We are almost at the midpoint of 2021, and the pro season for many sports are in rhythm now, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. This is no different for the horse racing season, from the United Kingdom, all the way across the seas to the United States. With the Dubai World Cup, and more recently the Arkansas Derby passed, we look at what is in store for us as we go past April and into May.
This is also supposed to be one of the busiest times of the season for American horse racing. The online sportsbooks in New York and countrywide will have a full time as the Triple Crown sets in and the almighty Kentucky Derby runs in May, alongside New York’s own Man o’ War Stakes.
April still has two more to give, with the Apple Blossom Handicap coming up on the 17th, before the Kentucky Oaks rounds out the month on the 30th. Run on the left-handed track in Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, the Apple Blossom Handicap is part of the Racing Festival of the South and is also open to mares and fillies that are four years old and above.
With a purse of $1 million, it is easy to see why this is such a highly rated and anticipated event. The two favorites will no doubt be Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver. Trainer Kenny McPeek has described Swiss Skydiver’s form as a “beast” looking forward to taking on Monomoy Girl, who last took to the green competitively in February after winning the Bayakoa Stakes.
Looking past April, and truly embracing the Spring season, May comes with four marquee runs, as the horses power up for the Breeders’ Cup. The Churchill Down Stakes kicks off the month, as the Triple Crown also kicks off in May. What will be the highlight of the month, however, will be the most prestigious race in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world, the Kentucky Derby. With the vaccine and new health guidelines, the belief is that fans can make the stands, which will make the race even more memorable. The Derby is one of the biggest events in horse racing across the world, and a purse of $3 million is one of the heaviest as well. For one and a quarter mile, three-year-olds will give their best and leave all out on the track.
Seven days later, Belmont Park will host the Man o’ War Stakes for four-year-olds, as they battle it out over a mile and three-quarters of turf. The month will come to a close with the Preakness Stakes on the 15th of May. May is a month of premium horse racing and should get fans excited, with June adding to the adrenaline. A triple-header at Belmont Park marks the month, as the Acorn Stakes sets the ball rolling before the Belmont Stakes and Metropolitan Handicap round up the New slew of New York races.