- Sports and Recreation»
- Equestrian, Dog Racing & Other Animal Sports
Horse Racing Tracks That Are On My Been There Done That List
Favorite Horse Racing Tracks
Going to horse racing tracks across the country has been a hobby for my husband and I for many years. It is interesting to note that I am writing this hub as I am sitting at the track during my first ever visit to Churchill Downs exactly one week before Derby Day in 2010. The track is sloppy and I have not picked many winners so I pulled out my laptop to write.
I have been a horse racing fan for many years and have traveled to many horse racing tracks across America. I thought that since this is Derby week that it would be pretty cool to write about the horse racing tracks that I have been to. I am going to write about the horse racing tracks that I have visited so far in my quest (and my husband's) to visit as many as we can especially the more famous ones.
Churchill Downs is probably the most well known horse racing track in America because the Kentucky Derby is held there each year on the first Saturday of May. Churchill Downs is in Louisville, Kentucky plunked right in the middle of a residential area. Though I suppose the track was there first because it has been around since 1864.
The track is pretty huge so it can accomodate the many visitors it has on Derby Day and other important racing events such as the Breeder's Cup Races. It has a huge gift shop with many souvenirs from the Kentucky Derby.
Seating on the third level cost extra. General admission seating are chairs that go right to the rail and extends under cover. When seated in the lower level you cannot see the opposite side of the track where the horses run but when they are coming down the stretch you have a railside view of the racing horses. The excitement builds as racing fans cheer on their winning horses. It is really exciting to be part of the races at Churchill Downs.
The inside of the track building has a cobblestone paved floor and you can feel the history of the track. The Kentucky Derby Museum is on the premises but was closed the day I went there.
Keeneland Race Course is located in Lexington, Kentucky in the heart of Kentucky horse land. Surrounded by rolling green meadows and white fences it is totally what a true horse racing atmoshere is about. You can feel it on the grounds when you walk around and you can feel it in the sounds of horse racing fans as the horses come down the stretch.
Keeneland Race Course only has two race meets per year. One in the spring before the Derby and one in the fall before the Breeders Cup. The meet is an event for the horse racing set.
Mountaineer Racetrack in Chester, West Virginia is the home of the West Virginia Derby. Once it was a track on the edge of disappearing but made a comeback when slots and then table games were introduced to the track. The money from the casino made the races purses much higher and so a better quaility horse races there now.
Mountaineer Racetrack races at night under the lights. I have always enjoyed going to the track but more recently go there for the casino gambling while hubby plays the ponies. It is a perfect combination for us.
Gulfstream Park is located in Hallandale Beach, Florida. This is one of my favorite horse racing tracks. It is in a gorgeous setting in South Florida and has palm trees surrounding it. You can get really close to the horses as they parade onto the track. The grounds around the track have benches and picnic tables for sitting and there are plenty of outside betting areas where you can bet on your favorite horse.
There is a casino and poker room at the track. Gulfstream Park has also opened a new shopping area that is right on the track grounds. If you like horse racing and warm weather then this is the horse racing track for you.
Monmouth Racetrack is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Ocean Port, New Jersey. The track has been opened since 1870 and is known as the "Shore's Greatest Stretch." Racing is in the summer months from the end of May for a 50 day meet. It is a pretty track that attracts summer crowds. It is near where we vacationed every year on the Jersey Shore.
Saratoga Race Course
Set in beautiful upstate New York, Saratoga Race Course has one meet per year, racing from the end of July through Labor Day. The track is located in Saratoga Springs, New York. The meet at Sarotoga is definitely a happening event. The town is taken over by racegoers and it is a definite party atmosphere. When you walk into the track it has a distinct atmosphere that is only seen at a few tracks across the country. You really have to experience it if you love horse racing.
Saratoga sponsors a really unique feature where you can have breakfast at the track and watch the horses have their morning workout. You really feel like you are part of the action.
Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs is located in Oldsmar, Florida which is near Tampa. The track is a nice litte track that attracts a lot of people because it races during snowbird season of December through the beginning of May.
I have always found that you can get some good payoffs when betting at Tampa Bay Downs. They have a large poker room that overlooks the track and the restaurant offers very good food. If you are interested you can bring your laptop to Tampa Bay Downs and use the internet free of charge which is a perk I like.
Hialeah Racetrack is another track located in Florida but in the Miami area. I can remember the first time I was ever there. You entered the track by driving up a road that was lined by huge palm trees. It was an absolutely beautiful track and every afternoon after the 7th race all the pink flamingos that lived on the grounds would take off and fly around the track. It was an awesome sight and one I will never forget.
Hialeah hasn't bee racing thoroughbreds in recent years but is trying to bring them back and is now racing quarter horses. If you want to take a visit, call first.
Presque Isle Downs
Presque Isle Downs is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. It races from May through September and has a beautiful track and casino. Table games are opening in July of 2010. Its a good time to spend an evening at Presque Isle sitting outside watching the races. It is good for viewing because the track seems to set lower then where you are on the outside grounds. They have a snack bar and a buffet that overlooks trackside.
Presque Isle is a newer track. Many years ago there use to be a racetrack called Commodore Downs that raced at night. They closed it down and many years later reopened as Presque Isle.
Finger Lakes Racetrack
Finger Lakes is a small track located in Western New York. It has a slot casino attached. It has been in operation since 1962 and races from April to November.
Finger Lakes is a local track that doesn't attract too many outsiders but we have always gone there as we vacation in Western New York a lot. We have always been pretty lucku in handicapping at the track.
Thistledown is my home area horse racing track and is located in North Randall, Ohio. It is a small track only open 6 months per year with small purses. It used to have a lot more fans in attendance and needs something to create more interest in horse racing. Admission and parking are free. Slot machines have been added and while they don't have a lot of horseracing fans it is very popular with slot players.
Delmar Racetrack is probably one of the most beautiful tracks I've been to. It is located in southern California in the city of Delmar where "the surf meets the turf". They only race from the end of July through early September. Delmar has a lot of special events going on during their racing season such as concerts and family days. If you get a chance go there because there is no place like it.
Hoosier Park is an absolutely great horse track and probably one of my favorites. Hoosier Park is located in Anderson, Indiana. It has a huge casino attached to the track which is often called a racino because it combines horse racing with a casino.This makes for bigger races purses and better horses running.
The viewing area for the track is elevated and gives you a great view of the track. There are several restaurants on the upper level including a tasty buffet and a Johnny Rockets.
Hoosier Downs only has about 60 thoroughbred racing days during the season but they also race both standard breds and quarter horses. It is a great place for some heart pounding horse racing action.
More To Come?
In the future I'm sure I will be going to more horse racing tracks. It is a hobby that we like to do so I will be adding to this hub as time goes by. Enjoy and happy horse racing!