Best Californian Horse Racing Tracks

Horse Racing Tracks

There are few more popular locations to travel to in the world than California. Millions travel to the state annually, to get their fair share of sunshine and relaxations in the Golden State.

One of the most fascinating aspects surrounding the state that all visitors wish to experience is their love for all things sport. California boasts some of the best soccer, basketball and hockey teams in the country, which means that its love for horse racing is often overlooked. But, what are some of the best horse racing tracks that you should visit next time that you’re in California?

Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos is one of the tracks in California that goes under the radar. It is located in Cypress, and it hosts thoroughbred racing for much of the year. However, it is most popular among followers of quarter horse racing, as Los Alamitos is the track that offers the most prize money in the United States. The track history started from a humbling beginning, with Frank Vessels Sr arriving in California with just $19 to his name.

However, after earning a fortune in construction, he invested his money into the land that would later become Los Alamitos. The first race day at the track took place in 1951, with eleven days of racing taking place. Vessel once again invested a further $100,000 into track developments, leading to the local council allowing 16 days of racing per meet. Nowadays, Los Alamitos plays host to a number of huge races on the calendar, including the Los Alamitos Derby, Champion of Champions, and the Los Alamitos Super Derby.

Del Mar

There are few more popular race tracks in California than Del Mar. The racing forms an integral role on the events calendar at the location, but it is complete with the annual holding of the San Diego County Fair. As well as that there is also a golf course and other arenas on site that are used to host some of the standout events in the region. Del Mar race track was opened in 1936, and was built by The Thoroughbred Club alongside founding member Bing Crosby.

Racing takes place across two meets throughout the year. The first of those runs between July and September, with the second running from the start of November until the beginning of December.

Overall, the track hosts six Grade 1s throughout the year, which includes the Bing Crosby Stakes, Clement Hirsch Stakes, and the Pacific Classic. You can wage on these racetracks online here:

As well as the Grade 1s, Del Mar also hosts 12 Grade 2 races, and 12 Grade 3s throughout the year. Del Mar also hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the second time in 2021, and will once again have hosting responsibilities in 2024.

Santa Anita Park

For many, there are few more scenic race courses in the entire world than Santa Anita Park. The race is located in Arcadia, California, and boasts some of the most prestigious graded races on the calendar. Racing at the track takes place in early fall, winter and the sprint. It was first opened in December 1934, following the legalization of pari-mutuel wagering in the San Francisco region. The standout race on the calendar comes in the form of the Santa Anita Handicap, which was first run in February 1935.

The race offered a $100,000 purse, making it the most lucrative on the American calendar at the time. There have been some special performances in the Grade 1 throughout history, including Seabiscuit, who landed victory in 1940 on his final start on a race course. The course has held the prestigious Breeders’ Cup on ten previous occasions, including in three consecutive years between 2012 and 2014. The course will host the event for a record-extending eleventh time later this year.

Chandra Shekar

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