The Top Horse Racing Events Taking Place In 2021

By in Horse Racing on
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The 2021 thoroughbred horse racing is about to begin with the dawn of the new year. And that means it’s time to start looking forward to all the major stakes races coming up. That will keep horse racing bettors in the loop about when they can expect all their favorite wagering opportunities to come up.

Horse racing is one of the few sports that take place all year long. There is no offseason, and bettors have the chance to make wagers on races around the world pretty much straight through from January to December. It’s a never-ending smorgasbord that makes horse racing the ultimate sport for bettors.

Of course, not all races are created equal. There are certain stakes races that gather a lot more attention than others because of the money up for grabs and the high level of the competition. And these are the races which horse racing bettors tend to circle each year on their calendar, with 2021 being no different.

Returning to Normal

The 2020 racing schedule was scrambled around by the upheaval this spring caused by the coronavirus. Some major races were cancelled, but most that were scheduled to take place during that time period were moved to other times during the year. It led to a disjointed year that required horse racing fans to adjust on the fly.

In particular, the horse racing Triple Crown in America was really upended, with the races taking place all out of order. While it’s impossible to say what will happen with health and safety restrictions in the new year, most racing experts expect a return to normalcy in terms of the racing calendar. It means fans will have a more familiar schedule in front of them.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar for 2021. These are the races that stand out as the best of the best, the ones that even casual fans will come to bet. Meanwhile, hardcore fans and horse racing bettors will be looking forward to these races well in advance for their lucrative possibilities.

The Top 2021 Horse Races

January 23: Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Pegasus-World-CupTraditionally one of the first Grade 1 events to take place each year, the Pegasus also holds the distinction as being one of the richest races in the world. $3 million will be on the line. It’s a great chance for some of the top older horses to start the year off with a true bang at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

February 27: The Fountain Of Youth

The month of February is when some of the Triple Crown prep races kick into gear. And this Grade 2 event at Gulfstream Part has been the starting point for many outstanding 3-year-old seasons in the past. It could give us our first look at some top Kentucky Derby contenders.

March 6: Santa Anita Handicap

This 1 1/8 test at Santa Anita Park in California is an excellent showcase for older horses. It has a rich history and, as a Grade 1 event with $400,000 in purse money, always draws excellent competition. The Handicap format is also one that makes for great value betting.

April 10: Arkansas Derby

Coming just three weeks before the Kentucky Derby, this race, held at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, gives three-year-olds one more shot to make their bones before the Triple Crown schedule begins. It is one of only three races that are Derby preps that hold Grade 1 status. And it is the last of that trio on the calendar.

May 1: Kentucky Derby

Kentucky-Derby-LogoThe Run for the Roses returns to its rightful spot on the calendar on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. Last year it was shuffled off to September in one of the oddest horse racing seasons in memory. It should be a welcome return as it kicks off the Triple Crown.

May 15: Preakness Stakes

One of the things that makes the Triple Crown such a difficult feat to achieve is the timing of it. That timing was messed up in a big way last year. But the Preakness Stakes, held at Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland, is back where it should be, just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, a quick turnaround that will test the Derby winner looking to win all three Triple Crown races.

June 5: Belmont Stakes

Last year the Belmont Stakes, held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York led off the Triple Crown series, instead of capping it. And the distance was shortened to 1 1/8 miles. In 2021, “The Test” returns to its spot as the closing race of the series and to its grueling distance of 1 ½ miles.

November 5 and 6: The Breeders’ Cup

Breeders'-Cup-LogoHorse racing’s yearend championships will be settled in California this year at beautiful Del Mar. The oceanside track will make for the ideal setting for the world’s best horses. As has so often been the case in the past, the winners here will likely to stamp their place in history among the greatest the sport has ever seen.


Obviously, this is just a partial list of some of horse racing’s greatest races. But it should give you an idea of what’s in store for racing fans in 2021. If you’re betting on one or more of these classics, it’s never too early to start preparing and looking for the horses who might win big in the coming year.

Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...

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