As 2020 begins, so does the anticipation for all of the horse racing that will be taking place in the year ahead. It is a great form of entertainment at key points throughout the year, with many fans going through withdrawals during the very short off-season. They will be marking their horse racing calendars in anticipation of the best and next horse races returning once again.
Horse Racing Calendar Uses
Of course, the highlights of a horse racing calendar are the major races like the Kentucky Derby and the Breeder’s Cup to look forward to, but there are many other great horse 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.
- The Sham Stakes – January 4, 2020
- Santa Ynez Stakes – January 5, 2020
- La Canada Stakes – January 11, 2020
- Pegasus World Cup – January 25, 2020
With the start of the new year in January, it can take a while for things to get going again in the horse racing world as you can see in this horse racing calendar.
The Sham Stakes is usually the first big race in the calendar to start off the new season. This is used as a prep race for the Kentucky Derby, allowing the owners of three-year-olds to see where their horses are at in terms of their progress and ability to battle it out potentially in bigger races later on in the season.
The next race that is significant in the January horse racing schedule is the Santa Ynez Stakes. It is good preparation for the big races coming up in the Triple Tiara of thoroughbred racing (Mother Goose Stakes, Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and the Kentucky Oaks).
The Pegasus World Cup is running for the 4th time since its inauguration in 2017. Although the purse is considerably smaller than the other years, there is still a lot of interest for this race. Horses will be running without Lasix medication for the first time.
|The Sham Stakes||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Santa Ynez Stakes||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|La Canada Stakes||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat||Pegasus World Cup||Gulfstream Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Sam F Davies Stakes – February 8, 2020
- El Camino Real Derby – February 15, 2020
- La Coneja Stakes – February 16, 2020
The standout race that takes place in February is the El Camino Real Derby. This is held each year at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, California. This is the main preparation race in northern California for the big horse races coming up on the calendar, such as the Kentucky Derby. It has been on the racing calendar since 1982, having been hosted at the Bay Meadows track up until this facility closed its doors in August 2008. While the race was degraded in 2018, it is still an exciting and popular prep race.
|Sam F Davies Stakes||Tampa Bay Downs||Thoroughbred Flat|
|El Camino Real Derby||Golden Gates Field||Thoroughbred Flat|
|La Coneja Stakes||Sunland Park Racetrack||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Tampa Bay Derby – March 7, 2020
- Beholder Stakes – March 14, 2020
- Louisiana Derby – March 21, 2020
- The Rebel Stakes – March 14, 2020
- Santa Ana Stakes – March 28, 2020
- Florida Derby – March 28, 2020
The Louisiana Derby may be a grade II race but it comes with a whole pile of prestige. It takes place in New Orleans on an annual basis and it has a purse of $1 million, so it is certainly worth the while of trainers entering their horses to this event. It also acts as a significant preparation race for those looking to take part in the Kentucky Derby.
|Tampa Bay Derby||Tampa Bay Downs||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Beholder Stakes||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Louisiana Derby||Fair Grounds Race Track||Thoroughbred Flat|
|The Rebel Stakes||Oaklawn Parks Race Track||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Santa Ana Stakes||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Florida Derby||Gulfstream Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Ashland Stakes – April 4, 2019
- Santa Anita Derby – April 4, 2019
- Wood Memorial Stakes – April 4, 2019
- Carter Handicap – April 4, 2019
- Jenny Wiley Stakes – April 11, 2019
- Arkansas Derby – April 11, 2019
- Apple Blossom Handicap – April 18, 2019
- Champagne Stakes – April 18, 2019
- Queen’s Cup Steeplechase – April 25, 2019
The Santa Anita Derby is a grade I race that takes place in Arcadia, California each season. This dirt race has a $1 million purse and it is one of the last races as part of preparing for the Kentucky Derby. Therefore, there is usually a stellar field in this race, with hoses getting one last run in a lot of cases before the big one in May.
|Ashland Stakes||Keeneland Racecourse||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Santa Anita Derby||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred|
|Wood Memorial Stakes||Aqueduct Racetrack||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Carter Handicap||Aqueduct Racetrack||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Jenny Wiley Stakes||Keeneland Racecourse||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Arkansas Derby||Santa Anita Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Apple Blossom Handicap||Oaklawn Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Queen’s Cup Steeplechase||Brooklandwood||Thoroughbred Steeplechase|
- Kentucky Oaks – May 2, 2020
- Kentucky Derby – May 2, 2020
- Virginia Gold Cup – May 2, 2020
- Iroquois Steeplechase – May 9, 2020
- Runhappy Stakes – May 10, 2020
- Preakness Stakes – May 16, 2020
The Kentucky Derby is the biggest race in the United States calendar each season. This prestigious race always takes place in Louisville, Kentucky and comes along with a great atmosphere for attendants. It has a lot of history and tradition associated with this race meeting.
The Derby is usually the most attended horse race each year in the country, with there also being a massive amount of Kentucky Derby betting taking place. It is also part of the American Triple Crown series of horse events along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. There is a purse of $3 million for the Kentucky Derby, with the winner getting in the region of $1.86 million.
