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Thoroughbred Racing in Florida has always been a beautiful staple for the state. Home to the Horse Capital of the World located in Ocala / Marion County. Two of the most popular race tracks in the United States, Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs are located in Florida. If you’re looking to get into horse racing, then you’re just a few steps away. Take a day out to the tracks and maybe even check in for the Florida Derby!


What to Expect


The race tracks are a good place to visit for a multitude of reasons. All types of people will be able to find some type of fun and entertainment. And I bet once you hear the gates go off, you’ll be joining the crowds, screaming for your winning horse and one step closer to being a thoroughbred expert. First you must plan the level of which to go. Buy your seats ahead of time if you’re looking for comfort and specific areas. You can get your own box or maybe even get into the private clubs for the day.

Now, to start your day at the races you can visit the information desk and learn about the venue, horses, owners, jockeys and plan out what you wish to do for the day. Grab a racing program so you can read up on the statistics for each horse in the upcoming races. Feel free to visit retail vendors to grab a nice horse track hat and accessories to match. Grab some of the great refreshments and snacks! Once you’re finished browsing and shopping its time to get to your seats. Then it’s time to get to the action.



And….They’re Off!


Watching these majestic beasts in action in truly fascinating. These beautiful creatures are well taken care of and it’s quite apparent. A horse race itself is so invigorating. Throwing out some bets on the horses you like and rooting them on is what it’s all about. These professional jockeys and horses have worked their lives to be the best of the best.

There aren’t many things more enticing then throwing down twenty dollars on the long-shot and 50 – 1 odds. Simply put, the higher the odds to lose, the bigger the payout. If in fact this horse makes an underdog story true, such an example would end with you receiving around a thousand dollars on a twenty-dollar bet. Imagine you just went to have a fun day and you come back home with the biggest grin that you’ve ever had just because you tried a day out at the track.


Florida Venues


If you’re looking for good ol’ fashioned thoroughbred racing, you got two main options in the state of Florida. Tampa Bay Downs, located in Tampa and Gulfstream Park, located in Hallandale Beach. Both of these race tracks are in some of the most pristine condition.


Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs was originally opened in 1926 and has been used for many different occasions. At one point the track was even used as a military training facility! This destination has a ton of different attractions to keep you entertained. According to the Tampa Bay Downs website:

“Start your day with an afternoon of world-class Thoroughbred racing. “

“There truly is something for everyone at Tampa Bay Downs, the premier multi-entertainment destination on Florida’s gulf coast!”

Truly a festival of fun for a day out to the races. Speaking of, they even hold a Festival Day! This event is their biggest day of the year where the host races with purses totaling well over a million dollars. Celebrate with them and enjoy their vendors, attractions and all the festivities they provide.


Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park has held a very high esteem in the history of thoroughbred racing. All that have watched horse racing, as well as those who don’t, know about the Kentucky Derby. It is the biggest race of the year. However, at Gulfstream Park there is also such an event. The Florida Derby, held 5 weeks before the date of the Kentucky Derby, is seen as almost the preliminary race for the horses. All horses that enter must be 3 years old.

“Since 1939, Gulfstream Park has been one of the most important venues for horse racing in the country. Some of the world’s top thoroughbred contenders pass through Gulfstream Park with their eye on Triple Crown glory.”

This comes directly from the Gulfstream website. Their race track is the first step to the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is the most glorious of all trophy’s in thoroughbred racing. The Florida Derby is a chance to join the horse racing community for a fantastic day of the year. Fans, celebrities and some of the top owners and jockeys in the game.

The Triple Crown?

Out of all the awards in thoroughbred racing in the United States, the Triple Crown is the most prestigious. It is awarded to a three year old horse that has achieved victory at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Out of all the history of racing in the United States, this award has only been given to 13 different horses. Even more incredible, was that this was attained by a horse named Justify just last year! The legendary horse Secretariat ran these races and still holds the records for all of them. This horse even has a movie made for this celebrated year.


Horses Are at the Gates!


Ready to take a day and head out to the horse tracks? There is a whole world of thoroughbred racing waiting for you to explore it. All you need is a nice day, a nice shirt and a few friends to enjoy these wonderful places. If you wish to learn more, then feel free to check out the websites of these race tracks. These places hold tons of events that will allow you to not only experience the races, but add a little bit of flare to your day. Pick the day you want ahead of time, grab your preferably seating and enjoy your time at the races!



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About The Author

Santino DeBlasiis

Rome, New York born and bred. Strong Italian heritage and a whole lot of talent. Let's play some Bocce. I'll win and then write about it. Otherwise, I'll be by the water throwing in a line and having a drink.

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