Your Local Track: A Breeders’ Cup Alternative

Events / Travel

Like Oaklawn Park, your local track is a great place to watch and bet on the Breeders' Cup if you can't make it to the event in person. (Photos by Eclipse Sportswire)

Three years ago, attending the Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita Park in California wasn’t feasible for my husband and me. Minor details like 1,671 miles, dearth of time off and a high-risk pregnancy kept us tucked away in our home state of Arkansas. What was within our grasp, however, was a trip to our local racetrack: Oaklawn Park. 

After emails from many online betting outlets challenged us to “crush the Breeders’ Cup,” we made the short drive to the track with that goal in mind, along with the objective of having a small staycation. It was one of the most fun weekends we’ve ever had. 

We reserved a table in the Jockey Club, feasted on a grand buffet, spread our programs and tip sheets all over a table, placed bets with live mutuels, watched races on the infield screen or on the personal television at our table and enjoyed the beautiful view of a stunning track. We had a two-person handicapping contest. We hit race after race, reveled in cashing the tickets immediately, left the track and went to one of the finest restaurants in town. Our winnings paid for our weekend in the resort town of Hot Springs. 

The Breeders’ Cup is the horse racing fan’s Super Bowl, so enthusiasts should celebrate with special events wherever we are. Held Oct. 30 and 31 this year, these 13 races showcase diverse strengths in horses: contest specifications vary in length, surface, age and gender. Breeders’ Cup races award a combined total of $24.5 million. The richest race—and the most lucrative in the country—is the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic. No race is worth less than $1 million. 

FANS AT OAKLAWN PARK

Many tracks, like Oaklawn, host special events for the Breeders’ Cup. Even if tracks are not in the midst of their live racing seasons, most tracks have simulcasting areas that feature races at other tracks. If you don’t have tickets to Keeneland, the nearest racetrack is an excellent place to experience the Breeders’ Cup. 

A racetrack offers much larger screens than most people have in their living rooms. Unlike a sports bar, 95 percent of a track’s screens are tuned to horse racing. At a track, the crowd is full of like-minded people who care about the great sport of racing. Holding a paper ticket during the races is fun, and receiving cash payouts immediately is even better, which puts a racetrack ahead of betting the Breeders’ Cup online at home. And if the Breeders’ Cup falls on live racing dates at a track, track goers will be treated to even more great racing. 

Head to the closest racetrack for the Breeders’ Cup. Witness history being made from one of the playgrounds of the industry. And join the coast-to-coast celebration of the best horse racing in the nation.

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