Horse Racing Tracks

Each track brings a different caliber of horse to it, allowing thoroughbreds of all abilities to compete across the nation. Some of the major tracks in the U.S. include Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Belmont and Pimlico. There is certainly a lot of action to take in at these major tracks, but only a small percentage of horses are good enough to compete at this level.

More than likely, you live closer to a small track. Examples of the minor tracks include Philadelphia and Finger Lakes. Don’t be fooled, though. Money won at these smaller tracks carries the same weight as money won at the larger tracks. The only difference is the quality of the competition. If you know what to look for, you can be successful at all types of tracks.

You can get a good feel of what kind of track you are at by looking at the track par for each race. This is printed in the Daily Racing Form for each race on the card. A smaller track will usually have a track par speed figure in the lower 50s for maidens to low 70s for more competitive races, depending on the class of the specific race. Bigger, more competitive tracks will be around the low 70s for maiden races, and can go upward from there, depending on the class, of course.

There are definite differences between large and small tracks, but if you know what to look for, you can be successful at both.

Triple Crown

The Kentucky Derby

The Preakness Stakes

The Belmont Stakes

Belmont Park
Belmont Park is located in the hamlet of Elmont, New York, is famed as the home of the Belmont Stakes. This race is the last leg of the Triple Crown and fills the Park’s maximum capacity seating of 90,000 spectators every year, and then some. There are two separate meets held at Belmont each year; the regular racing season, which is held between the end of April and the beginning of June, and the Championship season, which is held from mid-September to the end of October.

If you are planning on attending a race at Belmont, especially if you are going to the Belmont Stakes race, it is appreciated if you stick to the race track’s dress code. In the clubhouse this includes a suit or sports jacket for men and a dress, skirt, or dress slacks for women.

Belmont Park is one of the oldest race courses in the United States. The park first opened in 1905, the first Belmont Stakes however, were held in June 1867 at the old Jerome Park Racetrack. The Belmont Stakes and Belmont Park are named after August Belmont, Sr.

Delaware Park
Delaware Park in northern Delaware has it all. There is a casino with table games and slot machines as well as a thoroughbred racetrack. The races take place between early May and early November, with post-times usually at 1:15 EST. One of the things that makes this track stand out is its monthly handicapping contests. For the serious horse player, handicapping contests are a way to show your skill against your peers, and also earn some serious money in the meantime.

The major event here is the Delaware Handicap, Delaware’s equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. This attracts top horses from all over the state. Racing is generally held four days a week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Finger Lakes Casino and Track
Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack opened in 1962 and is located in Western New York. Besides hosting a year-round video slot machine casino, this track offers thoroughbred racing between mid-April and early December each year. Additionally, their racing floor offers simulcasting for the other major horse tracks in the country, making this a full-service outlet for the serious horse player.

Finger Lakes is a relatively small track when compared to the major ones like Saratoga and Churchill Downs, but they do offer about 160 days of racing throughout the course of the year.

Oak Tree at Hollywood Park
The Oak Tree at Hollywood Park is located in California and first opened in 1938 under the direction of Jack L. Warner (of Warner Bros. fame). The track is steeped in history and has had such legendary horses as Seabiscuit, Citation, and Affirmed run and win races there.

Currently, the track has live racing from the end of September to the middle of December. Because of its location in Southern California, it stays relatively warm throughout the racing season, causing many trainers to bring their top horses to the track in order to prepare for the spring racing season. Hollywood Park was the first California track to install a synthetic racing surface.

Parx Racing at Philadelphia
Parx Racing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is home to a casino and, of course, the racetrack. With races held all year round except Wednesdays and Thursdays, this course is home to the Pennsylvania Derby each year at the end of September. For racing fans, even if the live racing is not taking place on the day they visit, there is simulcast racing for bettors to enjoy.

This course has one of the earliest post-times in U.S. racing, with races scheduled for 12:25 EST. If you are an early bird, betting at this track is for you.