Professional horse racing might share British origins, but now it is a globally popular sport with passionate communities all over the world. It is one of the most unique sports in terms of popularity that isn’t specifically tied to a certain region.
Some countries share a long history with horse racing, while others are building their foundations right now.
As a horse racing enthusiast, you are probably wondering what is the best place that provides horse racing history, tradition, exciting races, betting freedom, and a lot of fellow enthusiasts to talk to.
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With that said, there are plenty of places that tick all the boxes, and are perfect for horse racing enthusiasts.
That’s why we decided to highlight some of the best places that every horse racing enthusiast should visit in their lifetime.
Let’s find out.
The Kentucky Derby unquestionably stands as America’s most renowned horse race, occurring annually on the first Saturday in May. While the main event unfolds in Louisville, it’s Lexington, often hailed as the “Horse Capital of the World,” with over 450 horse farms, including the famous Kentucky Horse Park, that solidifies this reputation.
The Kentucky Derby is the centerpiece of the expansive two-week Kentucky Derby Festival at Churchill Downs, famously dubbed the “most exciting two minutes in sports.”
The festival’s main day not only features the iconic race but also showcases fashion, dining, and entertainment. Visitors can explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and the previously mentioned Kentucky Horse Park.
Each year, the Kentucky Derby sees over $200 million in wagers and is affectionately known as “The Run for the Roses” due to the winning horse’s rose-adorned victory. The atmosphere in Kentucky leading up to and after the Kentucky Derby is truly incredible and something that every horse racing enthusiast must witness.
However, since there is a lot of interest in this event, obtaining tickets can be difficult. But don’t let this discourage you, Kentucky is a lovely place even when the Kentucky Derby is not on the calendar. There are many horse racing events frequently and there is a good chance you’d get a piece of the action all year round.
Our journey takes us to England, the birthplace of horse racing as a sport. Did you know that the Kentucky Derby was initiated by Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. after witnessing England’s Epsom Derby?
Mentioning Ascot Racecourse immediately evokes images of royalty, extravagant hats, and champagne sipping.
With a history spanning three centuries, Ascot embodies the essence of racing tradition and elegance. Whether attending the Royal Ascot or any of its prestigious events throughout the year, you’ll immerse yourself in a regal atmosphere, exceptional racing, and the opportunity to mingle with high society.
Our next destination offers a unique perspective on horse racing, as it lacks the extensive history and tradition of the previous two locations. Nevertheless, the UAE, particularly Dubai, has made remarkable strides in fostering a thriving horse racing culture in recent years.
A highlight for horse racing enthusiasts in the UAE is the prestigious Dubai World Cup, hosted annually at the Meydan Racecourse. This event draws top thoroughbreds from around the world, combining grandeur with top-tier racing to create an electric atmosphere.
A fun fact: Sports betting in Dubai is illegal apart from horse racing. You can place wagers at the Nad Al Sheba and Jebel Ali race courses.
Beyond the Dubai World Cup, several other notable races take place throughout the year, including the Dubai Racing Carnival, a multi-week event showcasing international talent. Visitors can witness thrilling contests while enjoying opulent hospitality options.
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong holds the distinction of generating the highest horse racing revenue globally, with the Hong Kong International Races ranking among the most thrilling events on the racing calendar.
These races unfold at the Sha Tin Racecourse each December, featuring four major races – the Hong Kong Vase, Hong Kong Sprint, Hong Kong Mile, and Hong Kong Cup, attracting some of the world’s best horses and jockeys.
These races are organized by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, one of Hong Kong’s oldest institutions. Visitors to Hong Kong can also explore the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and Hong Kong Museum of History to delve into local history, art, and culture.
In France, under the influence of the UK, a rich horse racing culture has flourished. The country boasts numerous horse racing tracks, museums, and stables that offer a unique perspective on the sport.
Furthermore, you can attend one of the world’s biggest flat horse races while enjoying the enchanting “City of Lights.” Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and explore the romantic charm of Paris.
For avid enthusiasts of the expansive French horse racing industry, Paris in October presents an ideal vacation destination. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe awaits your presence!
These are some of the best places that every horse racing enthusiast should visit.
They all offer a lot of horse racing action, but on top of that, you’ll learn more about horse racing history and all that is happening in the background.