Horse Racing Calendar 2021

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2021 promises to be another huge year for the horse racing industry worldwide. While many great events will take place, they are all aimed at two major series; the Triple Crown in the spring and the Breeders’ Cup in the fall.

Our horse racing calendar marks all of these races, the major preps that precede them, and all the other top events along the way.

Horse Racing Calendar Uses

Of course, the highlights of a horse racing calendar are the major races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeder’s Cup to look forward to, but there are many other major horse races, events, and meetings that take place during the course of the season. This goes for both racing in the United States and on a global level. 

Whether you are a horse racing enthusiast from a pure sporting point of view, in it for the entertainment factor or you are a bettor, this up to date horse racing calendar will set you up nicely for the 2020 season so you can see when the next horse race is on. 

horse racing calendar for 2020

January 

  • The Sham Stakes – January 2, 2021
  • Santa Ynez Stakes – January 3, 2021
  • La Canada Stakes – January 9, 2021
  • Pegasus World Cup & Turf – January 23, 2021

We begin our horse racing calendar with an early prep for the Kentucky Derby, the Sham Stakes. The Grade III event is run at Santa Anita and gives the sophomores an early chance to shine.

The following day the young fillies get their chance over seven furlongs too in the Santa Ynez at the same track, while the following week the older girls are out in the Grade III La Cañada Stakes.

Things really kick up a notch for the new year later in the month. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational sees both the main race and the turf event take place.

The Pegasus World Cup itself is for those aged 4+ over 1 1/8 miles. The Turf event is slightly shorter at 1 3/16, with both now being hugely important on the horse racing schedule as to Grade I events at Gulfstream Park, Florida.

RaceTrackConditions
Sham StakesSanta Anita3yo, 1 mile, Grade III
Santa Ynez StakesSanta Anita3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, Grade II
La Cañada StakesSanta Anita4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade III
Pegasus World CupGulfstream Park4yo+, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Pegasus World Cup TurfGulfstream Park4yo+, 1 3/16 miles (turf), Grade I

February

  • Sam F Davies Stakes – February 6, 2021
  • Risen Star Stakes – February 13, 2021
  • Fountain of Youth Stakes – February 27, 2021

While there are many races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the first truly major one comes in February. Given the Florida form in recent times, the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream could once again prove to be one of the top early horse events of the year.

The Risen Star has also been strong in recent times. It puts all eyes on Fairgrounds while Tampa Bay gets a chance to provide its own important Kentucky Derby prep.

RaceTrackConditions
Sam F. Davis StakesTampa Bay Downs3yo colts, 1 1/6 miles, Grade III
Risen Star StakesFairgrounds3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
Fountain of Youth StakesGulfstream Park3yo colts, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II

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March

  • Gotham Stakes – March 6, 2021
  • Frank E. Kilroe Mile – March 6, 2021
  • San Felipe Stakes – March 6, 2021
  • Beholder Mile – March 13, 2021
  • Florida Derby – March 27, 2021
  • Dubai World Cup – March 27, 2021
  • Dubai Sheema Classic – March 27, 2021

The horse racing calendar kicks up a gear in March. This is when Kentucky Derby betting gets going in earnest after the Florida Derby, while the Dubai Carnival reaches its conclusion over at Meydan.

The Gotham in New York is another major Derby prep, while there is huge Grade I action in California. Big ‘Cap Day at Santa Anita early in the month features the San Felipe Stakes and the Frank E. Kilroe Mile among other things, while top trainer Bob Baffert will also hold a strong hand at his local track in the Beholder Mile a week later.

RaceTrackConditions
Gotham StakesAqueduct3yo colts, 1 mile, Grade III
Frank E. Kilroe MileSanta Anita4yo+, 1m (turf), Grade I
San Felipe StakesSanta Anita3yo, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II
Beholder Mile StakesSanta Anita3yo+ fillies, 1 mile, Grade I
Florida DerbyGulfstream Park3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Dubai World CupMeydan4yo+, 1¼ miles, Grade I
Dubai Sheema ClassicMeydan3yo+, 1½ miles (turf), Grade I

April

  • Bluegrass Stakes – April 1, 2021
  • Wood Memorial Stakes – April 3, 2021
  • Santa Anita Derby – April 3, 2021
  • Ashland Stakes – April 3, 2021
  • Carter Handicap – April 9, 2021
  • Maker’s 46 Mile – April 9, 2021
  • Arkansas Derby – April 10, 2021
  • Apple Blossom Handicap – April 17, 2021
  • Kentucky Oaks – April 30, 2021

The season is really cooking by now. Spring has a whole bunch of Grade I races, including the Santa Anita Derby and the Apple Blossom Handicap – the potential return point for Monomoy Girl and a host of top-class older fillies as they begin their prep for the Breeders’ Cup.

