Horse racing is one of the most thrilling sports in the world; an entire race and lifetime of preparation can come down to just a couple of minutes of time spent on the track. And even more thrilling than the races themselves is the ability to travel the world to take in some of the biggest races around. These can’t-miss horse racing destinations are sure to make for an unforgettable journey, combining the excitement of high-level racing with some incredible scenery and the chance for an unforgettable trip.
Santa Anita Park, California
“Santa Anita Park” by – Adam Reeder – (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Santa Anita Park is what happens when you drop a racetrack into one of the most beautiful backdrops imaginable, and the results are spectacular. Originally opened in 1907, the track features a gorgeous view of the mountains behind it, while palm trees adorn the track and surrounding areas in Southern California.
This track is most known for races like the Santa Anita Derby and has also played host to events like the Breeders Cup World Championship, one of the richest horse racing events in the world. Triple Crown winners have spent plenty of time at this track, including recent Triple Crown horses Justify and American Pharoah.
And while the track itself is in an amazing location, the surrounding area is perfect for adventures when the races are not going on. This track is located just a stone’s throw away from Anaheim and Los Angeles in California, making the possibilities endless in terms of what you can do after a day at Santa Anita Park. Being in such close proximity to Hollywood, the movie capital of the world, or all of the professional sports teams in Los Angeles means that there is never a dull moment to be had in the vicinity of this iconic American racing location.
Or, if you would prefer to unwind after some time at the track, the Pacific Ocean is a reasonable distance away from Santa Anita Park. With some of the best beaches in the United States, California is a great place to be no matter what pace at which you want to live. With all of these options nearby, Santa Anita Park is proof of that, and its one of the top horse racing destinations in the world as a result.
Aintree is the host of one of the biggest horse racing events in the world, the Grand National. A legendary race filled with jumps, surprises, and constant drama make it an event that the horse racing world keeps its eyes on throughout the year. This is true to the point that the field for the race is often discussed months ahead of time. For example, 2019 Grand National race coverage from Oddschecker has the field to look at and preview, as the horse racing community can’t get enough Grand National.
As if that wasn’t enough of a draw, Liverpool itself is an extremely attractive destination in its own right. The city is a piece of music history given its association with The Beatles, with a vibrant music scene blooming in the wake of the legends. And with Liverpool FC enjoying a renaissance under Jurgen Klopp, sports enthusiasts have the opportunity to check out Anfield, one of the hallowed halls of football, with a great team there to enjoy.
Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs
“Saratoga Race Course – New York” by Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Nestled into a small town in upstate New York, Saratoga Race Course is a quaint course that is surrounded by some seriously breathtaking scenery. To the north lie the beautiful Lake George and Adirondack Mountains, while south of the course are more urban destinations for shopping and entertainment. But the crown jewel of the area is the race course itself, which is in itself an event and has been since opening in 1864.
With so many flocking to Saratoga each summer, there are hordes of picnic tables outside of the race venue itself that are always in high demand. There, fans can watch every race from screens strewn throughout the outside lawn area. But somehow this track makes even sitting outside of the grandstand feel like an intimate experience, which is one of the most unique in horse racing.