Travelling To US For Horse Racing: Tracks To Visit

Horse racing is one of the few sports that can take fans across the world to watch the best action. Therefore, it is little surprise that there has been a steady rise in tourists visiting some of the most popular international tracks within the United States over recent years.

Huge events such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup continue to rank among the most popular, but there are a number of hidden gem tracks that should be visited should international fans ever find themselves within America. But, what are some of the best tracks to visit in the U.S.?


One of the most popular racetracks to visit for international visitors in the United States is Saratoga, which will be hosting the Belmont Stakes for the next two editions. You can find more info about that event here:

Saratoga was opened in August 1863, and it is one of the most scenic racecourses in the United States. It is also a historic venue to watch racing action, as only three tracks have been open longer than the Spa.

The track hosts both turf and dirt races throughout the season, and it now boasts action on track far longer than the original four day-meet that was in operation when it first opened. Nowadays, there are over 40 days of action at Saratoga throughout the season, with the action on track running between July and early September.

A number of huge Grade 1s are staged at Saratoga every season, but few are as prestigious as the Travers Stakes. The Travers has been staged annually since 1864, and it is one of the summer highlights for horses aged three.

However, it has often thrown up shock results, most notably in 2015 when American Pharoah was beaten by Keen Ice. In total, 17 Grade 1s are held at Saratoga annually, which include the Coaching Club American Oaks, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Whitney Stakes.

Gulfstream Park

Located in Florida, there are few better racetracks in the U.S. to visit than Gulfstream Park. It is home to a number of the biggest races on the calendar in North America, and is a hot spot for entertainment and shopping in Hallandale Beach. Unlike many of the most famous courses in the United States, Gulfstream is open 365 days a year.

It is owned by The Stronach Group, with three prestigious meets shaping the year-long calendar. The most prestigious of these is the Championship Meet, which runs between December and March. April to September sees the Royal Palm Meet staged, while the remaining months on the calendar form the Flamingo Festival.


The biggest race on the calendar at Gulfstream is the G1 Pegasus World Cup. This race is run on the dirt, and has been staged annually since 2017. It was previously the richest race on the international schedule, before being surpassed by the Dubai World Cup.

Nowadays, a talented field takes to post to compete for their share of the $3 million purse. A number of famous horses have claimed victory in the Pegasus World Cup, including Arrogate, Gun Runner, and Knicks Go.

Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Park is widely regarded as one of the best horse racing venues within the United States, with action on track taking place during early summer and winter. It was first opened to fans on Christmas Day in 1934 but has been closed on a number of occasions in order to enhance the race day experience of fans in attendance. Such is the positive racing experience for visitors at the track, it has been selected as the host of the Breeders’ Cup on eleven previous occasions.

It was also home to equestrian events for the Olympic Games in 1984. Nowadays, the track is owned by the Stronach Group, and international visitors commonly pass through the gates at the track in California. A total of 13 Grade 1 races are held at Santa Anita ever year, with the most recent event being the American Oaks, which was added in 2002.


However, few races at Santa Anita are as famous as the Santa Anita Derby. This race was first staged in 1935, with runners aged three competing in one of the key preps for the Kentucky Derby. As a major final race, it has ranked as one of the most successful, with a number of famous Triple Crown winners landing victories at Santa Anita.

One of the most famous winners came in 1988, as Winning Colors became the first filly to win both the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby. Affirmed is also a dominant previous winner of the race in California after landing success at the track before sweeping the Triple Crown series in 1978. Among the other big Grade 1s that are staged at Santa Anita every year include the American Pharoah Stakes, Frank E. Kilroe Mile, and the Hollywood Gold Cup Stakes.