10 Horse Races in the U.S. that You can Fly To

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Updated August 19, 2019
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Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.

Horse racing is a popular pastime in our great country – and when you have the ability to fly anywhere, you can enjoy one of these thourough-bred affairs wherever the horses are running. 

 

If you’re looking for great places to fly, we think these top horse races in the U.S. are ideal destinations — and we’re off!

1) Kentucky Derby

Nearest Airport: Louisville International Airport (SDF)

Location: Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY

When it takes place: First Saturday in May

 

Let’s start with the most popular race of all – the Kentucky Derby. This contest, the first leg of the Triple Crown, is run on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. As one of the three Triple Crown races, the winning team walks away with with almost $1.5 million in prize money. If you’re looking for the most exciting event in horse racing, the Kentucky Derby is it. 

2) The Preakness Stakes 

Nearest Airport: Baltimore International Airport (BWI)

Location: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD

When it takes place: Third Saturday in May

 

The Preakness Stakes, run at Pimlico Race Course on the third Saturday in May, is the second leg of the Triple Crown. Since the inaugural running in 1873, the course has changed, but the traditions remain the same. The victor is given a grand Tiffany-crafted silver trophy known as the Woodlawn Vase and the horse is draped in a blanket made from Black-Eyed Susan flowers, while spectators can be seen in pastel colors and grandiose hats. 

3) Belmont Stakes 

Nearest Airport: Cherrystone Airport (24VA)

Location: Belmont Park in Elmont, NY

When it takes place: Second Saturday in June

 

Another Triple Crown race, and the oldest of the three, is Belmont Stakes, the only race in which the prestigious title can be won. While only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown, considered the most difficult accomplishment in racing, the anticipation is palpable every year when the horses take off. Belmont Stakes is also home to the single best performance in horse racing history when in 1973, Secretariat set the track record of 2:24 and won his Triple Crown by 31 lengths.

4) Breeders’ Cup Classic

Nearest Airport: San Gabriel Valley Airport (EMT)

Location: Changes Yearly

When it takes place: Late October/Early November

 

The Breeders’ Cup Classic is known as one of the richest race horses, offering prize money from $1,000,000 – $6 million. Although it’s a relatively new race, being founded in 1984, the race awards more money to the winner than the Triple Crown races. The race shuffles from track to track throughout the U.S., with this year’s event held at Santa Anita Track in California.

5) Haskell Invitational Stakes

Nearest Airport: Monmouth Executive Airport (BLM)

Location: Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey, U.S

When it takes place: Late October/Early November

 

The race often serves as a prep for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse and is a “Win and You’re In” race for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic. While the Haskell Invitational may have been originally open to older horses when it was founded in 1968, it was changed to an invitational for three-year-olds only in 1981, making it one of the year’s most exciting competitions. 

6) Travers Stakes

Nearest Airport: Saratoga County Airport (5B2)

Location: Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, NY

When it takes place: Month of August

 

Also known as the Midsummer Derby, this yearly American Grade I Thoroughbred horse race has been held at Saratoga Race Course since 1864. Travers Stakes takes the third-ranked spot for American three-year-olds, behind only the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. With a storied history, including some major upsets, thrilling finishes and controversial results, attendees are sure to have a great time at this classic horse race.

7) Arkansas Derby

Nearest Airport: Memorial Field Airport (HOT)

Location: Oakland Park in Hot Springs, AR

When it takes pace: Month of April

 

Held each April in Hot Springs Arkansas, this American flat thoroughbred horse race is a crucial event in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series. As one of the most important series in terms of points earned, it means the winner and runner-up will more than likely get placement at the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. It’s also the last chance for a horse to win its way into the Derby as it’s held just three weeks before the Kentucky Derby.

8) Arlington Million

Nearest Airport: Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK)

Location: Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, IL

When it takes pace: Month of August

 

With a long history of exciting races, the Arlington Million has seen dozens of world famous horses and jockeys compete for its crown. At this Grade 1 flat race, the horse that can run around a 1.25-mile track fastest wins the $1 million prize. They also automatically qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Turf race.

9) Pacific Classic Stakes

Nearest Airport: Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (MYF)

Location: Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, CA 

When it takes pace: Month of August

 

As the signature race of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, a world-class Thoroughbred racing organization, The Pacific Classic Stakes is one of the most important of the summer. This year’s race will be known as one of the richest days of racing outside of the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar history, as the track has scheduled an unprecedented five major stakes races, capped off by the $1 million Pacific Classic. Make the flight to Arlington Heights and you’re likely to see some of the biggest names in horse racing today. Past thoroughbreds competing have included such horses as Best Pal, General Challenge, Came Home, Pleasantly Perfect, Lava Man and Beholder.

10) Florida Derby

Nearest Airport: North Perry Airport (HWO)

Location: Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL 

When it takes pace: Late March/Early April

 

The Florida Derby is a spectacle on the track and off it – here, fans of the horse racing community can rub elbows with celebrities, top horse owners and jockeys throughout this week-long event. You’ll also see a showcase of the world’s best horses and jockeys, who all are competing for the coveted title of Florida Derby Winner on their road to the Triple Crown.

 

Ready to Reach Your Favorite Destinations? 

With a newly minted pilot’s license, you can jet off to these amazing destinations whenever you feel like it. Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training to learn more about gaining the freedoms afforded by learning to fly. 

 

We are a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we want to help you reach your goals as a pilot.

 

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.


Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.