HomeTrendingDiscovering Essential Races and Events on the Horse Racing Calendar

Discovering Essential Races and Events on the Horse Racing Calendar

The economic impact of horse racing extends beyond the track, though. It also has an enduring cultural value. Attending these events fosters a unique sense of community. People from all walks of life come together for their passion for horses and their love for exhilarating experiences.

Thinking of watching some races this year or the next? The global horse racing calendar is so vast it can be overwhelming. It’s especially true for newcomers. But fear not! It may be spanning continents and seasons, but it doesn’t mean you can’t navigate it with a little help. Use this guide as your compass in discovering events that align with your interests perfectly. Read on to learn more! 

The horse racing landscape

Just like how the horse racing calendar is too vast, the horse racing landscape itself is also too diverse, and it can be confusing to navigate for first-timers.

There are two key aspects you need to worry about. Firstly, you have the race categories. A particular horse racing event can fall under a specific category based on the following factors:

  • Location: The global horse racing calendar is a taste of international competition. There are events on every continent, from Oceania to the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
  • Surface: Some races happen on turf or dirt. Others, however, offer more excitement by including hurdles and fences in their tracks. The skillsets that every race demands, therefore, vary. And it’s true for both the horse and the jockey.
  • Distance: Another factor is distance. Some races are sprints; others are marathons. 
  • Age and gender: Some races have age limits or gender restrictions. A good example would be the Golden Slipper in Australia, which caters to two-year-old horses only.

Secondly, you have the racing seasons, series, and groups. Races in some countries run for several months, thus, the concept of seasons. Prestigious championship events often conclude these contests. 

Series, on the other hand, are multiple individual but connected races, just like North America’s Triple Crown. Finally, some races are grouped based on prestige. Group 1 races in Australia, for instance, are the country’s highest-level events.

Essential races and events to consider 

You’re already familiar with the vast global horse racing landscape. What’s next? It’s time for the essential races and events you should consider.

1. North American Triple Crown

This is a series of three races. And winning them all is the pinnacle achievement for American horse racers.

  • Kentucky Derby: This is a legendary race that usually takes place on the first Saturday of May. It’s what kicks off the Triple Crown series. When you’re already in Churchill Down, expect thundering hooves pounding the dirt track down. The roaring crowds, with their sea of colorful hats, make the scene even more festive. Since the Kentucky Derby is full of tradition, not to mention it’s covered by Southern charm, winning it is a cultural phenomenon!
  • Preakness Stakes: This race usually happens two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. What makes it special? Aside from its rich history that dates back to 1873, it’s the track’s sharp turns, presenting unique challenges. No wonder it’s called the ‘Middle Jewel.’
  • Belmont Stakes: The ‘Test of the Champion’ usually happens five weeks after the Kentucky Derby. And it’s a test, indeed, being the longest race in the series. Horses and riders alike have to be prepared with exceptional stamina and determination to ace this grueling leg. Punters must be ready to beat the odds, too.

2. International classics

Of course, there are also international classics you wouldn’t want to miss out on.

  • Epsom Derby: A race steeped in British tradition. It usually happens on the first Saturday of June. It’s known for its royal connections, not to mention the electrifying atmosphere.
  • Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe: As the name of the race suggests, it happens in France usually during the first Sunday of October. It’s internationally recognized, especially in Europe, crowning a continental champion over a challenging long-distance course.
  • Melbourne Cup: If you’re Australian, you know this race. The ‘race that stops a nation,’ right? Mark your calendar on the first Tuesday of November when the Melbourne Cup draws crowds from around the globe and generates widespread media coverage. Last year, over 80,000 punters watched the race at the Flemington Racecourse!

3. Other notable events

They may not be at the top three of your to-watch lists, but these events are also worth checking out:

  • Royal Ascot: A renowned social event as Horse racing boasts a rich history. It has enthralled and captivated audiences globally for hundreds of years. Even non-equine enthusiasts are excited to witness the incredible talents in these events. The electrifying displays of speed and athleticism are what make the annual revenue of horse racing worldwide reach more than USD$115 billion, according to a 2023 report.
  • much as a horse racing competition, the Royal Ascot happens in June in the UK. If you’re into extravagant fashion and opulent displays, this is for you.
  • Dubai World Cup: It’s the world’s richest horse race. It takes place in Dubai, remember?  Last year’s total prize fund was a whopping USD$30.5 million! The last Saturday of March attracts top international talents – both horses, trainers, and jockeys!
  • Golden Slipper: We’ve already mentioned this race earlier, and yes, it’s also worth checking out, especially if you’re near Australia. In fact, it’s the world’s richest race for two-year-old horses! It usually happens on the third Saturday of March.

Horse racing is a sport and pageantry, and these are the events that truly capture that vibe!

The final gallop

The horse racing world is truly amazing. It consists of not only thrilling competitions but also diverse cultures. Of course, captivating stories also come out of it. The possibilities are endless for those who want to explore its vast calendar to experience its historical significance and cultural spectacle. Choose those that truly resonate with your spirit!


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