Florida is one of the best US states for live horse racing action. Tampa Bay Downs, Gulfstream Park, and Hialeah Park enjoy a moderate climate year-round. Some of the biggest events are held at these horse racing tracks in Florida.
You can enjoy racing at Florida race tracks when you sign up for an account with one of our recommended online horse betting sites. Here’s a little background information on the racing venues located in the Sunshine State.
Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs first opened its doors in 1926. It was called Tampa Downs then, and the name changed a few more times before the track was given its modern name. It’s location just outside of Tampa has remained the same. The ownership has changed, most recently in 1986. In that year the present owners Stella F. Thayer and her brother Howell Ferguson bought the track at an auction.
Despite the popularity of horse racing in Florida, Tampa Bay Downs has seen its good and bad times. In the 1940s the race track was commandeered by the US army as a training facility. By 1946 things were somewhat back to normal, and the track became a popular destination for wealthy Florida socialites.
Tampa Bay Downs is famous for being the location of Julie Krone’s first win as a professional horse racing jockey. She won on February 12, 1981 while riding Lord Farkle. For a short period of time there were even Arabian horse races at the track. Today the track is exclusively dedicated to thoroughbred horse racing.
The weather in Florida makes it possible for the track to operate a long meet that lasts from November to May. A part of that meet is the Tampa Bay Derby. This is one of the qualifying races to get into the Kentucky Derby.
Ask some very prominent handicappers and they will tell you that Gulfstream Park is the jewel in the Florida horse racing crowd. In fact, there are plenty of people who will tell you that Gulfstream Park is one of the most important horse racing tracks in the United States.
It would be hard to argue with that assessment. The track is the home of events like the Florida Derby and the Sunshine Millions racing event. It has even hosted the Pegasus Cup, once the world’s richest horse racing event. Millions of dollars are offered in racing purses each year.
It wasn’t always like that at Gulfstream Park. When the track first opened in 1939, just four days of racing were held. It would be 1944 before the track was opened again. Since then the park has had multiple expansions. It now spreads over multiple acres at Hallandale Beach, Florida.
The Gulfstream Park horse racing season runs from December through October, making it one of the longest meets in the United States. There is also a casino located on the property, one of the only ones approved by the county. When not being used as a horse racing venue, Gulfstream Park becomes a venue for concerts by popular entertainers.
Hialeah Park has more history than the other horse racing tracks in Florida. It was first opened in 1922, and it has hosted famous people such as Winston Churchill. It was also the setting for the movie Let it Ride.
Associated with its famous flamingos which have their own habitat on the race track property, Hialeah Park was once famous for many important thoroughbred stakes races. When the race track closed its doors in 2001 due to conflicts with the racing calendar in Florida, a lot of important racing history was lost.
In 2013, the legendary track located in Hialeah, Florida began to offer winter quarterhorse racing. It also added a casino to the mix. The old days may be gone, but a visit to the track should be on the bucket list of every serious horse racing bettor.
The Best Way to Bet Horse Racing Tracks in Florida
If you have the opportunity to attend live racing at one of these Florida race tracks, we encourage you to take advantage of that. Those who do not have the chance to visit Florida can still enjoy these tracks with an account at an online racebook.
We have recommended several online racebooks that offer a full betting menu from Gulfstream Park and Tampa Bay Downs. Some online racebooks may even offer horse racing betting from Hialeah Park. You an receive free handicapping tools and even free bonus money when you sign up for an account.
The best part is that you can get all the Florida racing action without ever having to leave home. Online racebook betting is available on your phone, tablet, or computer.
- Horse Racing Terms
- Online Horse Betting Legal States
- Is Horse Racing Illegal in Florida?
- Florida, New York, Kentucky – They Dominate Horse Racing in USA
- Why Horse Betting is Better in New York, Florida, and Kentucky
- The Kentucky Horse Park
- The Florida Cup
- Horse Racing Tracks in Kentucky
- Horse Racing Tracks in New York
- Horse Racing and Poker at Tampa Bay Downs