The Kentucky Oaks always takes place the day before the Kentucky Derby, being a significant race in its own right. It is also a grade I race and is reserved for three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. The winner claims a top prize of $750,000 from a purse worth $1.25 million.
|Kentucky Oaks||Churchill Downs||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Kentucky Derby||Churchill Downs||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Virginia Gold Cup||Great Meadow||Thoroughbred Steeplechase|
|Iroquois Steeplechase||Percy Warner Park||Thoroughbred Steeplechase|
|Runhappy Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Preakness Stakes||Pimlico Racecourse||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Belmont Stakes – June 6, 2020
- Acorn Stakes – June 6, 2020
- Stephen Foster Handicap – June 14, 2020
The Belmont Stakes is the final race in the American Triple Crown series of races. Naturally, it is going to get a lot of attention for this reason alone. It takes place on the ‘Championship Track’ as nearly every major horse racing champion in history has at one stage or another competed in this ground.
It is known as one of the best racetracks in the entire country. The Belmont Stakes is dubbed the ‘Test of the Champion’ as it is such a tough race. It is one of the most-watched races of the year, so don’t miss out.
The Acorn Stakes also takes place at Belmont Park and is another major grade I race. It has a distance of a single mile and is the first race in the US Triple Tiara series. The other races as part of this series are the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama Stakes.
|Belmont Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Acorn Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
|Stephen Foster Handicap||Churchill Downs||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Stars & Stripes Racing Festival – July 6, 2020
- Coaching Club American Oaks – July 19, 2020
The Coaching Club American Oaks is the second part of the Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing in the United States. While it previously was a race that took place in Belmont Park, since 2020 it has been held in the Saratoga Race Course. This Grade I race has a purse of $500,000 and has been a leading race since its first iteration way back in 1917.
|Stars & Stripes Racing Festival||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Coaching Club American Oaks||Saratoga Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
- Saratoga Special – August 9, 2020
- Arlington Million – August 15, 2020
- Alabama Stakes – August 22, 2020
- Pacific Classic Stakes – August 22, 2020
- Sword Dancer (BC) – August 23, 2020
- Travers Stakes – August 29, 2020
- Woodward Stakes – August 30, 2020
The Arlington Million is a grade I race that takes place each year in August in Illinois at the Arlington Park track. This was the first-ever race for thoroughbreds that had a purse worth $1 million. It is also one of the races that make up the Breeders Cup Challenge series. The race has changed names over the years depending on the sponsor. One of the most famous renewals of this event came in 1985 when the race took place just 25 days after one of the grandstands had burnt out after a massive fire.
The Alabama Stakes has been around since 1872 and is another grade I in the horse racing schedule that takes place on a dirt track over a mile and a quarter stretch. Its purse is $600,000 and it has been the third and final race in the American Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing. It has one of the best and long-running histories of any races in the calendar each season.
|Saratoga Special||Saratoga Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Arlington Million||Arlington Heights||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Alabama Stakes||Saratoga Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Pacific Classic Stakes||Del Mar Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Sword Dancer||Saratoga Race Course||4 & Up Turf|
|Travers Stakes||Saratoga Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Woodward Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
September is a very quiet month in 2020 for horse racing. While there were a number of notable races, such as the Vosburgh Stakes and the Las Virgenes Stakes that took place in September in 2019, these have moved to different times of the year, with the Vosburgh Stakes being downgraded to a Grade Two race. Usually, it is a month that is dominated by filly races.
- Alcibiades Stakes – October 3, 2020
- Beldame Stakes – October 4, 2020
- Breeder’s Futurity Stakes – October 4, 2020
- First Lady Stakes – October 4, 2020
- Frizette Stakes – October 5, 2020
- Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes – October 11, 2020
In October, a lot of the bigger races are part of the Breeder’s Cup Challenge Series. This includes the likes of the Breeder’s Futurity, the Frizette Stakes and the Champagne Stakes. A lot of horse trainers put a massive amount of emphasis on performing well this month, with many deeming it the most important period of the entire calendar.
|Alcibiades Stakes||Keeneland Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
|Beldame Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Breeder’s Futurity Stakes||Belmont Park||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
|First Lady Stakes||Keeneland Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat|
|Frizette Stakes||Keeneland Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
|Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes||Keeneland Race Course||Thoroughbred Flat (Filly)|
- Breeder’s Cup – November 7, 2020
- Cigar Mile Handicap – November 29, 2020
The Breeder’s Cup takes place every year in November and its location is also different each season. This series of major horse races take place over the course of two days, with all of the renewals except for one taking place in the United States. The only exception was in 1996 when it took place at Canada’s Woodbine Racetrack.
The total purses for the event bypass the $30 million mark, with each race having a purse of at least $1 million and going u a high as $6 million. It is certainly a couple of days of racing that are not to be missed.
|Breeder’s Cup||Keeneland Race track||All Types|
|Cigar Mile Handicap||Aqueduct Race track||Thoroughbred Flat|
- Malibu Stakes – December 26, 2020
Despite it being the end of the calendar year, the Malibu Stakes race is always well-attended as it showcases many of the top horses that took part in the Breeder’s Cup the previous month. This is despite the purse being relatively small at $300,000. It was initially inaugurated in 1952 and has been a constant in the calendar almost every year ever since.
|Malibu Stakes||Aqueduct Race track||Thoroughbred Flat|
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.
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
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.
- June – Royal Ascot
- April – Grand National
- March – Cheltenham Festival
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.
- March – World Cup Night
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.
- November – Melbourne Cup
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.