USA Horse Racing: Rich History, Famous Races & Top Performers

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Horse racing has been integral to American culture for almost four centuries. The USA boasts a rich horse racing history, with famous races, tracks, jockeys, trainers, and horses.

Despite the popularity of horse racing, it remains a mystery to many people. What makes this sport so fascinating is the excitement of watching the horses race and the skill of the jockeys and trainers.

In this article, we will explore the rich history of USA horse racing, famous races, and the top performers who have made this sport what it is today. Additionally, we will delve into horse race betting and statistics that make it such a unique and exciting sport.

Popular Races

The most notable races in USA horse racing include the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Pegasus World Cup, and Breeders Cup.

The Kentucky Derby, also known as the ‘Run for the Roses,’ is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. It is held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Preakness Stakes is the second race of the Triple Crown and is held annually on the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

There are many interesting 2023 Belmont Stakes picks and favorites for the ‘Test of the Champions’ race, as the fact that this is the final race of the Triple Crown held annually on the first or second Saturday in June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, makes thing all that more interesting.

The Pegasus World Cup, created in 2017, is a relatively new race that offers the largest purse in North America with a $12 million payout.

The Breeders Cup is a series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races held annually in November. It consists of 14 races and is known for its high level of competition and large purses.

These races, along with other notable stakes races such as the Travers Stakes and the Santa Anita Handicap, attract top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world and are highly anticipated events in the horse racing world.

Top Performers

Among the accomplished figures in the sport, a few trainers stand out like towering oaks in a forest, including Bob Baffert, Tom Smith, and Jack Fisher.

Bob Baffert is one of the most successful trainers in horse racing history, with seven Kentucky Derby wins, two Triple Crown winners, and multiple victories in other major races like the Preakness Stakes and Breeders Cup.

On the other hand, Tom Smith is best known for training Seabiscuit, the legendary horse that won many races and captured the hearts of millions during the Great Depression.

Jack Fisher is a Hall of Fame steeplechase trainer who has won numerous races and championships in his career, including the National Steeplechase Association Championship in 2018 and 2020.

In addition to these trainers, there have been many top jockeys who have made a significant impact on the sport.

Craig Perret, Victor Espinoza, Chris Antley, Eddie Arcaro, Bill Hartack, John R. Velazquez, and Mike Smith are some of the most famous jockeys in the history of USA horse racing.

Russell Baze, however, holds the record for the most wins in USA history with over 12,800 career victories.

These top performers have not only achieved great success in their respective roles but have also inspired generations of horse racing enthusiasts with their passion, dedication, and talent.

Betting and Statistics

The statistics and prevalence of betting in horse racing demonstrate its significant role in the industry.

In the USA, betting on horse racing is legal in almost all states and is a major source of revenue for the sport. According to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, in 2020, the total amount wagered on horse racing in the USA was $10.9 billion, with $7.6 billion of that being bet off-track.

In addition to the revenue generated by betting, statistics also play a significant role in USA horse racing. Some of the most successful trainers, jockeys, and horses are often defined by their win records and career statistics.

For example, Steven Asmussen, the most successful trainer in USA horse racing history, has nearly 10,000 career wins. Similarly, Russell Baze, the jockey with the most wins in USA history, has over 12,800 career wins.

These statistics contribute to these individuals’ prestige and reputation and provide valuable information for bettors and fans alike.


USA horse racing has a rich history and a plethora of famous races, top performers, and interesting statistics. Horse racing has been a part of American culture for centuries, and the Triple Crown races, Pegasus World Cup, and Breeders Cup have cemented their place in history.

The jockeys, trainers, and horses have all contributed to the success of USA horse racing, with names like Craig Perret, Bob Baffert, and American Pharoah becoming household names.

Symbolically, horse racing represents the epitome of sportsmanship, where the bond between the jockey and the horse is of utmost importance. It is a sport where the fittest, fastest and strongest prevail and where the thrill of the race is matched only by the excitement of the betting.

Horse racing continues to be an important part of American culture, and the passion and dedication of those involved in the sport ensures that it will continue to thrive for generations to come.