American Horse Racing Tips

Last Updated 22 Apr 2020 | Commercial content | 18+

Thoroughbred horse racing in America has been a mainstay for nearly 400 years and was enjoyed by the upper and lower classes during the Progressive Era (1890s to 1920s), one of the only sports to include all social ranks at that time.

The American Jockey Club was formed in 1894 and although a ban on bookmaking and gambling in the early 20th century halted the popularity of the sport, US racing started recapturing the hearts of the public and media around the time of World War II when the likes of War Admiral (1937) and Count Fleet (1943) won the Triple Crown.

Racing has flourished since and wagering in the US has increased by the year. There are 112 American racecourses and most of the famous ones are registered historical landmarks.

Top American Horse Races

Kentucky Derby

The most watched race across the world, the Kentucky Derby – also known as ‘The Run for the Roses’ as the first horse home gets awarded a blanket of 554 roses as they enter the winner’s enclosure – is the first leg of the Triple Crown. The best three-year-old across the US is discovered here.

Preakness Stakes

The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes is run at Pimlico racecourse in Maryland. Run over a mile and one and a half furlongs, the Preakness is more of a stamina test than the Kentucky Derby. Winners of the Derby often go off a short price and have a good record in the race.

Belmont Stakes

Run in June over a mile and a half, the Belmont Stakes is the final leg of the Triple Crown and presents the hardest challenge. Multiple Triple Crown hopefuls have bitten the dust here, hence why the 13 winners are held in such high esteem. Stamina comes to the fore over this trip.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

Considered by many as the premier race in the USA horse racing calendar, although not the most well known. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is the final race run at the biggest racing festival in the US and was once the richest race in the world. A mixture of horses come together to compete in this race and it has thrown up unpredictable results in recent years.

Pegasus World Cup

First run in January 2017 at Gulfstream Park. The Pegasus World Cup is run over nine furlongs and is open to horses aged four and above, so doesn’t feature in the programme for three-year-olds. The purse for the Pegasus has dropped from $12million to just $3m this year, while from 2020, the usage of Lasix became prohibited.

Travers Stakes

Also known as the Mid-Summer Derby, the Travers Stakes is run at Saratoga over one and a quarter miles and is often taken in by the champion three-year-old colt. Rider Javier Castellano has been the man to follow in the Travers with five successes in the last ten years.

American Horse Racing Tips

Top American Horse Racing Tracks

Belmont Park

The biggest of three New York tracks, Belmont Park runs spring and fall meets and also hosts the last leg of the Triple Crown. The best Eastern-based jockeys ride here.

Saratoga

Believed to be one of the oldest sporting venues of any kind in America. Saratoga hosts a 40-day meeting every year between July and September and features some of the best horses.

Churchill Downs

Home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is the biggest track in Louisville and attracts huge crowds. Known for the twin spires on its grandstand, Churchill Downs has a deep tradition and has hosted the Breeders’ Cup on nine occasions.

Santa Anita

The prettiest and most picturesque of 112 American racetracks. Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders’ Cup on a record ten occasions and races here are regularly dominated by trainer Bob Baffert.

Gulfstream Park

One of the most important racetracks in America with a ten-month-long meeting that runs annually. Home to the Pegasus World Cup and Florida Derby.

What are the main differences between US and UK racing?

Speed is the name of the game and most races are won by horses with the best early pace, especially on the dirt. Most US tracks are ovals, therefore helping those who race closest to the rail around the sweeping turns on dirt, or sharp turns on turf.

Lasix, an anti-bleeding medication, is allowed in the US and not in the UK, while there is far more racing on synthetic surfaces in the former.

How to bet on American racing in the UK

Which bookmakers offer betting on American Horse Racing?

Most firms offer American horse racing betting. American horse racing today has become a big platform for British punters and the likes of bet365 and Betfair produce markets on the majority of courses across the country.

How to interpret American Horse Racing Odds

American Horse Racing odds are devised through parimutuel gambling, where all bets are put into a pool which determines the price of a horse based on the amount placed on that runner. There are no individual bookmakers like in Britain. The odds structure is very similar, though.

Where to find American Horse Racing Results

For American horse racing results and American horse racing cards, it is wise to look on sites such as RacingPost. If you are looking for results from the smaller venues, bookmaking firms tend to produce the goods.

How to watch American horse racing live

Sky Sports Racing show American horse racing live day-to-day on their Stateside show, which often starts around 5pm and can run through until 2am. You can also watch the action on bookmaking websites through the live stream service.

FAQ

Is horse racing popular in America?

Horse racing is popular in America but not one of the four major sports – American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey.

What are the four major horse races in America?

The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, which make up the Triple Crown. They are joined by the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which became the fourth major race after American Pharoah won the 2015 edition.

What is the longest horse race in the US?

There are several races run over a mile and a half on the Flat, but stamina-sapping contests aren’t common in the US.

What is the richest horse race in the US?

The Pegasus World Cup was the richest race before the purse was reduced. Now it’s the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which is worth $6million.

What is the oldest horse race in the US?

The Travers Stakes, which has been run since 1864.

 

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