Sports always have something about them that breeds confidence, prestige, an element of higher power or culture that people associate with that something. In football, it is the sportsmanship, for some, the clothing brand. In tennis, it is the etiquette, as well as Grand Slams like Wimbledon, which are all about culture and tradition.
For horse racing, there is nothing like a good old racing track, something like the Churchill Downs track. Places have tradition and culture behind them, revered by the fans, and even the non-fans. For horse racing, there are a couple of places and race tracks that you should know of, as a fan and upcoming fan.
The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is one of the world’s most famous horse races that dates back to the late 19th century, specifically 1875, when the first derby was held. The race happens in Kentucky, at Churchill Downs, a race track as famous as the derby itself. The race is 1 mile and a quarter long and the track is dirt. The winner gets covered with a beautiful rose blanket, which is why the race is often referred to as the Run for the Roses. The race is the most famous race in the United States and has many thousands of annual visitors, as well as views on broadcast media.
The Melbourne Cup
Moving across the world to Australia, the Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most visited horse race. This race is even older than the Derby, dating back to 1861. It is not only a horse race, but also a fashion race, where there are prizes for the best-dressed man and woman. Traditionally, people attend this race with celebratory hats. The race is a part of the Melbourne Carnival and it takes place on the Flemington Racecourse, located in Melbourne, of course. It is an important event, so much so that it is a holiday in Melbourne.
The Grand National
The very name sounds British, does it not? It is, in fact, a British race which takes place in Liverpool, at the Aintree Racecourse. The race dates back to 1839. The race is not one race, but an event which lasts three days. The most watched race is a steeplechase with 16 obstacles. 14 of those jumps are double jumps, meaning that they need to be jumped twice.
Compared to other races, this is a grass event, which makes it even more interesting to viewers. Grass is not like dirt.
The Cheltenham Festival
Another English traditional race, the Cheltenham Festival takes place at the Cheltenham Racecourse in England. The festival has 28 races over a period of 4 days, with manh coming to test their mettle in hardcore grass steeplechase challenges. It is one of the most famous horse races and it is famous for the crowd’s roar, dubbed the Cheltenham roar.
These are the world’s most prestigious horse races, in no particular order. These are the ones to get you into horse racing and afterwards, there is a world of races for you to discover.