RaceTrackConditions
Bluegrass StakesKeeneland3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
Wood Memorial StakesAqueduct3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Ashland StakesKeeneland3yo fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I
Carter HandicapBelmont Park3yo+, 7/8 mile, Grade I
Maker’s 46 MileKeeneland4yo+, 1 mile (turf), Grade I
Arkansas DerbyOaklawn Park3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Apple Blossom HandicapOaklawn Park4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I
Kentucky OaksChurchill Downs3yo fillies, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I

May

  • Churchill Downs Stakes – May 1, 2021
  • Kentucky Derby – May 1, 2021
  • Man o’ War Stakes – May 8, 2021
  • Preakness Stakes – May 15, 2021

The Triple Crown begins in May, making it one of the two most important months on the horse racing schedule. Online horse betting reaches a peak and on the first Saturday of the month, the legendary Kentucky Derby takes place.

With a purse of some $3 million and a huge worldwide following, the Derby is one of the top horse events on the planet. It is quickly followed by the Preakness Stakes, while the top older horses go on the turf in the Man o’ War Stakes in New York.

RaceTrackConditions
Churchill Downs StakesChurchill Downs4yo+, 7/8 mile, GI
Kentucky DerbyChurchill Downs3yo, 1¼ miles, GI
Man o’ War StakesBelmont Park4yo+, 1 3/8 miles (turf), GI
Preakness StakesPimlico3yo, 1 3/16 miles, GI

June

  • Acorn Stakes – June 5, 2021
  • Belmont Stakes – June 5, 2021
  • Metropolitan Handicap – June 5, 2021
  • Hollywood Gold Cup – June 5, 2021

The Triple Crown is wrapped up quickly in early June during Belmont’s amazing summer meet. Almost all of America’s June Grade I action takes place in New York on the first Saturday. Sophomores go in the Acorn and the Belmont Stakes, while the Metropolitan Handicap (‘Met Mile’) is for the older horses.

RaceTrackConditions
Acorn StakesBelmont Park3yo fillies, 1 mile, GI
Belmont StakesBelmont Park3yo, 1½ miles, GI
Metropolitan HandicapBelmont Park3yo+, 1m, GI (handicap)
Hollywood Gold CupSanta Anita3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI

July

  • Belmont Derby – July 3, 2021
  • Belmont Oaks – July 3, 2021
  • Diana Stakes – July 10, 2021
  • Haskell Stakes – July 17, 2021

The three-year-olds have another huge event in July, the Haskell at Monmouth. By invitation only, the Haskell rates behind only the Triple Crown races in stature for this age group.

The 2021 horse racing calendar finds itself at somewhat of a half-way point here. The Triple Crown is over and there are still four months until the Breeders’ Cup. Nevertheless, there are of course more big horse races coming up.

RaceTrackConditions
Belmont DerbyBelmont Park3yo colts, 1¼ miles (turf) GI
Belmont OaksBelmont Park3yo fillies, 1¼ miles (turf), GI
Diana StakesSaratoga3yo+ fillies, 1 1/8 miles, GI
Haskell StakesMonmouth3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI (invitation only)

August

  • Whitney Handicap – August 7, 2021
  • Arlington Million – August 7, 2021
  • Beverly D. Stakes – August 7, 2021
  • Pacific Classic – August 14, 2021
  • Travers Stakes – August 21, 2021

The turf takes center stage in Illinois as the Arlington Million stages its 38th running. The Pacific Classic in California brings together the generations for the first time over ¼ miles, while some three-year-olds wait for the Travers Stakes in New York.

