Horse Racing Calendar: Must-See Events in 2023

The Triple Crown is back in its rightful order and there’s another Breeders’ Cup on the way. 2023 is expected to be huge and you can keep on top of it all with our horse racing calendar.

We have information on all the big horse races coming up this year from the Pegasus World Cup to the Kentucky Derby, the Arlington Million to the Classic.

So let’s see what horse racing’s next big race is!

Jump to

Taking Advantage of the Horse Racing Calendar

Right from January onwards, the major horse races are coming up thick and fast. Online horse betting reaches a peak in May when the Kentucky Derby takes place, but there is so much more to look forward to than that.

For amateurs and pros alike, the key thing to know is when the biggest horse events take place and where. We’ll give you all of the latest dates and places to make sure you know, in advance, how America’s horse racing schedule shapes up for 2023.


  • Sham Stakes – January 1, 2023
  • La Cañada Stakes – January 1, 2023
  • Santa Ynez Stakes – January 8, 2023
  • Pegasus World Cup Turf – January 29, 2023

In January, be prepared for the Santa Ynez Stakes a major prep race for the upcoming US Triple Tiara.

Although staged over just one mile, the Sham at Santa Anita is our first real Kentucky Derby prep race. More is to follow on that, while in January Florida hosts the first big Grade I races of the year.

The Pegasus World Cup and its turf equivalent take place at Gulfstream Park and will feature some of the top performers from 2021, along with some big European contenders too.

Race Track Conditions
Sham Stakes Santa Anita 3yo, 1 mile, Grade III
Santa Ynez Stakes Santa Anita 3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, Grade II
La Cañada Stakes Santa Anita 4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade III
Pegasus World Cup Gulfstream Park 4yo+, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Pegasus World Cup Turf Gulfstream Park 4yo+, 1 3/16 miles (turf), Grade I

In January, be prepared for the Santa Ynez Stakes a major prep race for the upcoming US Triple Tiara. 

The horse racing calendar may start off slow but there are gallops to come.


  • Sam F. Davis Stakes – February 5, 2023
  • Risen Star Stakes – February 19, 2023
  • El Camino Real Derby – February 19, 2023

·  Sam F. Davis Stakes – February 5, 2023

The early part of the year is understandably taken up mostly by the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The El Camino, Sam F. Davis, and the Risen Star are all recognized as major Derby preps.

Race Track Conditions
Sam F. Davis Stakes Tampa Bay Downs 3yo colts, 1 1/6 miles, Grade III
Risen Star Stakes Fairgrounds 3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate Fields 3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Listed Race


  • Fountain of Youth Stakes – March 5, 2023
  • San Felipe Stakes – March 5, 2023
  • Beholder Mile – March 5, 2023
  • Frank E. Kilroe Mile – March 6, 2023
  • Gotham Stakes – March 12, 2023
  • Tampa Bay Derby – March 12, 2023

The big one this month is the Fountain of Youth in Florida. The form of Florida preps in recent years has been first class, making this race a key trial for Kentucky.

The Beholder Mile is another race run at the top level, while further Derby preps keep coming around the country as trainers in every major state look to get their best colts primed for a trip to Churchill Downs in early May.

Race Track Conditions
Gotham Stakes Aqueduct 3yo colts, 1 mile, Grade III
Frank E. Kilroe Mile Santa Anita 4yo+, 1m (turf), Grade I
San Felipe Stakes Santa Anita 3yo, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II
Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs 3yo, 1 1/16 miles, Grade II
Beholder Mile Stakes Santa Anita 3yo+ fillies, 1 mile, Grade I


  • Arkansas Derby – April 2, 2023
  • Florida Derby – April 2, 2023
  • Wood Memorial Stakes – April 9, 2023
  • Bluegrass Stakes – April 9, 2023
  • Santa Anita Derby – April 9, 2023
  • Ashland Stakes – April 9, 2023
  • Carter Handicap – April 9, 2023
  • Apple Blossom Handicap – April 23, 2023

We reach a key point in the horse racing schedule now, just a month out from the Kentucky Derby. The next horse race of major note in the horse racing calendar is the Florida Derby.

Another top race at Gulfstream, it’s perhaps the strongest race ahead of the Kentucky Derby and a Grade I itself. The Bluegrass, the Wood Memorial, and especially the Santa Anita Derby are all important in this regard, but there’s more. The Arkansas Derby and the Apple Blossom are also huge races.

