Being British, when growing up my knowledge of Australia was rather comically limited to the BBC (at the time) soap Neighbours. That may sound ludicrous in this day and age but the Australian soap opera had the whole country engrossed for a good decade plus. We got to take in the sun, sea and sand. The local coffee shop, and various strange and unlikely happenings you’d expect of a soap opera. All taking place around the location of the show; Erinsborough (a fictional place for what it’s worth!).
Of course one thing that Erinsborough never seemed to have as far as I can recollect was a casino, or even a race course. There was no storyline centred around a night on the best australian pokies, or getting an accumulator up on the races. It’s a shame really as most Aussies I know love a good gamble. And on top of that they do have some beautiful racecourse, and races that draw in the cream of the crop from the horse racing world.
Much like being a high roller casino fan and hoping that big bucks are coming your way, the top names in racing; owners, trainers and jockeys alike all have their eye on the prize in some of the most prestigious Australian races. The Melbourne Cup is certainly the first (and main) one that comes to mind. It’s not just an Australian affair either. The race draws in worldwide audiences and interest.
This thoroughbred race, held over 3200-metre for three year olds+ at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, is known as the richest two miler in the world. Understandably so being that it had a purse of A$8,000,000 in 2020. It was first held way back in 1861, which surely speaks to its history and continued relevance. Australian TV audiences are routinely in the millions, and that’s before racing fans from around the world are factored in too. Winner of the 2020 Melbourne Cup race was Twilight Payment from Ireland. It’s a race that will have relevance for decades to come, on a course that is a joy to visit.
Thus far there hasn’t exactly been a heavy focus on American racecourses on the horses and courses site, with instead more of a focus on the UK. It’s hard to deny the popularity of horse racing stateside though, and the thrill of both sport and gambling in general to the American public. Stateside there are plenty of usrealmoneycasinos , of that there can be no doubt. Then of course Las Vegas is known not only in the states, but worldwide too. Away from the casino world though, sports betting in taking off more and more stateside, as more states recognise the freedom to have a ‘flutter’.
In fact for a country priding itself on ‘freedom’ the United States of America has been shockingly behind the curb regarding the freedom to bet and gamble. In part likely due to the monopoly held by Las Vegas in several states there have been laws that place limits on online casinos, sport betting at the like. Thankfully though that is now changing at a fast pace and American citizens are free to take part in this form of entertainment and skill. About time too!
On course betting has always, or rather often been possible stateside, but it’s not like we all have a racecourse on our doorstep. But, nevertheless on that topic what amazing and noteworthy racecourses America does have. Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, Santa Anita Park, the list goes on.
My personal favourite of these prestigious racecourses just has to be Arlington Park. The course hosted the country’s first ever $1 million stakes race in the 1920’s and is located in Chicago, Illinois. An interesting fact, as that’s not necessarily a location that people would automatically link to horse racing. Stakes races such as the Arlington Million Stakes, Secretariat Stakes, and the American Derby are held there annually.It’s the ‘trusted pair of hands’ of racing as far as holding these events goes.
Of other courses, Churchill Downs too, surrounded by beautiful unspoiled landscapes is another racecourse that isn’t to be missed. You’ll have no doubt seen it grace your TV screens, whether you’re US based or not and it is home to the Kentucky Derby too, the very first leg of the Triple Crown Series (with the other two being the Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.)
In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the suspension of horse racing in Great Britain between mid-March and early June, the Royal Ascot schedule was expanded to include seven races on each of the first four days and eight on the fifth. It was a wild time with sporting events being cancelled left, right and centre. Of course for gamblers, there was still the prospect of playing online casinos and the like such as joka room, but placing a wager of sport was all but impossible.
In 2021, the Queen gave permission for some, but not all, the schedule changes to be made permanent. Thus, four of the six races added, or reinstated, in 2020 – namely the Copper Horse Stakes, Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes, the Golden Gates Stakes and Buckingham Palace Stakes – will be retained in 2021.
The Silver Royal Hunt Cup and the Silver Wokingham Handicap, run as the opening races on day two and day five, respectively, in 2020 will not, but a new race, the Kensington Palace Stakes will be added to the schedule to make a full quota of seven races on each day. The Kensington Palace Stakes, whose name has been approved by the Queen, is a mile handicap restricted to fillies and mares aged four years and upwards. With the exception of the Golden Gates Stakes, which will be run as the penultimate race on day five – such that the Queen Alexandra Stakes retains its position as the final race of the Royal Meeting – each of the ‘new’ races, including the Buckingham Palace Stakes, will be run as the last race on each day.
It’s good to have these regal affairs back on the cards. A nice combination of real money slots and a day at the race is the ideal for many punters. It will be quite something, throughout this years racing calendar to actually be part of it, rather than having cancellations galore or not being able to attend.