Great horse racing, Even better course architecture Guide, Best racecourse buildings across the globe
Great Horse Racing, Even Better Course Architecture
11 May 2022
A day at the races can be a great day out, even if the winners don’t come along. The architecture of a racetrack is important and can add to the enjoyment of those who visit and use the venue. Let’s look at some of the top racetracks in the US and around the world.
Online casinos are popular but going to a racetrack to see some horse racing is a great way to spend your time. Those attending expect to find a venue that is perfect to watch the events. For the trainers, jockeys and horses, the facilities also need to be top-notch. Excellent stables and parade rings are always the order of the day.
This month began with the Kentucky Derby and Oaks being held at Churchill Downs. While not many backed the winner of the 80/1 winner of the Derby, no one could complain about the architecture of the course.
It was designed by 1894 by Joseph Dominic Baldez who was a local draftsman. A unique look is always a major talking point. If visiting Churchill Downs, you can’t help to come home talking about the twin hexagonal spires that the grandstand possesses.
Santa Anita Park in California is a racetrack that is great to visit. It’s not just the fact that the scenery includes the San Gabriel Mountains. If you’re not a horse racing fan, you’ll still have seen the course in films such as ‘A Day at the Races’ and Judy Garland’s ‘A Star is Born.’
If you want to watch the Arkansas Derby, you need to travel to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. Architecture on this course which opened 118 years ago included a clubhouse designed by Zachary Taylor Davis. Other highlights include the glass-enclosed seating area and a gaming area, all designed to give visitors a great day out.
In the UK, the Ascot racetrack is one of the best to visit. It holds events throughout the year but is most famous for its Royal Ascot meeting in June. This is attended by royalty and The Queen is a massive racing fan. It’s a venue that really is fit for a Queen. 16 years ago, the current grandstand was opened. It has a design that will instantly remind anyone seeing it of the trees surround the course.
Epsom holds the Derby every June and attracts massive crowds. That led to 11,000 seats being added to the capacity.
Horse racing betting in the Nad Al Sheba and Jebel Ali race courses is becoming increasingly popular in Dubai, according to the Horse Bet. With huge amounts of prize money, you don’t expect the top races to be held at a humdrum racetrack. Anyone who has ever visited the Meydan Racecourse will know that fact.
One key factor in the architecture of a racetrack is the main grandstand. There needs to be one that allows spectators to be able to see all the action with ease. A high capacity is another necessity and that’s not catered for anywhere better in the world than in Medyan.
Their main grandstand is over a mile in length. It’s the longest man-made structure on earth and longer than some of the top races that take place there.
They regularly hold meetings over a series of days so a stay in their five-star hotel is a good idea. You can even have a dip in their infinity pool and see what’s happening on the track. All of which makes this a great venue to visit.
Comments on this Even Better Course Architecture article are welcome.
Contemporary Racecourse Architecture – architectural selection below:
Concept design for Ireland’s most prestigious racecourse
Design: Grimshaw, architects with Newenham Mulligan & Associates
image courtesy of architects office
The Curragh Racecourse
Tokyo Racecourse Fuji stand, Japan:
photo courtesy of Goki (CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/))
Five Best Horse Racing Venues in the World
Longchamp Paris racecourseL
picture © Dominique Perrault
Longchamp Paris racecourse
Wellington Racecoures, Belgium
Design: BURO II
Comments / photos for the Great Horse Racing page welcome