need to happen time and time again. You won’t find many racecourses on our list that were built in the recent years. The tracks with the most history and tradition are the ones we’ve mainly focused on.
The venues that host the most recognizable races in the world certainly have a justified place in our list. The ones with the largest capacities and coolest features? Don’t worry; we cover those as well.
If you are just looking for the nearest place to bet on horses or to watch them race, this PROBABLY isn’t the guide for you. If you are a man or woman who appreciates “landmarks” or you are just a huge fan of horse racing, continue reading below. You won’t be disappointed.
Not Every Track Is the Same
As you will undoubtedly learn in the separate pages, every racetrack is unique. Not all the courses were built the same way, and not all the grandstands were designed for the same reasons. Not every track is even used for the same purpose! One of the more obvious things you’ll come to find out is that not every track has the same type of surface.
What are the different types of surfaces?
Due to all the different “iterations” of the sport of horse racing, you will find that facilities use different types of surfaces based on the types of races that will be run. There are some old-fashioned tracks that have an outside oval consisting of dirt. That encircles a smaller, inside turf course. Turf-only courses are common in some regions, too.
Then you have tracks like the one in California, where after 2007, they were forced to go to the synthetic materials. Going to an artificial design made up of sand, fibers, and waxy materials is designed to make the ground safer for the horses to run on. These surfaces are MUCH easier to maintain than ones packed with good-old dirt!
Some courses in England have gone to the Polytrack surface, which is essentially just a combination of sand, fibers, and wax, mixed with some recycled rubber. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a time and a day come where all racecourses around the world are fitted with some sort of synthetic surface.
What are the different types of racing?
When it comes to types of horse racing, there are more than a couple variations. Each one has distinct features making them stand out. Because of this, some courses are “littered” with obstacles and jumps to make the races a “wee bit” more interesting. They are set up in a way that has little resemblance to the type of race you might be used to watching.
The whole point of organizing this catalog of horse tracks was so you could be entertained and gain some insight. Let’s look at some more examples showing you that “not all tracks were created equal.”
The most popular type of horse racing is without a doubt Thoroughbred racing. It’s the one where jockeys ride their horses as fast as they can to the finish line. Keep in mind that there are two types of Thoroughbred racing. Where you are located will be the determining factor of which form is more common.
Thoroughbred Flat Racing
The most famous thoroughbred races in America take place on a dirt track and generally last between a mile and a mile and a half. The three races that immediately come to mind are the ones that make up the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. This includes the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse, and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
Started in 1984, The Breeders’ Cup has quickly emerged as one of the premier Thoroughbred racing series in the world. The Championship race, the Breeders’ Cup Classic, showcases a handsome $6 million purse.
If you see a big race on television and you see horses running on a dirt track with no obstacles, you are watching a Thoroughbred flat race.
In the United Kingdom and some other regions, flat racing takes place mostly on turf.
Thoroughbred Jump Racing
Now let’s say you are watching a race and you see horses running on a turf course, but also jumping over fences and hurdles during the race. That’s called jump racing. It’s exactly as it sounds. Instead of simply galloping from the starting gate to the finish line, the horses must clear the obstacles that lie in front of them.
In the United States, they call it Steeplechase racing. In the United Kingdom, where this form of racing is most heavily centered, they call it National Hunt racing. Racing as fast as they can was already a tall task. Now the horses are forced to endure a multitude of ditches and fences on their way to the finish line.
Some of the most well-known National Hunt races include the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse and the Grand National at Aintree. Cheltenham is the capital of National Hunt in Britain, while the racecourse in Liverpool hosts the Grand National every April: the “granddaddy” event of National Hunt racing.
Harness racing is horse racing as well, but it is quite different than the types we discussed above. In harness racing, the jockey doesn’t physically sit on top of the horse while riding. Instead, he or she will sit in a sulky, which is the term used for the two-wheel cart that the jockey rides in.
Harness racing, while not nearly as prevalent as Thoroughbred racing (flat and jump racing), still has a place in the sport of horse racing. In harness racing, you won’t find Thoroughbred horses. In the United States and Canada, only standardbred horses are eligible to participate, while Russian and French Trotters are found in European countries.
There are two main types of harness racing to focus on – trotting and pacing.
Trotting is the more common version of harness racing. Trotting horses are the ones who gallop using a diagonal pattern. Basically, when they move their front right foot, they are simultaneously moving the back left foot.
The Hambletonian Stakes at Meadowlands Racetrack is the most notable event in the world of trotting. The first leg of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing sports a $1 million prize-pool and is run on the first Saturday in August.
Pacing is when a horse uses the legs on the same side together in order to gain speed. In other words, when a pacing horse picks up his front right leg, his back right leg follows. Once those two feet land on the ground, the horse would move his front left and back left legs in the same fashion.
The Little Brown Jug at the County Fairgrounds in Ohio is the pacing race that first comes to mind when thinking about the most significant one. If you want to check out the one-mile dirt race, it’s run on the third Thursday after Labor Day every single year.
It’s Not Just Horse Racing at These Fantastic Venues
Many of the properties on our list are used to house some other pretty extraordinary events in addition to horse races. For example, some of them have been the home to some major concerts and other musical festivals.
If the Beatles can do a concert at a horse track, we think any artist or group would be honored to perform at one as well.
If you like sporting events besides horse racing, chances are you can catch one of those at a track, too. For example, the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is not just a racetrack; it’s a mega sports complex. Both the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL franchises play their home games in the stadium that is on site.
Belmont Park, famously the home of the Belmont Stakes, will be attracting a whole new crop of fans to the property once 2020 rolls around. The New York Islanders of the NHL are in the process of completing an 18,000-square-foot arena to bring hockey spectators to the park. The project will also include more than 400,000 square feet of retail space for shopping and a hotel with more than 200 rooms.
If Belmont Park wasn’t a busy place before, watch out for when Belmont Arena makes its debut.
In a nutshell, stadiums, parks, and other sporting facilities want to adjust and be the most efficient spaces they can be. For us fans, that means the horse tracks will be offering loads of other entertainment. However, betting on the Thoroughbred races still might be the most fun.
Thanks for using this guide as your all-in-one page for everything you want to know about the top horse racing venues in the world. It takes something special for a venue to find a spot on our list, so the tracks and courses we named should not be taken lightly.
We mostly referenced those horse racing facilities that truly stand out amongst the plethora of tracks around the globe. The ones who host the most-respected and highly-anticipated events of the year are the ones we focused on.
We mentioned the different types of surfaces the courses are outfitted in, as well as went into great detail about the different versions of the sport. It’s not just Thoroughbred flat racing that matters. What the horses must endure during the jump and harness racing events may be even more impressive than the ones simply racing with no obstacles.
It was important we let you know that many of the greatest horse racing venues to make our cut didn’t make it by ONLY hosting horse races. Some of the top ones have held significant concerts, not to mention other professional sporting events.
Here’s the bottom line. The places we created individual guides for are more than worthy of having their own page. We want you to have in-depth guides to numerous racetracks, and we want them to be nice and handy. Bookmark the page, and you’ll never have to search for the greatest horse racing venues again.