10 North American Race Tracks You Need To Visit – Iconic Horse Race Tracks

By 12/10/2022canus

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I’m a race track aficionado. Santa Anita was the first track I ever visited, and it’s still my favorite. Seeing a horse race live from the track is an unforgettable experience. If you spend your time playing the races at some stuffy OTB or at home with TVG on the tube, then you’re missing out on the greatness of the thoroughbred racing experience.

Every horse racing fan should visit the great race tracks to soak up the ambiance, feel the crowd’s adrenaline, and see the beautiful and magnificent thoroughbred horses up close and in person. Below, I’ve listed ten horse racing tracks that everyone who loves the sport of kings should visit at least once in their lives—and preferably much more than just once!

Ah, “the Great Race Place. Nothing can beat the majestic backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, and there’s no more beautiful or better-designed paddock in the country. Even on a slow Friday, the track still gets enough visitors to make it feel alive and happening, and there’s no track in the country that handles large crowds better.

Getting in and out is a breeze even when there are 40, people packing the place, as does still happen on occasion. Saratoga is a gorgeous historic racetrack in a racing-mad city packed with horse racing fans.

What could be better? A trip to “The Spa” is like a trip back in time, and it’s something every racing fan should do at least once in their lives. Saratoga can be hot and humid in August, but who cares?

A muggy day in Saratoga is better than a perfect day anywhere else. Saratoga has a country fair atmosphere that makes it the most family-friendly of tracks. There’s something magical about Keeneland. From the well-manicured grounds to the lovely stone clubhouse, there’s an understated elegance to the place that makes you feel like you’re somewhere very special.

The racing is always top-notch, and big daily crowds make for a fun and lively atmosphere. My only complaint is that it’s sometimes too crowded, making it hard to get a look at the horses in the beautiful paddock and walking ring.

The spring meet is a fun time to visit because everyone has derby fever, but the weather is typically better during the fall meet.

It’s a fantastic track just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean, with big crowds and six-day-a-week racing that’s as good as California horse racing gets these days. Make an effort to go on opening day, when all the Southern California ladies dress up and show it off for the boys. Personally, I hate huge crowds, so I never have and will never visit Churchill Downs on Derby Day, but how can any horse racing fan pass up the chance to visit the home of the Kentucky Derby.

Sadly, the famous twin spires have been somewhat eclipsed by grand new construction, but it’s still a thrill to see them as you pull into the parking lot. Churchill is very much a neighborhood race track, and that gives it a friendly, urban vibe. If you time your trip right, you can hit up both Churchill and Keeneland in the same week, since their meets are contiguous and they’re only an hour and a half drive from each other.

Be sure to visit the Kentucky Derby Museum while you’re at Churchill—they’ve got lots of cool memories and memorabilia. The racing at Monmouth Park isn’t quite major league, but there is still plenty of good-stakes action during the long summer meet.

Weather can be hot and humid, so dress accordingly. Quarter horse racing, anyone? New Mexico’s Ruidoso Downs is a Mecca for the Quarter horse set and a great place to visit even if you’re more interested in the thoroughbreds.

The finish line at the Arlington International Racecourse. Located in suburban Chicago, the Arlington Park grandstand, which was rebuilt after a fire, is probably the nicest of any race track in America. The summer racing isn’t on a par with Del Mar or Saratoga, but the fields are full and a good turf course and one-mile chute on the dirt track make for interesting racing.

Reserve a table in the Million Room, a nice restaurant with a killer view of the track. It’s a perfect place to settle down for the day, and the cost is very reasonable.

The grand old lady may be a little down on her luck, but she’s still got what it takes. Sure, it’s a little sad to see such a magnificent track with only a few thousand people rattling around the cavernous grandstand, but on a beautiful autumn day, there are few better places to be.

Even Belmont Stakes day is a good time to go for a crowd-phobe like me, at least if no horse is going for the Triple Crown, since Belmont can easily accommodate 50, people with room to spare. Visit now before it gets turned into a shopping mall. A great little track in the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Oaklawn Park has a nice, glass-encased grandstand with ugh slot-type machines inside.

There’s also a lot to see and do in the surrounding area. They offer very decent quality day-to-day racing, but plan your trip during the Racing Festival of the South—this event boasts lots of good stakes races on tap, including the Kentucky Derby prep race Oaklawn Derby. My only compliant is the lack of a turf course. What’s up with that? Aqueduct Park is the place you have to see.

Pissing on the door. The smell of marijuana everywhere. Security no where to be seen. Etc etc. Trust me shen i say, you will never forget the experience. How does anyone feel about hialeah? I saw forego beat true knight in the widener in and i was really impressed with the track. Tanforan was a west coast version of churchill. Iv been to most tracks on the west coast. Longacers in washington was my fav.

To bad they closed it years ago. I always figured that there’s no turf course at Oaklawn because they only race in the winter — not a good time for grass. Nice List. Been to 8 of them. Missing Ruidoso Downs and Oaklawn Park.

Some comments: Delaware Park is a beautiful track. Racing is not so good there and they’ve cut their meet down but still one of those throwback tracks. Trying to take in as many tracks as I can these days before most of them go out of business. Monmouth Park is my home track and as you’ve said one of the top ones in the country. Unfortunately if it doesn’t get sports betting it’s future is in doubt. Keep up the good work.

Santa Rosa,CA. Great fair meet and there is so much to see and experience that are close by. Russian River, Napa Valley, and the people there are awesome host. Yes, I know it’s not a main circuit place, but it should be with Bay Meadows gone.

I plan to go East to check it Out. Built in Amazing place. With image googling it The slot-type machines at Oaklawn are not in the glass enclosed grandstand. They are in the casino which is separate but attached. Remington Park is very beautiful. It’s been a long time since I was there, but on the day I passed through, the exers quarterback Steve Young was there.

I can’t remember the reason why, though. It was around or so! Great article! JCL,what ever happened to Kenny Church? He was one of the great riders at Arlington when we were there. And there off. I have to agree with your number one listing of Santa Anita Race Track.

I’ve been to all of the tracks on the West Coast and Santa Anita is the most beautiful. I hope to visit Keeneland and Belmont in the near future. Thanks for the great list. Although it has been years since I last was there, Arlington is a great track. Some good races especially the Million are run there. I am surprised you did not include Meadowlands in New Jersey.

It is a great track for harness racing with plenty of history. Great list!! The Arlington Million in August is a very wonderful time of the year. Here’s a list with photos and descriptions of 10 of the most important types of horse riding saddles associated with English and Western riding. Injuries from falling off a horse can be life-threatening. This article explains the ways you can prevent yourself and others from falling off a horse, with instructional safety videos included.

 
 

Most important race tracks in north america

 
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