Where is Horse Racing Most Popular? Your Go-To Guide in 2024

4 Horses racing image

📖 Published on: April 23rd, 2024

✍️ Updated: April 23rd, 2024

⏳ 10 mins read


A novice might have some sort of idea of what a horse meet is and what typically goes on in a horse betting tournament. But if you’re a pro or a frequent horse betting enthusiast, then you know where this article is heading. However, if you’re, like we said, a newbie to the world of horse racing tournaments and horse betting events, then this little blog might point you in the right direction to kickstart your horse betting journey.


While the US is home to the popular Triple Crown, other parts of the globe have renowned horse races that attract their own esteemed audiences. From the Breeder’s Cup in the US to the Epsom Derby in England, the worldwide stage for horse racing is ready and set. Read on to see where horse racing is the most popular in the world and find out how many attendees come to witness the fastest horses and jockeys go the extra mile.


United Kingdom


You might be thinking, football is probably the national sport of every English and Irish man, and while this may well be true, horses also play a big role in English sports and culture. Horse racing actually has a long history in the UK, and it has hosted The Grand National where more than 600 million viewers and over 150,000 attendees take part every year. Other popular horse betting events include the Cheltenham Festival; a four-day horse meet that takes place every March, and the Epsom Derby every June.


United States of America


The US isn’t shy of hosting the most renowned horse betting events in the world; the Triple Crown consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes which transpires in the course of two weeks from May to June.


Many people from different states and even visitors from abroad come to Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course, respectively, to witness the fastest horses in the country. One of the most recognized horses hailed as a victor in the Kentucky Derby is Secretariat which, oddly enough, inspired a Hollywood film of the same name.


Another much-anticipated horse meet is the Breeder’s Cup, established in 1984. This horse race is only a two-day event that features Grade I thoroughbred horses. Originally intended to give North American racers a season-ending title, the Breeder’s Cup has expanded to include participation from other countries.




Down under, the spirit of horse-loving people is alive and well, which is expected for a country known for several animal species. Home to the most prestigious horse meet in the country, the Melbourne Cup is hosted annually and welcomes spectators, racers, horse bettors, and more people from affluent communities to witness new records made (or maintained) every year.


This cup is also where Australia’s best horses Peter Pan, The Barb, and Dalray hailed from. Moreover, the cup gained international recognition in 1993 when a crowd favorite by the name of Vintage Crop took the prize home. Australia’s Melbourne Cup also gave way to the first female jockey to win the cup in 2015 with her trusty horse, Prince of Penzance.

3 horses and their jockeys image




While the French pride themselves as another football-loving bunch, they are also known for their $3.7 billion horse racing industry. One thing to know about French horse racing culture is that most of the money injected into the sport is exclusive to a select number of distinguished events - including, but not limited to, the Grand Prix de Paris, the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, and last but certainly not least, the Prix del’Arc de Triomphe.


Keep in mind, though, that French horse racing is closely linked with the country's PMU betting system, which is essential for financial support. It is not just about the races. This arrangement guarantees that a sizable percentage of the money made from betting is reinvested in training centers, racecourse prize money, and maintenance and improvement of the facilities. Events like the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe become more than just sporting competitions; they become significant social gatherings that benefit the industry as a whole.


Hong Kong


Now, let’s head to East Asia where the Hong Kong Cup takes place, and it’s another horse racing hub where many bettors, spectators, and horse race enthusiasts head to witness the fastest of the fastest take home the trophy. Held every year in Sha Tin Racecourse, the event is hosted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club where top-tier international thoroughbreds compete in a 1.25-mile race.


What many people probably don’t know is that Hong Kong boasts a 6 billion-dollar-a-year industry that hosts over 700 races annually. Not only that, it’s also home to the Asian Racing Federation which dictates and structures horse racing rules across the whole continent.




Japan may be known for multiple other cultural and travel landmarks, but contrary to East Asia being the hub for horse racing, Japan actually has the largest horse racing market in the East. The annual revenue received from the horse racing industry alone is $16 billion. In fact, the wealthiest turf race in the world goes to the Japan Cup, where 21,000 races occur each year.


One crucial thing to note, though, is that horse betting isn’t entirely associated with most horse races in the country - but some places have certain exceptions. However, aside from the Japan Cup, there is Ban’ei, Ban'ei racing, which is all about draft horses pulling huge sleds(weighing between 450 kg and 1 ton) on a hilly dirt track.


These giant horses, known as ‘ryokan,’ are guided by jockeys, but the entire sled needs to cross the finish line for a win, which is different from typical horse races. Although it used to be popular across Japan, it’s now mostly confined to Hokkaido. Recently, this type of horse race has given online betting for this type of race an exception and even a revival in the gambling community.


Horse jockeys racing with their horses image


Finding Legal Online Casinos for Horse Betting Activities

We’ve all been there; the complications and confusion when trying to get a full grasp of the legalities of horse betting in the US. The bottom line is that although the laws differ, betting on horses is allowed in many states. You have the option to wager at racetracks, online, or even at off-track betting establishments.


  • Checking your local regulations: This is essential, though, as what's acceptable in one state may not be in another. Whenever possible, work with licensed operators to maintain integrity. Therefore, be sure you are knowledgeable about the legal aspects of things before you stake your hard-earned money. But in case you’re still unsure and skeptical, here are some tips to help you find the best platform for horse betting:
  • Always verify licensing: Make sure the website is authorized and overseen by a respectable body, such as the state Gaming Commission. Sites with licenses ensure legal compliance and fair play.
  • Sort through reviews: Assess expert ratings and user reviews on reliable sites. Reviews can provide insights into user experience, reliability, and customer service quality.
  • Verify Payment Options: The best sites offer a variety of secure payment methods. Ensure they provide options that work well for you, and check for quick and transparent transactions.
  • Look for Promotions: Good betting sites often have bonuses and promotions. Check for welcome bonuses, free bets, or loyalty programs that enhance your betting experience.
  • Navigate user interface: The website must be simple to use and responsive to mobile devices. You can easily place bets and verify results thanks to a smooth interface.
  • Accessible customer support: Having dependable customer service is essential. Make sure the website has a variety of support options, such as phone, email, and live chat, and check how responsive they are.
  • Check event coverage: The top websites provide in-depth coverage of both domestic and international horse races. You have a higher chance of wagering on the events you want when you have more selections.


Galop Towards the Grind


So there you have it, from the Triple Crown in the U.S. to the Japan Cup, horse racing thrills fans worldwide. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned bettor, these iconic races offer excitement, tradition, and a chance to witness history in the making. Ready to place your bets? Get set, go!


If you’re eager to learn more about the top horse meets in the US, read through our blogs at GambleSpot.

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