Top 10 US Horse Racing Facilities

There are more than 75 different tracks and horse racing facilities hosting thoroughbred and standardbred harness racing and pari mutuel wagering across the US. Most also host some form of simulcast racing allowing you to bet on horse races locally from tracks all across the country.

Race track reviews

Belmont ParkChurchill DownsSaratoga RacecourseMonmouth ParkArlington International Racecourse
Pimlico Race CourseKeeneland Race CourseSanta Anita ParkOaklawn RacingFair Grounds Race Course

Here’s a look at the Top 10 Horse Racing Facilities in the US, starting with the racetracks that are home to thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown:

Churchill Downs, Kentucky

Being the home of the Kentucky Derby makes Louisville, Kentucky’s Churchill Downs one of the most famous racetracks in the country.

  • Location: 700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (Three meets, including a Spring Meet one week before the Kentucky Derby until early July, a September Meet that was added in 2013, and a Fall Meet picks from late October through Thanksgiving weekend in November)//. 
  • Owner: Churchill Downs Incorporated
  • Website:
  • Races: Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, Stephen Foster Handicap, Clark Handicap

The image of the twin spires that sit atop the Churchill Downs grandstand is well known even beyond the world of horse racing. Plus, the track’s Kentucky Derby, the first leg in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown almost always held on the first Saturday in May, is probably the most popular horse race in the world.

The track dates all the way back to 1875, which is also the first year the Kentucky Derby was run. 

Churchill Downs has the largest capacity of any other horse racing facility in North America and features a 1-mile compacted dirt track and 7/8 of a mile turf track.

Secretariat holds the Kentucky Derby speed record, clocking in at 1:59.40 in 1973. Donerail is the biggest longshot to ever win the Kentucky Derby, coming in at 91:1 in 1913.

However, the Kentucky Derby is almost as well known for who attends as which horses run. Thousands sip bourbon-based Mint Juleps and women wear large-brimmed hats in the grandstand and infield on Derby Day, alongside various celebrities and dignitaries with exclusive seats on Millionaire’s Row. 

Pimlico Race Course, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course is the second-oldest racetrack in the country and home to the Preakness Stakes, the second leg in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown. 

  • Location: 5201 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (Thursdays Through Sundays in May)
  • Owner: Stronach Group
  • Website:
  • Races: Preakness Stakes, Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Dixie Stakes, Pimlico Special

Pimlico opened in October 1870 making it the second oldest race track in the country behind Saratoga. 

The first race at the track was dubbed the Dinner Party Stakes and won by Preakness. Three years later the horse’s name was used to name the Preakness Stakes, now the second leg in the Triple Crown and the track’s top race.

Pimlico features a one-mile dirt oval track surrounding a seven-furlong turf oval track. 

Pimlico is also the track where Seabiscuit famously beat War Admiral in the Pimlico Special in November 1938.

The Preakness and Pimlico Special are both run at a distance of 1 3/16 miles. The track record for that distance is 1:52.4 set by Farma Way in the 1991 Pimlico Special.

Belmont Park, New York

Long Island, NY’s Belmont Park is widely known as “The Championship Track” because it is home to the third and final leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, where Triple Crown titles are won. 

  • Location: 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, NY 11003
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (Late April through mid-July and mid-September through late October)
  • Owner: New York State/New York Racing Association
  • Website:
  • Races: Belmont Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, Man O’ War Stakes, Belmont Derby, Belmont Oaks

Racing started at Belmont Park in May 1905.

Belmont is now known as “The Championship Track,” and the Belmont Stakes the “Test of the Champion,” not only because it is the third leg of the Triple Crown, but because the Main Track’s length, wide turns, and extended homestretch are considered a true test of a horse’s ability.

Belmont features a 1 1⁄2 mile Main Track dirt racecourse, which is the longest dirt track in North America. It is also home to the 1 5⁄16 mile Widener Turf Course and 1 3⁄16 mile Inner Turf Course.

Secretariat holds the Belmont Stakes speed record after running Belmont Park’s Main Track in 2:24 flat to win the Triple Crown in 1973. 

The biggest longshot to win the Belmont Stakes came in 2002 when Sarava came in at 70:1 and denied War Emblem a Triple Crown win.

Monmouth Park, New Jersey

Monmouth Park features live and simulcast thoroughbred racing on the Jersey Shore. Plus, it is now home to the Monmouth Park Sports Book By William Hill, New Jersey’s first legal retail sportsbook.

  • Location: 175 Oceanport Ave, Oceanport, NJ 07757
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (Early May to Labor Day)
  • Owner: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority
  • Website:
  • Races: Haskell Invitational Stakes, United Nations Stakes, Molly Pitcher Stakes, Monmouth Cup

Three different horse racing facilities have carried the Monmouth Park name. The original thoroughbred track was launched by the Monmouth Park Association on July 30, 1870 in Eatontown, New Jersey.

