A thrilling year of horse racing action in 2023 is close to coming to an end. There have been no shortage of stories that have played out throughout the season, with some of the best action taking place at Santa Anita during the Breeders’ Cup last month. One of the beautiful things about horse racing is the fact that once one season ends, the next gets underway.

Therefore, all plans are being drawn out for the 2024 season by leading connections already, with plans likely planned around the Breeders’ Cup next year, which will be staged at Del Mar. But, what are some of the unmissable races on the horse racing calendar that all fans should be watching in 2024?

Pegasus World Cup

The first big race on the North American calendar takes place in January, as the Pegasus World Cup headlines a stunning night of action at Gulfstream Park. This race is one of the richest on the American calendar, with a purse of $3 million up for grabs.

A total distance of 1 1/8 miles will be covered by the field in Florida, and there have been some excellent winners of the race in recent editions, including Life Is Good, Knicks Go, and Art Collector. It will be an early season target for a number of Breeders’ Cup Classic contenders, with Arabian Knight among the likely runners that could line up at Gulfstream Park in early 2024.

You can find more info on how to wager on this race here: https://www.twinspires.com/edge/racing/wagering/

Grand National

Away from the action in North America, one of the biggest betting races of the year will take place at Aintree in early April. The Grand National is the world’s most famous race, with a field of 34 runners competing over a distance of four miles. The field will take on 30 fences at Aintree, with some of the obstacles becoming household names in the own right.

Some of the most famous moments in the sport’s history have taken place at the Grand National, including Red Rum’s historic third success in the race, and Bob Champion’s heartwarming comeback success on board Aldaniti in the 1981 edition. Corach Rambler landed success in 2023, and the Lucinda Russell-trained runner will be back once again in 2024, as he bids to become one of few back-to-back winners of the National.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby in 2024 will be one of the most significant in the race’s history, as it will mark the 150th running of America’s most famous sporting event. This race continues to be the most-watched in North America, with thousands packing out the grandstands at Churchill Downs. The field of horses aged three compete over 1 ¼ miles on the dirt, with the Kentucky Derby forming the opening leg of the Triple Crown.

The field is made up based on qualifying points, which are picked up during the prep series. Legends of the sport have landed victory in the Derby throughout history, including Secretariat, who remains the holder of the speed record in the race. Next year’s race is already shaping up to be a wide-open contest, with Fierceness likely to be among the leading contenders following his impressive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Timberlake, Muth, and Locked could be among the likely contenders to line up at Churchill Downs at this early stage.

Belmont Stakes

The Triple Crown draws to a close at Belmont Park in early June, as the Belmont Stakes takes centre stage. This race is run over the classic distance of 1 ½ miles, with horses aged three able to take part. The Belmont Stakes is often called the ‘Test of the Champion’, as it is the event where the Triple Crown could be won by a runner.

However, no horse has achieved that feat since Justify captured glory in 2018. The most famous winner of the Belmont Stakes remains Secretariat, who holds the track record and world record over the distance on dirt. It is one of the standout races on the American schedule, and that will once again be the case in 2024, as fans look to witness the crowning of a Triple Crown champion.

Breeders’ Cup Classic

The Breeders’ Cup is the standout racing event on the calendar for many, as two-day of high-quality action takes place at a new track every season. In 2024, the Breeders’ Cup returns to Del Mar, and the standout race on the schedule will once again be the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This race is the most lucrative at the event, as it boasts a purse of $6 million.

There have been some legendary winners of the race throughout history, including American Pharoah, who became the first horse to ever win the Classic, Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes in the same season. White Abarrio landed victory in the 2023 edition at Santa Anita, and the runner is likely to be among the leading contenders to defend his prize in the race next year.