If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you might think that horse racing’s biggest events have already come and gone for the year. But the 2017 racing calendar still has many mega racing events yet to take place at some of the world’s most prestigious racetracks.
August 26: Travers Stakes (Saratoga Springs, New York)
Perhaps the U.S.’s most famous non-Triple Crown horse race, the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in New York symbolizes the end of the American summer with its 1 1/4-mile dirt track race. Held nearly-annually since 1864, the race is for American 3-year-olds and features a purse of $1.25 million.
The track, known as the “Graveyard of Champions”, is notorious for seeing some of the most famous racehorses in history suffer losses, including Secretariat, Gallant Fox, Man o’ War, and more recently, American Pharoah. Usually featured in the Travers are winners of Triple Crown races, or in the case of 2016, the horse that would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Dubai World Cup (Arrogate).
October 2: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Chantilly, France)
Although the famous Parisian race will again be held in front of a smaller crowd this year, its purse will be as large as ever. For the second consecutive year, the world’s richest turf race will be held at Chantilly (due to renovations at Longchamp) and will feature a purse of €5 million. While the course doesn’t have central Paris as its backdrop like Longchamp does, it has no shortage of rich history, having hosted prestigious races since 1834.
2017’s lineup of horses should be as star-studded as ever, and the race’s current odds-on favorites at many horse betting sites like OnlineGambling.com are Almanzor (the world’s #4 race horse of 2016), Enable (2017 Epsom Oaks and Irish Oaks winner), and Brametot (2017 French Derby winner).
November 4: Breeders’ Cup Classic (Del Mar, California)
Casual fans might think that the U.S. racing calendar only runs from May to June, but the crown jewel of American horse racing actually comes months after the Triple Crown season ends. The Breeders’ Cup Classic was once America’s wealthiest race until the Pegasus World Cup was introduced earlier this year. The collection of talent in the starting gate is often unparalleled and features 8-14 horses that have won other major races, including legs of the Triple Crown.
In 2017, the $6 million race will be held at California’s famed Del Mar Race Track for the first time. Those that aren’t part of the 44,000+ able to make it to the grounds on race day can still enjoy the action from the nearby Surfside Race Place. At 90,000 square feet, it’s one of America’s largest off-track betting facilities and offers live wagering on races that are shown on over 1,000 TVs.
November 7: Melbourne Cup (Melbourne, Australia)
The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s most prestigious race and the centerpiece of Melbourne’s famed spring carnival festivities. The first Tuesday this November, around 100,000 fans will pack inside the Flemington Racecourse for the 2-mile turf race. Raceday is a public holiday for most of Victoria, who attend, watch, or listen to ‘The Race That Stops A Nation.’
The race has been even more monumental than usual recently, with some sort of ‘first’ or history being made each of the past seven years. Last year, owner Lloyd Williams became the first owner to have five Melbourne Cup winners to his name when Almandin crossed the line first. In 2015, Michelle Payne became the first woman jockey to win the race, riding aboard the 100-1 longshot Prince of Penzance. The hype for this year’s race is already building over the course of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Tour that allows towns large and small to see the travelling $200,000 Cup trophy before its final stop in Melbourne.
November 26: Japan Cup (Tokyo, Japan)
One of the last big races of the calendar year is held in front of 223,000 fans at “The Racecourse of Racecourses.” The Japan Cup always takes place on the last Sunday of November at the gigantic Tokyo Racecourse and sees up to 18 thoroughbreds racing 1 1/2 miles for ¥476 million (about US $5.8 million).
On top of already being the third-richest horse race in the world, the Japan Cup offers extra monetary incentives to foreign horses that both finish high and have won another major race beforehand. While the race has had its champions come from several different countries in its short 35-year history, no foreign horse has managed to finish in the top three since 2007.