Race Track Conditions
Bluegrass Stakes Keeneland 3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
Wood Memorial Stakes Aqueduct 3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade II
Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita 3yo colts, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Ashland Stakes Keeneland 3yo fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I
Carter Handicap Belmont Park 3yo+, 7/8 mile, Grade I
Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 3yo, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I
Apple Blossom Handicap Oaklawn Park 4yo+ fillies, 1 1/16 miles, Grade I
Kentucky Oaks Churchill Downs 3yo fillies, 1 1/8 miles, Grade I

May: Kentucky Derby & Preakness

  • Kentucky Oaks – May 6, 2023
  • Kentucky Derby – May 7, 2023
  • Man o’ War Stakes – May 7, 2023
  • Preakness Stakes – May 21, 2023
  • Gamely Stakes – May 30, 2023
  • Hollywood Gold Cup – May 30, 2023

Let’s face it, for many, the entire 2023 horse racing calendar comes down to May – it’s Kentucky Derby time! The first race in the Triple Crown series, the $3million Derby is simply huge and will be watched by millions around the world.

TwinSpires Racebook

$200 Sign Up Offer!

Create your new wagering account with and earn a $200 sign up bonus! Must use promo code on registration to be eligible. Valid for one use per household. $200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered. To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days of creating a TwinSpires account. Completed wagers mean that the race has run and the results are official. This sign up offer cannot be combined with any other registration bonus offer. Certain exclusions apply.

Kentucky Derby betting is among the fiercest anywhere on the globe, make no mistake. But the fun in May doesn’t end there. The Preakness Stakes comes up real quick and forms the second leg of the Triple Crown, while the older turf horses are out at the top level in the Man o’ War over in New York.

Race Track Conditions
Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs 3yo, 1¼ miles, GI
Man o’ War Stakes Belmont Park 4yo+, 1 3/8 miles (turf), GI
Preakness Stakes Pimlico 3yo, 1 3/16 miles, GI
Gamely Stakes Santa Anita 3yo+ fillies, 1 1/8 miles (turf), GI
Hollywood Gold Cup Santa Anita 3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI


  • Acorn Stakes – June 19, 2023
  • Belmont Stakes – June 5, 2021
  • Jaipur Invitational – June 5, 2021

All the biggest action in June comes at the start of the month as Belmont Park takes over. The Met Mile is a huge event but the card is focused around the Belmont Stakes.

The Belmont is the final leg of the Triple Crown and may yet be the race in which we see the 14th equine legend crowned, emulating Secretariat and Justify. Here’s hoping!

It’s important to keep an eye on the Jaipur too. This is a major sprint that has a big bearing on the betting for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November.

Race Track Conditions
Acorn Stakes Belmont Park 3yo fillies, 1 mile, GI
Belmont Stakes Belmont Park 3yo, 1½ miles, GI
Jaipur Invitational Stakes Belmont Park 3yo+, ¾ mile, GI
Hollywood Gold Cup Santa Anita 3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI


  • Belmont Derby – July 2, 2023
  • Belmont Oaks – July 2, 2023
  • Diana Stakes – July 17, 2023
  • Haskell Stakes – July 17, 2023

The major horse races continue in New York in July during Belmont’s amazing summer meet. Their Derby and Oaks allow the best turf sophomores their chance to shine, with more GI action over at Saratoga.

The biggy, however, is at Monmouth. The Haskell Stakes is the biggest three-year-old race outside of the Triple Crown. This event can go a long way to deciding the Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite and the Horse of the Year.

Race Track Conditions
Belmont Derby Belmont Park 3yo colts, 1¼ miles (turf) GI
Belmont Oaks Belmont Park 3yo fillies, 1¼ miles (turf), GI
Diana Stakes Saratoga 3yo+ fillies, 1 1/8 miles, GI
Haskell Stakes Monmouth 3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI (invitation only)


  • Beverly D. Stakes – August 8, 2023
  • Whitney Handicap – August 9, 2023
  • Arlington Million – August 9, 2023
  • Pacific Classic – August 21, 2023
  • Travers Stakes – August 28, 2023
  • Sword Dancer Stakes – August 28, 2023

It’s Chicago’s chance to shine in August, while the best turf horses are also given their opportunity. The Arlington Million is the big attraction at the start of the month, bringing over the pond the best that Europe has to offer.

The overseas horses may even stick around for the Sword Dancer too, a supporting race for the Travers Stakes. The Travers is another huge sophomore race, while the generations can clash in the Pacific Classic.

We’re really at a peak time in the horse racing calendar now. Whatever horse wins the Pacific Classic may well be favored at the Breeders’ Cup with the Classic being the next horse race targeted by major barns.

