Horse racing is not only a global sport, but is also year-round. TVG offers wagering opportunities every day of the year and all day long. Once the racing stops in Europe, the North American tracks are starting their cards, and when that is over Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan are just beginning.
Late fall and winter are definitely racing’s more quiet times, with many of the major meets concluded for the season. Steeplechase racing picks up in Europe, and the flat season moves to all weather tracks such as Lingfield and Kempton. The Hong Kong International Races, an event much like the Breeders’ Cup where horses travel from around the world to compete for top purses, takes place December 8. The Japan Cup (G1) is November 24, and the Arima Kinen (G1) December 22.
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In the United States, racing moves to Aqueduct Racetrack in New York and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in California. Aqueduct’s premier event is the $750,000 Cigar Mile (G1) on December 7. It tops a card with four major races, including the $250,000 Remsen (G2) for future Kentucky Derby prospects. The Cigar Mile has been won by the likes of Tonalist, Stay Thirsty, and Congaree.
When Hollywood Park closed in 2013, Del Mar took over their annual turf festival which takes place Thanksgiving weekend. The races include the $300,000 Hollywood Derby (G1), which California Chrome won in 2014, and the $300,000 Matriarch (G1) for fillies and mares. The four-day festival has seven stakes races worth $1.3 million.
Churchill Downs has strong racing Thanksgiving weekend as well. The $300,000 Falls City (G2) takes place Thanksgiving day, with the $600,000 Clark Handicap (G1) a landing spot for Breeder’ Cup participant Seeking the Soul this year.
Woodbine concludes their marathon meet in mid-December. The Toronto oval is done turf racing for the year, but still has the $125,000 Valedictory (G3) on December 15. That 1 ¾ mile race often brings together the best older horses on the grounds.
Racing returns at Santa Anita December 26 with several major grade 1 races that wrap up the 2019 year while simultaneously kicking off the 2020 racing season.