World's Top Horse Races
20 Jan

12 Most Iconic Horse Races in the World

Guide To The World’s Most Popular Horse Races Across The Globe

World's Top Horse Races
Wikimedia Commons by squirrel83 from Astoria, NY , USA

Horse Racing has a storied and ancient past and is considered to be the oldest sporting event in history.  Even the oldest of civilizations enjoyed gathering to see horses in competition, from Greek and Roman chariot races, Arabian horse racing, to the Icelandic horse breed of Norse mythology and even racing in the Americas that began in the mid 1600’s.  Every major culture on earth has prized their horses and reveled in watching them race.  Today is no different as there are popular horse races held across the world.  Below we’ll take a look at a dozen of the world’s most iconic horse races that draw crowds in the thousands to cheer them on.

In addition to attracting royalty, aristocrats, and the wealthy on every continent, horse racing is just as prized by millions of everyday folks.  It’s no surprise that horse racing takes place in most every state in America and in developed countries across the globe.  Waging on horse races is a major pastime and has a place in every gaming venue.  For those who cannot travel to one of these iconic race courses across the world, you can still participate in the excitement by wagering on the races at online sites and learn about the latest horse betting racing odds,  So whether you love the being at the race course or simply enjoy wagering on the races at home,  you won’t want to miss the world’s most popular horse races!

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Horse Race

The Kentucky Derby takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville Kentucky during the first weekend in May.  Until Covid 19 struck, the race had been held for 144 years without interruption.  Dubbed “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports”, The Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown challenge.  The Kentucky Derby has created a culture all it’s own with mint julep cocktails and ladies sporting huge summer hats.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness is the second leg of the Triple Crown and takes place on the third Saturday in May at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore Maryland.  This race has been run since 1873.

Belmont Stakes

Third in the Triple Crown challenge, the Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York in early June.  Often called The Test of the Champion, as it always attracts the winner(s) of the first two races to prove their endurance in an attempt to win the “Triple Crown” of horse racing.

Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes

The Pegasus World Cup race is a relatively race in the horse racing circuit.  It takes place in southern Florida at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach in late January.  At the time of its introduction, it offered the richest prize in horse racing in the world.

Breeders Cub

This horse race is an invitational that selects horses that have previously won in earlier races.  The location changes each year as it visits prestigious courses in the United States (and once in Canada).  This year’s race will be at Del Mar in California during the first week in November.

Grand National UK

Steeplechase Horse Race

The Grand National is a steeplechase event where horses compete on a 4 miles course with 30 jumps including the a waterhole.  The race takes place at the Aintree Race Course near Liverpool, England.  This race is considered to be the ultimate test of horses and riders.

Royal Ascot

Royals at Royal Ascot Horse Race

Of all the races, Royal Ascot is THE place be and be seen – it is the social event of the year in the UK and beyond.  This race was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 and is regularly attended by the Royals.  Located just 6 smiles from Windsor Castle, the races here are frequented by the upper crust of British society.  The Royal Meeting and race for the Gold Cup in June are the height of the UK racing season.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Held at the Longchamp Race Course, the large purse attracts thoroughbred horses throughout Europe.  The race is held on the First Sunday in October and is nicknamed The Arc.

Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s premier horse racing event that takes place on the first Tuesday in November.  The race takes place at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.  Horse racing has been taking place here is 1840 on its unique pear-shaped layout.

Japan Cup

The Japan Cub is considered the most prestigious horse race that takes place at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Tokyo.  The invitational race takes place on the last Sunday in November and attracts  many international entries.

Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup is the final race of 8 that takes place during World Cup Night at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  The race takes place on the last Saturday in March and offers one of the highest purses in the world of horse racing.

The Saudi Cup

We’ve saved the race with the world’s richest prize for last.  The new Saudi Cup race takes place in Riyadh Saudi Arabia at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack.  This race shook up the international racing scene with the offer of a prize of $20mil to the winning horse.  The race takes place 4 weeks after the Pegasus Cup in Florida and four weeks before the Dubai World Cup, so winning horses can compete in all these prestigious races for large purses.  The race is run at the end of February.

So no matter what continent you live on, and no matter what your budget is, you can experience the thrill of international thoroughbred horse racing!