One of my greatest summer memories growing up was going to the racetrack with my family for the
horse races. We would get up early in the morning and dress in our Sunday best (there is a dress code
for the clubhouse seating) before piling in the car for the 3-hour country drive to the track.
A festival feel greets you immediately at the front gate with a live jazz band on the lawn. Before long
handicappers attempt to sell you their programs for the day’s races and you are glad they do. It almost
makes you feel prepared after reading the horse, jockey, and trainer statistics prior to placing bets.
But a day at the races is not merely about placing a wager or two. The entire spectacle is an incredible
experience. The intensity of competition is alive from the stables to the turf; from the grandstand to the finish-line executive boxes. There is hardly another comparable feeling to the ripple of electricity of cheering your steed to victory as the horses charge down the stretch. It is an unmatched visceral thrill even if you bet only $2 on the race.
Simply put, a day at the races is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer day. But since most of us do not live close to a storied race track, we must travel to these courses for a holiday whether it is a day trip like I used to take as a kid or as a full vacation.
So if you want the ultimate experience in horse racing, you’ll have to visit these top four temples to the sport:
Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England
The Ascot Racecourse located in the Berkshire village of Ascot in England offers amenities and luxury fit for kings and queens. The facility is frequently attended by the British Royals especially for its largest event - the Royal Ascot - which consists of 24 major races over four days in June. It’s extremely formal and all visitors must adhere to strict dress codes and will be set back a handsome fee just to attend.
Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky
This legendary facility Churchill Downs is the home of the world’s most famous race: the Kentucky Derby in the first week of May. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown races in the United States. The stadium holds up to 120,000 racing fans making the down-the-stretch thunder louder than any other horse track.
Grab a fancy hat (be sure to follow the other dress code too) and plan to drink a mint julep at next year’sDerby.
Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, UAE
No expense has been spared in the design and daily operation of the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
Major musicians play during the race season, particularly during big races. Luxury hotels and other amenities are nearby to complete the experience of enjoying the races while exploring one of the most modern cities in the world.
Saratoga Racecourse in Saratoga, New York
Saratoga is the historic course I grew up going to every summer. We were fortunate to live close enough (in Connecticut) to enjoy one of the most classy sporting arenas in one of the cutest small towns in the world. It is considered the oldest active sporting venue in America. With a small capacity of 50,000,there are no bad places to watch the races at Saratoga racecourse.
If you like sports, horses, betting and nice summer days; these stunning facilities are an amazing way to spend a day or two at. Be sure to add them to your travel bucket list. Who knows? You may win the cost of your vacation on that long shot!