Famous Horse Racing Events
Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports there is, not to mention one of the most exciting. There are many different racecourses around the world with literally thousands of horse races taking place throughout the year. The sport has a long association with gambling and horse race betting is very common, so the majority of horse races attract a fair amount of attention, even if it's just from betting enthusiasts. There are certain horse races and events that really stand out, and these regularly command large international audiences.
The most famous horse races are huge sporting events; sizable prize money is often at stake for the winners, along with a great deal of prestige and glory. Jockeys and trainers look forward to competing in such races, and owners love nothing more than seeing their horses run. These are the major races that are most often watched and bet on by people who only have an interest in horse racing a couple of times of year. Such is their great appeal. Below we provide information on the most famous horse racing events in the world:
- US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
- Other Horse Races in the United States
- UK Horse Racing Triple Crown
- British Classics
- Other UK Racing Events
- The Melbourne Cup
- The Dubai World Cup
- Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
- More Famous Horse Races
US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in the United States is a series of three races, arguably the three most famous in the country. The series starts each year in early May with the Kentucky Derby, a horse race with a long tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. Later in the same month, the Preakness Stakes is run at the Pimlico Racecourse in Maryland. The third and final race in the series is the Belmont Stakes, which takes place in June in New York.
These three races are also known collectively as the American Classic Races, and any horse that wins all three in the same year is said to have won the Triple Crown. This is a feat that has been achieved by very few.
There's actually a number of horse racing triple crowns around the world. For more details, please visit the following page: Horse Racing Triple Crowns.
Other Horse Races in the United States
The three horse races mentioned above are widely considered to be the most prestigious in the United States. There are many other races that take place each year in America, however, and many are Grade I: the highest standard of race in the country. Some particularly well-known races are the Hollywood Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, the Arkansas Derby, and the Florida Derby. These races do not attract quite the same attention as the Triple Crown races, but they are important in their own right.
There's one other American race that warrants specific mention, and that is the Breeders' Cup Classic. This Thoroughbred race has the highest prize purse of all US horse races, currently at $5 million, and is one of the richest races in the world. It takes place annually as part of the Breeders' Cup World Championship, which is held at a different racecourse each year. For detailed information on this high profile race, please visit the Breeders' Cup Classic page.
UK Horse Racing Triple Crown
The English Triple Crown Series was the original Triple Crown and is older than the US version. It was first recognized back in 1853 and was the inspiration for other Triple Crown series in various parts of the world. The three races that make up the English, or British, Triple Crown are among the most famous flat races not just in Britain, but internationally.
The series begins with the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, which takes place at Newmarket Racecourse in late April or early May. The next race is the Epsom Derby in June, run at the Epsom Downs Racecourse. Finally, in September, comes the St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster Racecourse. Just like the US Triple Crown, the British Triple Crown is not often won. The last horse to do so was Nijinsky II back in 1970, and that was only the 14th time it had ever been done.
The three horse races that make up the UK Triple Crown are all also British Classics, a collective term referring to the five major flat races that take place each year. The 1,000 Guineas Stakes is also a British Classic and takes place at the same race meeting as the 2,000 Guineas Stakes each year. The final British Classic is the Epsom Oaks, which takes place in early June as part of the Epsom Derby Festival.
Other UK Racing Events
Horse racing has a rich history in the United Kingdom, and there are several world famous horse racing events that take place each year in this region. The Grand National, for example, is one of the most well-known jump races in the world that takes place at Aintree Racecourse each year. The Cheltenham Festival is an annual race meeting that practically has cult status, and the Cheltenham Racecourse attracts tens of thousands of spectators during the four-day event. Hundreds of thousands more watch these races on television, particularly the main one being the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Other popular horse racing festivals in the UK include the Royal Ascot Festival and Glorious Goodwood.
The Melbourne Cup
Horse racing is huge in Australia, and horse races don't come a lot bigger than the Melbourne Cup. It has been held annually in Australia since 1861, and it's one of the biggest sporting events in the country. Taking place in November, the Melbourne Cup Day is a national holiday. For further information on this race, please visit the following page: The Melbourne Cup.
The Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup has not been around for very long compared to most other classic horse races, but it has established itself as one of the most important races in the world today. This is due in no small part to the fact that it's the richest horse race in the world with a prize pool of $10 million. It's run annually on a synthetic surface at the Meydan Racecourse. For more details, please see the following page: The Dubai World Cup.
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a French horse race held at the Longchamp Racecourse in early October each year. Affectionately known by many as The Arc, this race has a prize pool of around $5 million. This flat race has been run since 1920, and it attracts an international audience in the millions. For more information on this race, please visit Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
More Famous Horse Races
The races we have discussed above are without question some of the most famous horse races in the world, but there are many more. In Ireland, for example, there are a number of major races each year, such as the Irish Grand National, the Guinness Gold Cup, and the Irish Derby. We have already mentioned the Melbourne Cup, but Australia is host to other big races such as the Australian Cup, the Australian Derby, and the Australian Oaks.
In the same part of the world, you also have the New Zealand Derby in Auckland, New Zealand. Horse racing has also become much more high-profile in Asia; many countries in the region are home to some big races. For example, the Japan Cup is run at the Tokyo Racecourse each year with a prize pool of several million dollars.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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