7 Biggest Horse Racing Tracks In The World

Is bigger, better? Well, it depends on what. In the case of horse racing, bigger usually means better, not for jockeys, but for the racetracks that host some of these events.

Horse racing is truly unique as a sport, especially when we talk about the biggest racecourses. Just to get a better idea of the scale of the biggest horse racing tracks let’s compare them to other sports like football.

Football is the most popular sport in the world in terms of number of fans. But the biggest football stadium is Nou Camp in Barcelona and it has a capacity of 100,000. Compared to the giants of the horse racing industry like the Tokyo Racecourse in Japan with a capacity of over 220,000 spectators, Nou Camp appears really small.

This inspired us to go on a search for the biggest horse racing tracks in the world and find out some more interesting facts that will definitely surprise you.

1. Tokyo Racecourse, Japan

Tokyo Racecourse, known as “The Racecourse of Racecourses,” is a behemoth in the heart of Fuchu, Tokyo. This colossal venue, with a capacity of 223,000 spectators, is not just about size; it’s a spectacle.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1933
  • Track Length: 2,083 meters (1.29 miles)
  • Capacity: 223,000
  • Signature Race: Japan Cup

Why is it so famous? Well, it hosts the Japan Cup, one of the richest turf races globally, with a purse of around $5.8 million. Imagine the roar of nearly a quarter-million people as horses sprint towards the finish line. Gives you goosebumps, right?

2. Churchill Downs, USA

When you think of American horse racing, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, probably pops into your head. This iconic track is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the Triple Crown.

This year was their special 150th Anniversary and the action on the racetrack didn’t disappoint. We’ve seen the closest finish where Mystic Dan won by a nose. Unfortunately, we won’t see a triple crown winner this year, since Mystik Dan finished second in the Preakness Stakes.

But that shouldn’t discourage us from seeing the Belmont Stakes (3rd leg of the Triple Crown), which happens in Saratoga (New York). If you cannot wait to place some bets on the last race, make sure you check out the odds and favorites first on the link below: twinspires.com/belmont-stakes/odds/

I think it is safe to say that among the three races, the Kentucky Derby draws the biggest crowd.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1875
  • Track Length: 1,609 meters (1 mile)
  • Capacity: 165,000+
  • Signature Race: Kentucky Derby

Have you ever worn a ridiculously oversized hat while sipping a mint julep? If not, you’re missing out on the quintessential Churchill Downs experience. The Kentucky Derby alone draws over 150,000 spectators each year. Talk about a party!

Jupiter Firelyte, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Flemington Racecourse, Australia

Located in Melbourne, Flemington Racecourse is the crown jewel of Australian horse racing. It’s home to the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1840
  • Track Length: 2,312 meters (1.44 miles)
  • Capacity: 120,000
  • Signature Race: Melbourne Cup

What’s so special about Flemington? For starters, the Melbourne Cup has prize money for the winner of approximately $4.4 million. But it’s not just about the money. The entire nation of Australia practically shuts down for this race. Offices? Closed. Schools? Closed. Heartbeats? Racing.

4. Meydan Racecourse, UAE

Meydan Racecourse in Dubai is a marvel of modern architecture and opulence. It’s not just a racecourse; it’s a symbol of Dubai’s extravagance.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 2010
  • Track Length: 2,400 meters (1.5 miles)
  • Capacity: 60,000
  • Signature Race: Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup is the richest horse race in the world, with a staggering purse of $12 million. Picture this: you’re watching the race from a five-star hotel room that’s part of the grandstand. Luxury? Check. Adrenaline? Double-check.

5. Epsom Downs, UK

Epsom Downs is steeped in history and tradition. Located in Surrey, England, it’s the home of the Epsom Derby, one of the oldest and most prestigious horse races in the world.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1661
  • Track Length: 2,423 meters (1.5 miles)
  • Capacity: 130,000
  • Signature Race: Epsom Derby

What makes Epsom Downs a standout? It’s the sheer historical weight. The Epsom Derby has been run since 1780. To put that in perspective, America was still figuring out this whole independence thing when horses started galloping here.

Fun Fact: The Kentucky Derby was started by Meriweather Lewis Clark Jr. after being inspired by the Epsom Derby.

6. Longchamp Racecourse, France

Situated in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, Longchamp Racecourse is as classy as it gets. It’s famous for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Europe’s most prestigious horse race.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1857
  • Track Length: 2,400 meters (1.5 miles)
  • Capacity: 50,000
  • Signature Race: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

The French know a thing or two about style, and Longchamp is no exception. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has a prize purse of around $5.6 million. Plus, you get to enjoy it all with a backdrop of Parisian charm. C’est magnifique!

7. Ascot Racecourse, UK

Ascot, located in Berkshire, England, is closely associated with the British Royal Family. It’s the site of Royal Ascot, an event that’s more about the social scene than the racing.

Key Facts:

  • Opened: 1711
  • Track Length: 2,814 meters (1.75 miles)
  • Approximately Capacity: 70,000
  • Signature Race: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes

Ascot is all about pomp and circumstance. The Queen attends, people dress to the nines, and there’s enough champagne to fill a small lake. The racing? Oh yeah, it’s top-notch too.

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