Race Track Conditions
Whitney Handicap Saratoga 3yo+, 1 1/8 miles, GI
Arlington Million Arlington Park 3yo+, 1¼ miles (turf), GI
Beverly D. Stakes Arlington Park 3yo+ fillies, 1 3/16 miles (turf), GI
Pacific Classic Del Mar 3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI
Travers Stakes Saratoga 3yo, 1¼ miles, GI
Sword Dancer Stakes Saratoga 4yo+, 1½ miles (turf), GI


  • Pennsylvania Derby – September 17, 2023
  • Cotillion Stakes – September 17, 2023
  • American Pharoah Stakes – September 24, 2023

Their Pennsylvania Derby is a Grade I event primarily for the colts, but the fillies aren’t to be left out. The Cotillion is the girls’ equivalent, while the juveniles now start to come to the fore too.

The American Pharoah Stakes out in California is the first truly big two-year-old race with Bob Baffert expected to dominate.

Race Track Conditions
Pennsylvania Derby Parx 3yo, 1 1/8 miles, GI
Cotillion Stakes Parx 3yo fillies, 1 3/16 miles, GI
American Pharoah Stakes Santa Anita 2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI

October: Preakness Stakes

  • Shadwell Turf Mile – October 1, 2023
  • Breeders’ Futurity Stakes – October 1, 2023
  • Jockey Club Gold Cup – October 8, 2023

We’re on Eastern Time in October as Kentucky and New York take center stage. Keeneland hosts the Shadwell Turf Mile and a major juvenile race, the Breeders’ Futurity while there is more to come from the 2yo’s at Belmont.

The Champagne Stakes over a mile of Big Sandy could provide the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Also on the card is the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a major prep for the Classic.

Race Track Conditions
Shadwell Turf Mile Keeneland 3yo+, 1 mile (turf), GI
Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Keeneland 2yo, 1 1/16 miles, GI
Jockey Club Gold Cup Belmont Park 3yo+, 1¼ miles, GI

November: Breeders’ Cup

  • Breeders’ Cup – November 4 & 5, 2023
  • Clark Handicap – November 27, 2023

This is what it has all been building up to. There are 14 big horse races coming up at the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, an awesome sight to behold.

The Breeders’ Cup is worth some $30million and is the meet at which live streaming of horse racing reaches its peak, being hosted in California once again.

From the Juvenile to the Classic, the Sprint to the Turf, races are for horses from two years old and over from 5½ furlongs right up to a mile-and-a-half.

Race Track Event Type of racing
Cigar Mile Handicap Aqueduct Racetrack 3yo+, 1 mile, GI (handicap)
Breeder’s Cup Keeneland Varies


  • Cigar Mile – December 3, 2023
  • La Brea Stakes – December 26, 2023

Our horse racing calendar is rounded off nicely by the Cigar Mile and the La Brea, two more big Grade I races.

Race Track Conditions
Cigar Mile Aqueduct 3yo+, 1 mile, GI (handicap)
La Brea Stakes Santa Anita 3yo fillies, 7/8 mile, GI

Around the World

These are just the US events to put down in your diary. However, horse racing is a very international sport, and ambitious punters will want to put wagers on major races around the globe.

Europe, the Middle East, and Australia hold world renowned horse racing events that cannot be left out of any calendar.

You can also visit this vibrant list from the Telegraph for further insights.


Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

France has a very prominent racing culture and a series of beautiful race tracks across the country.

Its most famous is Longchamps. The Parisian track hosts around half of the group one races in France.

This course also has a deep history as it has been in existence since 1857.

  • Prix de l’Atlantique – April
  • Grand Prix de Deauville- August
  • Prix de l’Etoile- September
  • Weekend du Quatar- Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe


Royal-Ascot-2009, The Prince of Wales and his wife

The UK is renowned for the Grand National which is one of the most famous steeplechase races in the world.

It is held at the Aintree racecourse near Liverpool and has been around since 1836.

  • Royal Ascot, UK- June
  • The Grand National– April
  • Cheltenham Festival- March
  • Triple Crown of Hurdling: Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Christmas Hurdle and The Champion Hurdle


L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

The prominence of horse racing is Dubai is fairly recent and yet this city has caught up at a miraculously fast pace.

The World Cup Night offers an impressive purse of $27.3 million.

  • World Cup Night – March


Australian racing also draws an impressive audience.

For the Melbourne cup, up to 120,000 people can be expected to watch at the race course.

  • The Melbourne Cup- November

South Africa

In South Africa, the Queen Plate’s is an incredibly prestigious event that attracts Cape Town’s high society in their finest outfits.

As with Ascot, the dress code is very strict.

  • L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate- January

For more ways to navigate the world of sports betting, check out our essential tips here!


What is a good way to live stream horse races?

Horse betting sites often allow users to watch live races after a small deposit.

What is the best horse racing TV channel?

TVG2 has most live horse races in America. ESPN often shows races as well.

Which states have horse racing tracks?

States with racing tracks are: AZ, AR, CA, CO, DE, FL, ID, IL, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TN, TX, VA, WA, WV, & WY.

This site contains commercial content. Read more.