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.
- 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.
|Sham Stakes||Santa Anita||3yo, 1 mile, Grade III|
|Santa Ynez Stakes||Santa Anita||3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, Grade II|
|La Cañada Stakes||Santa Anita||4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade III|
|Pegasus World Cup||Gulfstream Park||4yo+, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I|
|Pegasus World Cup Turf||Gulfstream Park||4yo+, 1 3/16 miles (turf), Grade I|
- 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.
|Sam F. Davis Stakes||Tampa Bay Downs||3yo colts, 1 1/6 miles, Grade III|
|Risen Star Stakes||Fairgrounds||3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II|
|Fountain of Youth Stakes||Gulfstream Park||3yo colts, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II|
- 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 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.
|Gotham Stakes||Aqueduct||3yo colts, 1 mile, Grade III|
|Frank E. Kilroe Mile||Santa Anita||4yo+, 1m (turf), Grade I|
|San Felipe Stakes||Santa Anita||3yo, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II|
|Beholder Mile Stakes||Santa Anita||3yo+ fillies, 1 mile, Grade I|
|Florida Derby||Gulfstream Park||3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I|
|Dubai World Cup||Meydan||4yo+, 1¼ miles, Grade I|
|Dubai Sheema Classic||Meydan||3yo+, 1½ miles (turf), Grade I|
- 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.
|Bluegrass Stakes||Keeneland||3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II|
|Wood Memorial Stakes||Aqueduct||3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II|
|Santa Anita Derby||Santa Anita||3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I|
|Ashland Stakes||Keeneland||3yo fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I|
|Carter Handicap||Belmont Park||3yo+, 7/8 mile, Grade I|
|Maker’s 46 Mile||Keeneland||4yo+, 1 mile (turf), Grade I|
|Arkansas Derby||Oaklawn Park||3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I|
|Apple Blossom Handicap||Oaklawn Park||4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I|
|Kentucky Oaks||Churchill Downs||3yo fillies, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I|
- 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.
|Churchill Downs Stakes||Churchill Downs||4yo+, 7/8 mile, GI|
|Kentucky Derby||Churchill Downs||3yo, 1¼ miles, GI|
|Man o’ War Stakes||Belmont Park||4yo+, 1 3/8 miles (turf), GI|
|Preakness Stakes||Pimlico||3yo, 1 3/16 miles, GI|
- 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.
|Acorn Stakes||Belmont Park||3yo fillies, 1 mile, GI|
|Belmont Stakes||Belmont Park||3yo, 1½ miles, GI|
|Metropolitan Handicap||Belmont Park||3yo+, 1m, GI (handicap)|
|Hollywood Gold Cup||Santa Anita||3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI|
- 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.
|Belmont Derby||Belmont Park||3yo colts, 1¼ miles (turf) GI|
|Belmont Oaks||Belmont Park||3yo fillies, 1¼ miles (turf), GI|
|Diana Stakes||Saratoga||3yo+ fillies, 1 1/8 miles, GI|
|Haskell Stakes||Monmouth||3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI (invitation only)|
- 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.
|Whitney Handicap||Saratoga||3yo+, 1 1/8 miles, GI|
|Arlington Million||Arlington Park||3yo+, 1¼ miles (turf), GI|
|Beverly D. Stakes||Arlington Park||3yo+ fillies, 1 3/16 miles (turf), GI|
|Pacific Classic||Del Mar||3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI|
|Travers Stakes||Saratoga||3yo, 1¼ miles, GI|
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- 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.
|Pennsylvania Derby||Parx||3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI|
|American Pharoah Stakes||Santa Anita||2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI|
- 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.
|Shadwell Turf Mile||Keeneland||3yo+, 1 mile (turf), GI|
|Breeders’ Futurity Stakes||Keeneland||2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI|
|Jockey Club Gold Cup||Belmont Park||3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI|
- 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 / Meet||Track||Conditions|
|Breeders’ Cup World Championships||Del Mar||Various|
|Clark Handicap||Churchill Downs||3yo+, 1 1/8 miles, GI|
- 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.
|Cigar Mile||Aqueduct||3yo+, 1 mile, GI (handicap)|
|La Brea Stakes||Santa Anita||3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, GI|
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.
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 – Dubai World Cup
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.