It’s officially summertime and that means … it’s time to plan a road trip! So whether you are planning a family road trip, a getaway with friends, or simply a solo trek, we here at America’s Best Racing have some suggestions for you the adventurer or explorer as you consider your options for a summer 2017 road trip.
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road: the Original Scroll.
In no particular order, here are some cool and fun places we believe are worth checking out on your road trips this summer:
Thoroughbred racing has no finer setting than Saratoga Race Course, named one of the world's greatest sporting venues by Sports Illustrated. Every summer, the past comes alive in the historic grandstand as fans experience not only the best in racing, but the unmatched ambience and charm of historic Saratoga Springs.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is a horse racetrack at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, Calif., 20 miles north of San Diego. It is known for the slogan "Where the Turf Meets the Surf." It was built by a partnership including Bing Crosby, actor Pat O'Brien, Jimmy Durante, Charles S. Howard and Oliver Hardy. Del Mar’s summer meet is a must-visit, and the track will also host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for the first time in November.
It’s an authentic, hands-on fan experience known as the East Coast’s Napa Valley. Meet Horse Country Inc., a not-for-profit organization comprised of 36 central Kentucky Thoroughbred-related operations, from stud farms to nurseries to veterinary clinics. Nestled near the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, this unique tourist experience welcomes fans from around the world to plan a visit to see and touch firsthand the history, stories and amazing equine athletes that make our sport and the lifestyle so special.
This year is the inaugural Equestricon fan fest and racing convention, and it's a perfect reason to extend your road trip to Saratoga Springs on Aug. 14-15. Not only are there Saratoga racing events, there are more than 80 panels, workshops, seminars, autograph signings, networking sessions and other events. Learn about topics such as betting, media, ownership and aftercare, plus have the chance to discuss them with like-minded racing fanatics. It's a can't-miss event. Among the featured events is a keynote address on Thoroughbred aftercare by journalist and OTTB owner Soledad O’Brien. Click here for a full program schedule, and here to register to attend.
If you love history, you need to see the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs. From trophies to art, sculpture to interactive exhibits, this museum has something for everyone. Legendary track announcer Tom Durkin will be hosting special guided tours of the museum on most days through the duration of the Saratoga race meet, from July 21 to Sept. 4. Plus, the museum also offers specialized tours of the track’s barn area, so be sure to make a reservation for a one-of-a-kind experience at Saratoga.
Monmouth Park has been a Jersey Shore tradition since 1870. Three buildings have carried the name Monmouth Park in the last 139 years. The track's long and storied history dates back to July 30, 1870 when the track opened, just three miles from Long Branch. The track was a result of the innovative ideas of New York businessman John F. Chamberlain, New Jersey Senate President Amos Robbins and Adams Express Company President John Hoey in an effort to increase summer trade for once bustling shore communities. The track’s signature event, the Betfair.com Haskell Invitational Stakes, will be run for the 50th time on July 30.
Arlington Park combines the elegance of its modern facility with the tradition and excitement of Thoroughbred racing to serve as a showcase for the sport of kings. The unsurpassed beauty of the magnificent six-story grandstand is only a small part of the Arlington experience, however. Since re-opening on June 28, 1989, Arlington, under the innovative and determined leadership of Richard L. Duchossois, has been dedicated to the concept of family entertainment. The track’s International Festival of Racing, highlighted by the Arlington Million Stakes, will be held on Aug. 12.
Head across the border to Toronto and its historic Woodbine Racetrack. Opened in 1954, Woodbine has been the site of some incredible racing moments, including a visit from Queen Elizabeth in 2010. The track is open all summer long for racing, and it’s home to four Breeders’ Cup "Win and You’re In" races, including three on the track’s signature Woodbine Mile day on September 16. Plan a weekend road trip that includes a visit to the track as well as downtown Toronto; then add a visit to beautiful Lake Ontario and Niagra Falls.
Man o' War was unquestionably the most famous Thoroughbred who ever lived. The Kentucky Horse Park pays tribute to this truly legendary horse with a majestic bronze sculpture and memorial at his gravesite, located in a place of honor, near the entrance to the park. He is buried alongside the Triple Crown winner War Admiral, who was his most famous son, and several of Man o' War's other noteworthy sons and daughters. The peerless African American jockey, Isaac Burns Murphy, is also buried nearby. The Kentucky Horse Park and the Lexington, Ky., community, is holding a yearlong series of events to honor Man o’ War on his 100th birthday.
Formed in 1898 by William B. Fasig and Edward A. Tipton, Fasig-Tipton Co. is North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company. Its first headquarters were in Madison Square Garden in New York, and Fasig-Tipton initially sold high-class road and carriage horses in addition to Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing stock. Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale of selected yearlings, held this year on Aug. 7-8, is one of the premier horse auctions in the world. It has roots that stretch back to 1917 when Fasig-Tipton formed an alliance with some of the top Kentucky breeders to sell their yearlings during the race meet in upstate New York. The great Man o’ War sold as a yearling at the 1918 Saratoga sale.