Classic US Horse Racing Tracks now hosting meets after Lockdown

Horse racing history in the United States stretches back over 350 years, making it older than beloved US sporting icons like baseball and football. In the true spirit of American liberty, horse racing in the Land of The Free is followed fervently by billionaires and blue-collar workers alike.

Of course, with a storied sports history comes legendary venues, and the US has a wealth of revered tracks admired across the country. Many such courses have garnered a reputation through their chequered past and notoriety amongst racing fans, trainers and jockeys, making them some of the most historic tracks in America.

At the height of the current pandemic in March, many of the biggest tracks in the US closed following Government advice. However, keen horse racing fans will be pleased to know that these three classic tracks are now hosting regular meets:

Churchill Downs

Hosting the annual Kentucky Derby is a task worthy of such a prestigious and historic course. Opened in 1875 and named in honor of the prominent Churchill family, this Louisville venue has earned the right to host The Run for The Roses.

Constructed on eighty acres of land occupied by two previous race courses, the site and its environs have evolved throughout the subsequent century and a half to become one of the most famed locations in US horse racing.

Owned and operated today by Churchill Downs Incorporated, a multi-state casino and race-track business, nearly 200,000 people visit the course for the Derby each year, making Churchill Downs a real landmark in Kentucky and indeed the whole of the South.

Although fans are not permitted to enter, there are meets taking place each week and for a full schedule, head on over to the Churchill Downs website.

Saratoga Race Track

Whilst hosting races of some kind nearly every single year since its opening in 1863, this illustrious thoroughbred race track in Saratoga Springs, New York has had to contend with some tough moments throughout its history. Competition with other thoroughbred tracks led to its closure for a season in 1896, and anti-gambling legislation halted all racing in New York State from 1911-1912.

A motley crew of owners have also taken over operations at Saratoga throughout the track’s past, none more infamous than brothel owner and heavy gambler Gottfried Waldbaum. To call him eccentric is an understatement, and his ownership even oversaw experiments on horses such as injecting them with various drugs and using electric batteries to improve their performance.

The reputation of the track was eventually restored, however, and today hosts some of the most prestigious meets in America, including the Alabama Stakes and the Whitney Handicap,

Post-lockdown, Saratoga is adjusting to the new normal but horse racing fans will be pleased to know that races are resuming and all reputable Saratoga picks include details on what’s taking place and which runners you should consider backing.

Belmont Park

Another New York native, Belmont Park sits closer to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, making it a popular day out for New Yorkers escaping the city.

Opened in 1905, its ivy-encrusted grandstand is a homage to the great race-tracks of old, and that nostalgic feeling permeates throughout this historic site.

Belmont hosts racing from April through to mid-July, known to race fans as the “Spring meet”, and again from mid-September through late October. All being well, the course is set to welcome back riders next month for the start of the fall meet.


Feature Image by Evgeni Tcherkasski from Pixabay