Though it may be a year round pleasure for sports bettings most enthusiastic participants, for most regular folks, the occasional flutter is just that; a once-in-a-blue-moon wager usually reserved for the biggest of national events.
In football, it’s the Super Bowl, in baseball, it’s the World Series. In the world of American horse racing, you need look no further than the annual Kentucky Derby for an event that sees both ardent fans and casual spectators alike united in the line at their local bookmakers.
Dubbed ‘the most exciting two minutes in sports,’ the annual Grade I stakes race takes place each May in Louisville, Kentucky, and has done so since all the way back in 1875. Thanks to this impressive longevity, not to mention multi-million dollar prize money, it’s fair to call the Derby the biggest horse racing event in the United States, though when it comes to sports betting on a global scale, it’s only one of a handful of famous races.
Here’s a look at a few more of the world’s greatest sports racing events, those that are so well known in their respective countries that even those who barely ever wager on anything head straight to the bookies.
The Dubai Turf
Perhaps better known by its original name – The Dubai Duty Free- this Group 1 flat horse race in the heart of the UAE has taken place every year since 1996 as part of the annual Dubai World Cup event. At 1,800 metres, it may not be the longest race in the world, but with prize money usually around the $5 million mark, it’s certainly one of the most profitable for those who race home to victory.
The Grand National
If you thought the Kentucky Derby had been around for a long time, just wait til you hear about the Grand National, which runs each April at Aintree Racecourse in LIverpool, England.
Pre-dating the Kentucky Derby by some 30+ years, the handicap steeplechase has been something of an annual celebration in the United Kingdom since it was first run back in 1839.
A gruelling 4 mile course with some of the most challenging hurdles in Europe, the Grand National is renowned as a seriously tough test for jockeys and horses alike, but again, with £1 million in prize money (about $1.4 million USD), it’s a test many of Britain’s best are prepared to take.
For Grand National Day betting online – check out GrandNational odds and races on the UK’s biggest sports betting websites.
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Over to Paris next, for a 1 1/2 miler with a whopping €4 million euros (equivalent of $5 million US Dollars) up for grabs.
Held every October since 1920, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe may not be the oldest on our list, but in France at least, it has made household names out of its past winners like Jacques Doyasbère, Freddy Head, and Yves Saint-Martin.
Read more about this famous race on the official website.
One of -if not the- biggest horce races in the world, Australia’s Melbourne Cup runs on the first Tuesday of November, and has done so each year since the 1861.
A cool $6.2 million Australian Dollars ($5.6 million in US currency) up for grabs in this annual 3,200 metre Thoroughbred race.
More about the Melborne cup – odds and race information can be found online.