RaceTrackConditions
Whitney HandicapSaratoga3yo+, 1 1/8 miles, GI
Arlington MillionArlington Park3yo+, 1¼ miles (turf), GI
Beverly D. StakesArlington Park3yo+ fillies, 1 3/16 miles (turf), GI
Pacific ClassicDel Mar3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI
Travers StakesSaratoga3yo, 1¼ miles, GI

September

  • Pennsylvania Derby – September 18, 2021
  • American Pharoah Stakes – September 25, 2021

It’s the turn of the juveniles to shine at Grade I level from September. The American Pharoah Stakes is a major Breeders’ Cup trial, while the sophomores go in the $1million Pennsylvania Derby.

RaceTrackConditions
Pennsylvania DerbyParx3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI
American Pharoah StakesSanta Anita2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI

October

  • Shadwell Turf Mile – October 2, 2021
  • Breeders’ Futurity Stakes – October 2, 2021
  • Jockey Club Gold Cup – October 9, 2021

While the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the big race in Europe, things also kick up a notch here. It’s all eyes on the Breeders’ Cup by now, though a major juvenile race is the Futurity at Keeneland.

RaceTrackConditions
Shadwell Turf MileKeeneland3yo+, 1 mile (turf), GI
Breeders’ Futurity StakesKeeneland2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI
Jockey Club Gold CupBelmont Park3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI

November

  • Breeders’ Cup – November 5 & 6, 2021
  • Clark Handicap – November 26, 2021

This is the moment the whole American horse racing calendar leads up to. Live streaming of major horse races reaches a peak now as the Breeders’ Cup gets going in California.

14 championship races all take place at Del Mar this year, from 5½ furlongs to 1¼ miles on turf and dirt, for juveniles, older horses, fillies, and colts and all for huge prize money.

After the Triple Crown, the Pacific Classic, the Haskell, and the Travers, the next horse race all trainers are looking forward to is the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and that is just one of the big horse races coming up at Del Mar.

Race / MeetTrackConditions
Breeders’ Cup World ChampionshipsDel MarVarious
Clark HandicapChurchill Downs3yo+, 1 1/8 miles, GI

December

  • Cigar Mile – December 4, 2021
  • La Brea Stakes – December 26, 2021

All eyes are already on 2022 by this point, but there is still more to come for the year. The Cigar Mile moves to December in New York while the fillies get to show their speed in the La Brea out in California.

RaceTrackConditions
Cigar MileAqueduct3yo+, 1 mile, GI (handicap)
La Brea StakesSanta Anita3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, GI
grand national
J Grand National Festival at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, northern England on April 14, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS

International Races

Of course, great horse racing is not just confined to the United States. All across the world each year there are some major horse races and festivals that take place, attracting tens of thousands of visitors and millions of eyes on the various media platforms. 

France

A lot of the best horses in the history of racing have come out of France and the nation has a long and storied tradition with racing. They have many spectacular race tracks dotted around the country, most notably Longchamps. Half of all of the grade I races in France take place on this track. It has been holding races since 1857, showcasing just how long the tradition of racing has been in the country. 

  • April – Prix de l’Atlantique
  • August – Grand Prix de Deauville
  • September – Prix de l’Etoile

United Kingdom

The UK is also steeped in horse racing. The most famous races in the horse racing calendar would be the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. The Grand National is world-famous and has taken place since 1839 at the Aintree track which is close to Liverpool. 

Dubai

Horse racing has only started to become popular in recent years in Dubai. However, it has put a lot of time and resources into developing some top-notch racing in the country. The main event each season in the country has to be the World Cup Night, which has a massive purse worth $27.3 million.

Australia

Horse racing is a popular sport in Australia, with tens of thousands of people regularly going to the leading racing festivals. At the Melbourne Cup, there is a crowd of about 120,000 people each and every year. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there is no shortage of quality in the horse racing calendar each year. Throughout all twelve months of the horse racing calendar, you will have some action to follow. This means that you do not have to be waiting months and months for the season to restart like with most other sports that take extended off-season breaks. You can always be ready to choose your online horse betting selections and use popular betting platform’s live-streaming capabilities to watch these races.

This horse racing calendar provides you with all the info you need to make sure you don’t miss out on any of these great races.