It closed due to financial issues but was renovated and reopened in 1882. A new track, next to the old one, opened in 1890, becoming the second Monmouth Park. It closed in 1894 due to a ban on parimutuel betting in the state.

In 1946, New Jersey lawmakers decided to regulate horse racing and permit parimutuel betting again. The current Monmouth Park opened in June 1946 in Oceanport.

The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill on the property became the first sportsbook to take a legal sports bet in New Jersey on June 14, 2018.

The main track is a one-mile dirt oval featuring chutes for six furlong and 1¼ mile races. There is also a long infield chute at Monmouth Park leading to the 1⅛ mile main turf course.

The $1,000,000 Haskell Invitational Stakes is the biggest race at the track, held annually at 1 1⁄8 miles for three-year-olds in between the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup.

The Haskell Invitational record stands at 1:47.00 shared by Bet Twice (1987) and Majestic Light (1976).

Saratoga Race Course, New York

Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY, is considered one of the oldest  racetracks and sports venues in the country. There’s still live racing five days a week from mid-July through Labor Day and simulcast racing year round at the track.

  • Location: 267 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (July through September)
  • Owner: New York State/New York Racing Association
  • Website:
  • Races: Travers Stakes, Whitney Handicap, Alabama Stakes, Woodward Stakes

Saratoga Race Course launched in 1863 with just four live racing days per season. It has since expanded to 40 racing days, five days a week from mid-July through Labor Day.

Saratoga features a 1 1/8 mile dirt Main Course and 1 mile Turf Course.

Saratoga is often called the Graveyard of Champions because of the list of famous horses to lose there. 

That list includes Man o’ War in the 1919 Sanford Stakes, and Triple Crown Winners Secretariat in the 1973 Whitney Handicap and American Pharoah in the 2015 Travers Stakes.

The biggest race held annually at Saratoga Race Course is the Travers Stakes. Starting in 1864 it is the oldest major thoroughbred race in the country. The race is run with a $1,250,000 purse for three-year-olds on the 1 1/8 mile dirt track.

Arrogate holds the Travers Stakes speed record having posted a time of 1:59.36 in 2016

Del Mar Race Track, California

Del Mar Race Track is thoroughbred racing where the surf meets the turf, on the Pacific Coast just outside San Diego. The track has been around since the 1930s and was regularly attended by celebrities in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

  • Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (July to September and November through early December)
  • Owner: State of California/22nd District Agricultural Association
  • Website:
  • Races: TVG Pacific Classic, Eddie Read Stakes, Del Mar Oaks, Bing Crosby Stakes, Del Mar Debutante

Del Mar Race Track opened on the Del Mar Fairgrounds and quickly became a favorite place for Hollywwod’s elite to gather. In fact, it was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby and several famous Hollywood actors including Gary Cooper and Oliver Hardy.

The Del Mar track features a one-mile dirt oval with chutes for 7/8 and 1 1/4 mile races. Plus, a seven-eighths mile turf oval with a diagonal chute for 1 1/16 and 1 1/8 mile races.

Run at Del Mar since 1991, the $1 Million Guaranteed TVG Pacific Classic has emerged as the biggest race at the track every year. It is held for horses three-years-old and up in August at distance of a mile and a quarter. The TVG Pacific Classic offers one of the top prizes for older horses in the country.

Candy Ride holds the track record running a 1:59:11 at the 2003 TVG Pacific Classic. Hall of Fame Jockey Julie Krone rode Candy Ride to victory that day, becoming the first female jockey to win a million-dollar race.

Santa Anita Park, California

Santa Anita Park is the home for thoroughbred racing in the San Gabriel Valley, just a few miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

  • Location: 285 W Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (Fall, Winter and Spring meets)
  • Owner: Stronach Group
  • Website:
  • Races: Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Derby, Sunshine Millions Day, Breeders’ Cup

Originally a part of Rancho Santa Anita, the Santa Anita Park racetrack was built in 1904 across from where it is today. That track closed in 1909 and burned down in 1912.

When California legalized pari mutuel wagering in 1933 two groups of investors combined to form the Los Angeles Turf Club and build the Santa Anita Park track that still runs today. It opened on Christmas Day in 1934.

Because of the track’s proximity to Los Angeles it has been featured in numerous films and TV shows.

Santa Anita features a one-mile dirt main track, a 0.9 mile turf course, and a 6½ furlong hillside turf course which crosses the dirt track.

In 1935, the first Santa Anita Handicap was run on the track with a $100,000 purse, making it the largest stakes race ever held in the US. The ​1 1⁄4 mile Santa Anita Handicap is still held annually in early March and is the track’s biggest race. The purse is now $600,000.

Game On Dude has won the race a record three times, including in 2014 when he set the speed record at 1.58.17.

Seabiscuit famously ran his last ever race in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap. He won.

