As the curtain comes down on another fabulous year of global equine sport, what do American horse racing fans have to look forward to in 2020?
The annual calendar of fixtures is stacked, so we’ve shortlisted five of the best events for thoroughbred racehorses.
Pegasus World Cup
Gulfstream Park in the Miami metropolitan area hosts the first mega meeting of the US horse racing year. On January 25, North America’s richest horse race – the Pegasus World Cup over nine furlongs – takes place in the Florida Keys.
With a companion race on turf introduced in 2019 and millions of dollars up for grabs in prize money, the Pegasus World Cup is sure to attract global interest and entries once more.
It sits in a nice spot for horses on a Northern Hemisphere winter ahead of big springtime events in the Middle East like the new Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup night.
The Run for the Roses is still the ultimate test for American three-year-old thoroughbreds. It endures as the most historic and significant equivalent to the British Classics on which it is based and somehow seems infinitely most prestigious than other US Triple Crown events, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
May 2, 2020, is the date for the next Kentucky Derby. Run over about a mile-and-a-quarter at Churchill Downs in Louisville in the Bluegrass State, the winner is often unraced as a two-year-old making it tough for bettors to have a long-term gamble.
Belmont Stakes and Gold Cup Invitational
Belmont Park on the edge of New York City hosts the third and final leg of the US Triple Crown, plus an invitational contest for stayers. The Belmont Stakes is run on dirt over a mile-and-a-half sometimes five, but in this coming year’s case six weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
The Belmont Gold Cup Invitational over two miles is for four-year-olds and up. Transatlantic raiders from France, Ireland and the UK have lined up in recent renewals, so it’s well worth keeping an eye out for the best horse racing tips on this event which takes place in 2020 on June 13.
American Grand National
Horse racing in the US tends to focus on Flat thoroughbreds, but those with an aptitude for jumps can contest the American Grand National at Far Hills just outside the New York City limits in New Jersey.
As with the Belmont Gold Cup in nearby Elmont, horses from Britain and Ireland have in recent years come over to contest this race, which is more of a hurdles event than a traditional National Hunt steeplechase.
Brain Power from the mighty English stable of Nicky Henderson took the 2019 running when Irish raider Wicklow Brave sadly suffered a fatal fall in front at the final flight. The American Grand National of 2020 is penciled in for October 17.
Last and by no means least is the Breeders’ Cup. A two-day horse racing extravaganza held a different venue in the US each year, the 2020 edition comes from Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
This track hosted the 2015 Breeders’ Cup with great success. A series of win and you’re in races will take place all over the world throughout 2020 and invitees then take part on turf and dirt over different distances in the relevant discipline on November 6 and 7.