Horse Racing in America – The most glamorous US racecourses

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Americans love to have a flutter on the horses.

There are some fantastic courses on which they can do that. There’s a constant stream of races for them to be placing bets on. As In the UK, there are races with small amounts of prize money, the bread and butter races. However, the top races have prize money that will take your breath away, especially if lucky enough to own the winner.

Betting is becoming increasingly popular in the USA. A US Supreme Court ruling last year paved the way for sports betting to be introduced across the country. Sites like Gamble USA are proving a real hit with American race goers who are looking to get a regulated gambling app on their mobile phone. Already this has seen the betting opportunities available increasing as more and more states legalize betting. Going to the races has always been popular though and remains so. Let’s look at the best American racecourses and the top races that they hold, both on dirt and turf.

Churchill Downs

It’s not just Muhammad Ali that has made Louisville famous. Texas had been hosting horse races since 1789 and just short of 100 years later, the Churchill Downs racetrack was opened by Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark. England played a major part in its opening as Clark had been to the Epsom Derby. From that moment on, he wanted to open a major racing track of his own and that’s just what he did. The name comes from his uncles John and Henry Churchill who owned the land the racetrack was built on.

The Churchill Downs racetrack is most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby. Again, that English influence was evident, and the race has been held since 1875. This is the longest-running continuous sporting event in the USA. More than 170,000 people attend the race which is held at the start of May. Tickets are already available for next year’s race.

Santa Anita

December 1934 was a special time for lovers of horse racing in California. That’s because on Christmas Day, this track was officially opened by the Los Angeles Turf Club. The following year the track held the Santa Anita Handicap with a record $100,000 purse.

The track became known for its famous visitors. Film stars such as Cary Grant and Betty Grable attended meetings and Bing Crosby was a stockholder. The track itself is a star having featured in many movies.

On November 1 and 2, the eyes of the racing world be on this meeting. Horses from all over the globe travel to the USA, with qualifying races being held throughout the year. November will be the 10th time this track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup, a record figure. This meeting includes races such as the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Breeders’ Cup Classic.  Over the two days the prize money totals $30m.

Belmont Park

This racetrack is situated in Elmont, New York and is famous for hosting races such as the Belmont Stakes It’s known as ‘the Championship track’ because if a horse becomes a major champion, it’s almost inevitable they will have had a race at Belmont Park.

It was opened in May 1905 and its dirt track has the nickname of ‘the Big Sandy.’  The original buildings were demolished in 1963 with the new renovated track opening five years later. It boasts a $30.7m grandstand, the largest in American racing.

The Belmont Stake is its most important race and is the third leg of the Triple Crown. It is held in early June and the largest attendance at the track was 120,139 for the 2004 Belmont Stakes. The track has also held the Breeders’ Cup meeting on four occasions.


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