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USA horse racing

AMERICAN horse racing is gaining popularity all the time, particularly on a global scale, with more interest than ever in the scene.

It used to be that the American Triple Crown was the only time thoroughbred racing from the states garnered a ripple of attention outside the country, but now the newly-minted Pegasus World Cup, alongside one of the biggest races in the world in the form of the Breeders’ Cup has generated mass amounts of interest in the industry.

Even the most hardcore of racing fans can be forgiven for not being totally across all that American racing has to offer, which is why this betting guide on all things USA racing is your holy bible.

We took a look at the biggest races, the best tracks, the bet types in the states and even explained the complicated American odds system to save you the time and headaches that goes hand-in-hand with researching.

Biggest USA Races

The USA has a thriving racing industry but without a doubt the Triple Crown is the biggest event, or series of races the country has to offer. The other major races on the calendar include the Pegasus World Cup, which is a relatively new feature race, while the Breeders Cup is also very popular.

American Triple Crown

The American Triple Crown is the most recognisable racing event to come out of the states. Most racing fans the world over would be familiar with the Kentucky Derby, but the other two races are not as recognisable as the opening leg.

All three races are at set-weights race for three-year-old’s and older.

  • Kentucky Derby: Without question it is one of the world’s most famous races and is the most coveted title in American horse racing. Held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, the Derby is known as the “most exciting two minutes in sports”. The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown.
  • Preakness Stakes: The second leg of the American Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes, which has over 140 years of history. Raced at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, It is the second most attended horse race in America behind the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is ran two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
  • Belmont Stakes: The third and final leg of the American Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes, which is ran at Belmont Park in New York. Known as The Test of Champions, the Belmont Stakes is ran three weeks after the Preakness.

Other Big Races

The American Triple Crown is the biggest and best racing event to come out of America, but there are several other big name races that draw worldwide attention.

  • Breeders’ Cup: While the Kentucky Derby is the most widely recognised race in the American thoroughbred industry, the purists believe that the Breeders’ Cup is the best race in the states. The one-time world’s richest horse race, invariably the winner of the Breeders’ Cup goes on to claim horse of the year honours.
  • Pegasus World Cup: The Pegasus World Cup is one of the newest races on the calendar, but quickly made a name for itself as a gigantic sporting event that transcends racing. The first running was in 2017 at Gulfstream Park in Florida and at the time was the world’s richest racing purse at an incredible $12 million.
  • Travers Stakes: The Travers Stakes is rated as the third-ranked race behind the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Held at Saratoga Race Course in New York, the Travers Stakes is nicknamed the “Mid-Summer Derby”. The race is the highlight of the Saratoga summer race meet, which is one of the most popular carnivals in America.

Best race courses in the USA

  • Churchill Downs: Churchill Downs is one the premiere horse racing tracks America, and is arguably the most famous tracks in the world. Steeped in over 100 years of history, Churchill Downs is home to one of the world’s most famous races, the Kentucky Derby.
  • Santa Anita Park: Set in the backdrop of the picturesque San Gabriel mountains in California, Santa Anita Park is one of the most popular tracks in the USA for racegoers and watchers alike. Santa Anita Park is home to the famous Seabiscuit statue.
  • Del Mar: Known as the course where the turf meets the surf, Del Mar is the new site for the Breeders’ Cup, which will be run at the Californian racetrack from 2017 onwards.
  • Arlington Park: After being refurbished following a fire in 1985, Arlington Park in Illinois was rebuilt to become the most aesthetically pleasing course in America. The course now features a six-story grand stand and is billed as the ultimate racing experience in America.
  • Pimlico Racecourse: Pimlico is also the second oldest course in America and is most famous for being the home to the Preakness Stakes. The Baltimore, Maryland track is one of the most appealing course to punters and race goers in the states.
  • Belmont Park: Everyone knows that New York does things bigger and better than most in the states, and Belmont is without question one of the biggest and best tracks in America. Home to the final leg of the American Triple Crown the Belmont Stakes, the track has over 60 stakes races and over USD $18 million on offer throughout the racing season.

Betting Types in the States

  • Win: As simple as it comes, place a bet on the horse you think will win.
  • Place: Unlike a place bet in Australia, a place bet in the states means your horse has to finish inside the top two, irrespective of the amount of runners in the field.
  • Show: This is the traditional place bet that you get in Australia. Punters that place a show bet need their horse to finish inside the top three to get a dividend.
  • Exacta: Much like the Australian equivalent, an exacta bet means you have to pick the first two horses in order. There is no quinella bet in the states so punters have to accept a reduced dividend if they want to mitigate their risk in that regard.
  • Trifecta: A trifecta bet is the same as it is in Australia, you must pick the first three horses in a race to get a winning dividend.
  • Superfecta: Sounds like a superhero bet but this is the American version of a first four. You have to pick the first, second, third and fourth horse in any given race to get a return on your investment.

USA odds explained

American odds will be either positive or negative depending on weight of money for your chosen horse.

A positive number shows how much an investor will win for an outlay of 100 units. If the odds are +400, you would win $400 for a $100 bet and receive a total payout of $500.

A negative number shows how much you will need to put to make that profit. -150, for example, mean that you need to risk $150 for a net profit of $100.



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