Here's how you can get your horse racing kick in America
With most racing around the world having to shut its doors, US racing is still going ahead with plenty of action every day.
If you are unfamiliar with the racing scene over there, Oddschcker has picked out some of the key tracks, jockeys and trainers to bear in mind over the next few months.
Firstly, a quick look at the tracks in the United States.
The most famous are the three that host the Triple Crown races. Churchill Downs is based in Louisville, Kentucky and hosts and Kentucky Derby every year.
Usually held on the first Saturday of May every year, it has been pushed back to the 5th of September in 2020. Churchill Downs has also hosted the renowned Breeders’ Cup on nine occasions, most recently on November 2 and 3, 2018.
Pimlico racetrack hosts the Preakness Stakes, which was inaugurated in 1873. Based in Baltimore, Maryland Pimlico is famous across the country and continues to host high-class racing throughout the year.
The last leg of the Triple Crown is made up by the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. The track is typically open for racing from late April through mid-July (known as the Spring meet), and again from mid-September through late October (the Fall meet).
There are several other notable tracks including the likes of Santa Anita, Keeneland, Aqueduct, Monmouth and Del Mar.
We have identified three jockeys that are worth following on the US tracks, starting with Mike Smith who famously rode Zenyatta who recorded an incredible 19 straight victories in her career. Smith has recorded a record-breaking 26 Breeders’ Cup wins and rode Justify to Triple Crown glory in 2018. At the age of 54, he is still firing in the winners. He rode earlier this week at Santa Anita, riding a winner on Sunday with his most recent ride.
John Velazquez is a Puerto Rican jockey who has landed the Kentucky Derby in 2011 and 2017. He has been a key figure across the US for many years now and continues to be one of the most sought after jockeys. He has won 15 Breeders’ Cups, only bettered by Mike Smith. He has plenty of rides at Gulfstream Park over the next few days so be sure to keep an eye out for who he is booked on.
Victor Espinoza is best known for winning the Triple Crown with American Pharoah in 2015, in the process becoming the first winner of the award in 37 years. He was the oldest jockey to do so and the first Hispanic jockey too. He has been a dominant force since the turn of the century and is still operating at a world-class level. From his last eight rides, he has ridden three winners and will be sure to be picking up many more victories in the coming weeks.
Another very talented jockeys that is worth keeping a tab on is Joel Rosario. He is younger than the others mentioned but is still a potent force.
Bob Baffert may be a familiar name to racing fans on this side of the world for the runners he sends over to Royal Ascot. The legendry trainer has two Triple Crowns to his name as well as having won five Kentucky Derbies. He has a plethora of horses and having fired in two winners last week, he will be sure to popping up regularly in the winner’s enclosure in the near future.
Todd Pletcher is another dominant force in US racing and one you want to keep on side. His biggest successes have been three Belmont Stakes winners and two Kentucky Derby winners, all part of his 6000+ winners throughout his career. He has a whole host of runners at Gulfstream Park for the rest of the week and having won his last race, he could be beginning to hit some strong form.
Chad Brown may be young for a racehorse trainer but that hasn’t stopped him reaching dizzy heights in the last decade. He is best known for his exploits with horses on the turf as well as fillies and mares. He won his first Triple Crown race with Cloud Computing in the 2017 Preakness Stakes.
Lastly, be sure to keep an eye on Steve Asmussen. He has won a wide range of huge races during his career and the South Dakota born trainer is still at the top of his game.