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, New Jersey

Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment, otherwise known as the Meadowlands Racetrack, is both a Thoroughbred and Harness racing facility inside East Rutherford, NJ’s Meadowlands Sports Complex. 

The complex is made up of the track, MetLife Stadium, where the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL teams play, and the former Meadowlands Arena, the old home of the New Jersey Devils NHL team and the New Jersey Nets NBA team. 

FanDuel also launched the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands retail sports betting operation inside the Victory Sports Bar on the property in the summer of 2018.

  • Location: 1 Racetrack Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
  • Live Racing: Year-round Thoroughbred and Harness racing
  • Owner: New Meadowlands Racetrack LLC/Jeff Gural
  • Website:
  • Races: Hambletonian Stakes, The Meadowlands Pace, The Cane Pace

The Big M opened as a harness racing track in September 1976 and thoroughbreds started racing there a year later. Thoroughbreds now run in the Fall and Standardbreds run the rest of the year.

A $110 million renovation beginning in 2011 saw a new 2,250-seat grandstand built on the property. In June 2018, Paddy Power Betfair (Now Flutter) partnered with Meadowlands to open a sportsbook at the track. The Fanduel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands started taking bets on sports on July 14, 2018.

Meadowlands features a 1-mile main dirt track and an inside seven-furlong turf course used only by the thoroughbreds. The main harness track is considered one of the fastest in the world.

Big harness races held there annually include the Hambletonian, which is the first leg of the Trotting Triple Crown. It is held for three-year-old trotting Standardbreds on the first Saturday in August with a $1,000,000 purse. Muscle Hill set the speed record in 2009 finishing in a time of 1:50.05.

Arlington International Racecourse, Illinois

Formerly known as Arlington Park and the Arlington Park Jockey Club, Arlington International Racecourse is the Chicagoland Area’s premier horse racing facility and the site of the the first thoroughbred race with a million-dollar purse in the US.

  • Location: 2200 Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
  • Live Racing: Year-round Thoroughbred and Harness racing
  • Owner: Churchill Downs Incorporated
  • Website:
  • Races: Arlington Million Stakes, Beverly D. Stakes, Secretariat Stakes, American Derby

Arlington Park was founded in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights in 1927.

A fire destroyed the grandstand and clubhouse in 1985, but both were rebuilt and the track reopened under the new name Arlington International Racecourse in 1989.

The track features a one-mile and one-eighth dirt oval and a one-mile turf oval. Although, the dirt was replaced with a synthetic racing surface called Polytrack in 2007.

In 1981, Arlington Park hosted the first ever US thoroughbred race with a million-dollar purse: The Arlington Million.

The premier annual event at Arlington Park is the International Festival of Racing, held in August and featuring the Arlington Million Stakes, Beverly D. Stakes, and Secretariat Stakes.

The Arlington Million is for thoroughbred horses ages three and up and it is run over a distance of ​1 1⁄4 miles.

John Henry won the inaugural Arlington Million in 1981. Awad owns the speed record having run the race in 1:58.69 back in 1995.

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, Arkansas

Formerly Oaklawn Park Race Track, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, is a thoroughbred racetrack and casino in the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Oaklawn is consistently ranked one of the top thoroughbred racetracks on the continent by the Horseplayers Association of North America.

  • Location: 2705 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901
  • Live Racing: Thoroughbred (End of January through early May)
  • Owner: Oaklawn Jockey Club
  • Website:
  • Races: Arkansas Derby, Rebel Stakes, Oaklawn Handicap, Apple Blossom Stakes

Oaklawn Park opened in February 1905, but shut down due to political pressure two years later. It did not reopen until 1916 and still opened and closed several times over the next few years.

Arkansas lawmakers finally legalized horse racing and parimutuel betting by a single tie-breaking vote in 1929 and Oaklawn Park became a major attraction.

Attendance and purses continually grew over the next five decades. A weeklong stakes race festival leading up to the Arkansas Derby, The Racing Festival of the South, launched at the track in 1974. 

In 1983, an all-time record handle of $3 million a day was set. However, betting and attendance began a steep decline after that.

In 2008, Oaklawn started construction on a $3 million casino addition featuring skill-game slot machines, poker, and Instant Racing. The launch of live table games,  full-scale casino gaming, and a sportsbook on the property was authorized by lawmakers in 2019. 

A 35,000-square-foot casino on the property now features more than 1,000 slots and video poker machines, 14 table games, and a race and sports book.

Oaklawn Park features a one-mile dirt track with a chute in the backstretch to allow six-furlong races.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2004, Oaklawn Park offered a $5 million bonus for any horse that could win its Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby races, as well as the Kentucky Derby. Smarty Jones won it.

2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah also started his season with victories at Oaklawn Park in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby.

The Arkansas Derby remains the track’s premier race. It is a race for three-year-olds held annually in April over a distance of nine furlongs and features a $1 million purse. Althea holds the speed record of 1:46.80 set in 1984. 

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