Horse racing in the USA is very popular, and a lot of people go to the tracks to see the races. It was introduced in this country around the 17th century, but the sport underwent significant changes since then. Now, there are different horse racing types, but Thoroughbred racing is the most popular variety. The biggest events in horse racing are beloved by many Americans who go to watch them every year.
The History of Horse Racing in America
The first of the horse racing tracks in USA was built in 1665 in New York, and its name was Newmarket. Even though horse racing was popular there, the first breed registry for Thoroughbred horses called the American Stud Book was published in 1868. The racetracks kept multiplying, and at the end of the 19th century their number exceeded 300. Later, the American Jockey Club was founded.
At the beginning of the 20th century, gambling was illegal in most American states, which was almost fatal for the sport of horse racing. Thanks to parimutuel betting, the sport regained its popularity. WWII was not a good period for horse racing, but in the 1970s interest was back thanks to some beautiful horses. In that decade, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, and Affirmed won the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Continue reading our guide on Horse racing in the USA for more information.
Current State of Horse Racing in the States
Even though horse racing in the USA has many different forms, for example, harness racing, steeple chasing, endurance racing, and Quarter Horse racing; the most popular one remains Thoroughbred racing. People worldwide watch the big races which are always a big attraction, especially the ones from the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. They include the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. At the end of this article, you will find links to articles which explain all of these horse racing events.
The big US races are categorized into different groups based on specific criteria. The best race class is Grade I where you can find the best prizes and horses. The organization which handles the grading of the races in the United States is called the American Graded Stakes Committee. Some races are available only to horses which haven’t won a race so far. There is also a handicap where the horses receive additional weights which make the race more balanced.
Each state controls Thoroughbred racing, and many authorities are responsible for licensing and regulating owners, jockeys, and trainers. The American Jockey Club is in charge of all matters relating breeding history, so they are the ones who produce the American Stud Book. Various authorities regulate different race types.
Betting on Horse Racing in The USA
Gambling and horse racing usually go hand in hand, and that makes sense, because if it were not for betting, the sport probably would not exist today. That was proved to be true in the United States when gambling was forbidden in numerous states, and the popularity of horse racing dropped drastically. The gambling laws regarding horse racing are different in each state, but if you are placing wagers on the racetrack, then it is unlikely that you will have any problems. Still, it is still recommended that you take a look at the local laws.
Nowadays, most people gamble on horse racing online, so naturally, there is a wide variety of betting sites which offer bets on the sport. The best ones usually have a huge selection of races from different parts of the world, and they will also provide many betting options to their customers. The bonuses and promotional offers depend on your betting activity, so if you are a regular gambler, then there is a chance for making more money.
Biggest Race Tracks and Events in the States
As we mentioned earlier, there are many big horse racing events which are attended by a lot of people in the United States. Some of the largest races in the country are:
- The Preakness Stakes (in Baltimore, Maryland)
- The Kentucky Derby (in Louisville, Kentucky)
- The Belmont Stakes (Elmont, New York)
- The Breeder’s Cup (different place every year)
The first three events are a part of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and the fourth one has one of the biggest prize pools (5 million dollars). The Breeder’s Cup takes place at a different location each year. We hope that our guide on horse racing in the usa answered all of your questions.