Top 5 Horse Meets to Try Out If You Want to Try Horse Betting

A horse race image

📖 Published on: March 26th, 2024

✍️ Updated: April 1st, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


In a horse race, sometimes, the fastest isn’t always the only one to keep an eye on. The potential of a racer is also bred in the derby, and finding ones you can bet on for the next season is a skill that can be developed if you will it!


When betting on a horse for the first time, the major interstate races and even the complex jargon can be intimidating. Still, hopefully, you will stick around to see which are the best derbies and horse meets to check out when you are finally ready to begin your horse-betting journey.


What to Know about the Triple Crown

This is probably one of the terms you’ll often hear in horse betting. The Triple Crown of American horse racing comprises three exciting and competitive horse meets: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. This year, the 2024 Triple Crown season will happen between six weeks, from May to June. Here are the dates to take note of so you don’t miss out on the action:


  • May 4th: Kentucky Derby
  • May 18th: Preakness Stakes
  • June 8th: Belmont Stakes


Kentucky Derby

While many of us might associate Kentucky with fried chicken and Colonel Sanders, it’s important to know that Kentucky is more than just a KFC reference - far from it! It’s also home to one of the longest horse races in the US, going back to 1875. The Kentucky Derby is where all the heavy bettors and high rollers appear and show their wagering power. It usually occurs annually in the same venue, Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky.


The Kentucky Derby has been a famous horse race that avid horse racing enthusiasts have frequented since the beginning of time—well, technically, 1875. But it’s not one to overlook for its profit potential. 2016 was a reputable year for the derby, garnering over $111 million in straight pools and vertical exotics


Kentucky Derby image


The Kentucky Derby's field and pool size are typically tell-tale signs that the payoffs are lucrative, and you should pay attention to this. Generally speaking, the Kentucky Derby is often the most sought-after in the Triple Crown race to get the most value for your money unless you're merely betting the minimal $2 to Win, Place, or Show on short-priced horses performing as expected.


Some of the most notable horses and their winning odds in the last five years include:


  • 2019: Country Horse (30-1)
  • 2020: Authentic (8-1)
  • 2021: Mandaloun (12-1)
  • 2022: Rich Strike (80-1)
  • 2023: Mage (15-1)


Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is another horse meet to watch out for in the Triple Crown. It’s just as exciting as the Kentucky Derby and also boasts a lot of tradition. The history of this meet hailed from a dinner party in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1870. Many horse racing enthusiasts decided to throw a party and commemorate it with a horse track. Fast forward to 1873, the Pimlico Race Course came to be, where a horse named Preakness won the first race held in the venue, and thus, today, we have the Preakness Stakes to look forward to every year.


Many bettors have found success in straight and vertical pool betting, which went over $55 million in 2016. This 1900-meter race occurs on the Pimlico Race Course every year, two weeks following the Kentucky Derby. This year, it’s scheduled for the 18th of May in Baltimore, Maryland.


Now, if you think running in the Kentucky Derby is enough for horse racers, you’re very much mistaken - since most Preakness entrants and competitors have successfully raced in the Kentucky Derby as well.


This also raises the question of what odds and which horses have made names for themselves in the Preakness Stakes in the last few years. Here are a few you should probably check out:


  • 2019: War of Will (6.10-1)
  • 2020: Swiss Skydiver (11.7-1)
  • 2021: Rombauer (11.8-1)
  • 2022: Early Voting (7-2)
  • 2023: National Treasure (4-1)


Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is a rather notable horse meet. The event has drawn more attention due to the recent win of jockey Jena Antonucci.


Antonucci made history as the first female trainer to win with her horse, Arcangelo, at the Triple Crown race in 2023. This 1.5-mile race takes place annually in Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It’s scheduled for June 8th this year, so mark your calendars!


This horse race is the oldest among the three in the Triple Crown, and it dates back to 1867 and was funded and created by diplomat and sportsman August Belmont in early 1853.

People betting in a horse meet image


The last leg of the Triple Crown is when horses, jockeys, owners, and affiliates of the derby are already well-versed in the odds of their bets going through - or if it’s time to reassess their picks for the next derby. A world record was given to a 31-length victory in 1973 for a mile and a half at 2:24 by the renowned horse Secretariat.


Fast-forward to present-day racing. The Belmont Stakes has gained some promising wins over the years despite the 37-year Triple Crown loss streak.


  • 2019: Sir Winston (65-1)
  • 2020: Tiz the Law (6-5)
  • 2021: Essential Quality (2-1)
  • 2022: Mo Donegal (5-2)
  • 2023: Arcangelo (8-1)


Arkansas Derby

Heading south, the Arkansas Derby is held in Oaklawn Park Fills in Hot Spring, Garland County, and is considered one of the most lucrative derbies in the US. The prize money is divided among the competing horses, with the winner getting sixty percent.


This horse meet dates back to 1936. It started with a $5,000 purse, which horse enthusiasts and bettors kept a close eye on until the Holl Image won. The purse was spruced to a whopping $50,000 in 1965. An interesting fact about the Arkansas Derby is that it boasted its first female horse winner in 1984, a horse named Althea. Fast-forward to 2020, the derby was split into two divisions to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures.


Some of the notable winners in the last five years include:

  • 2019: Omaha Beach (8-5)
  • 2020 Second Division: Nadal (5-2)
  • 2020 First Division: Charlatan (1-1)
  • 2021: Super Stock (6-1)
  • 2022: Cyberknife (5-1)
  • 2023: Angel of Empire (9-2)


Breeder’s Cup

This horse meet isn’t exactly part of the Triple Crown, but it’s a smaller horse racing event worth mentioning. It takes place later in the year on the first weekend of November. While venues continue to change, 14 races occur in two days and are attended by many affluent figures, race enthusiasts, sports bettors, and competitive athletes and celebrities in the US.

Breeder's Cup image


The Breeder’s Cup World Championship is an elite horse racing event where the highest-breed equines are presented to a global audience. This annual event has been around since 1984. It has become a vast race where countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Venezuela, among many others, come to the US and represent their country’s best thoroughbreds. Some of the notable winners in the last five years include:


  • 2019: Vino Rosso (4-1)
  • 2020: Authentic (73-1)
  • 2021: Knicks Go (5-2)
  • 2022: Flightline (3-5)
  • 2023: White Abarrio (5-2)


Watch them Go!

So, whether you're eyeing the thrill of the Triple Crown classics like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes or seeking the excitement of races like the Arkansas Derby and Breeder’s Cup, horse betting offers a wild ride. Get ready to saddle up and experience the adrenaline rush of picking your winning horse!


Learn more about horse betting from our guide and explore which sportsbooks best suit you from GambleSpot today.

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