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Even though the birth of horse racing isn’t in the US, over the years horse racing as a sport has been deeply embedded into United States tradition, and now it is a go-to destination for people that want to experience the highest level of horse racing.

The Midwest region of the United States is not only renowned for its sprawling plains and friendly communities but also for its vibrant horse racing scene. From the heartland of America emerges a collection of remarkable racetracks that capture the essence of this thrilling sport

This inspired us to go on a search for the best horse racing tracks in the US Midwest and make a potential bucket list of places that every horse racing enthusiast needs to visit.

Best Horse Racing Tracks You Should Visit in the Midwest USA

Churchill Downs – Louisville, Kentucky

No list of Midwest horse racing tracks would be complete without mentioning the iconic Churchill Downs. 

Home to the legendary Kentucky Derby, the “Run for the Roses,” Churchill Downs stands as a testament to the rich history and tradition of horse racing. 

Over the years, the Kentucky Derby became one of the world’s most popular horse races bringing the fastest horses from all across the globe. 

It’s the kind of place where dreams are born and lost amidst the roar of the crowd. And hey, even if your betting luck goes down the drain, you can always drown your sorrows in a plate of finger-licking good fried chicken. 

The Kentucky Derby 149 happened early in May with the victory of Mage. You can still catch up the last Triple Crown race, the Belmont Stakes, that happens in June 10th in Elmont, New York. Read more about it on TwinSpires.

Arlington International Racecourse – Arlington Heights, Illinois

We’re off to Arlington International Racecourse, where horse racing meets class and sophistication. 

This track, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Windy City, offers a tantalizing blend of stunning scenery and heart-pounding races. 

It’s like watching a Broadway show on turf, with the finest thoroughbreds strutting their stuff and jockeys competing for the spotlight. The Arlington Million, the “richest day in Illinois sports,” takes center stage here, attracting top-notch talent from around the world. 

It is definitely a place to visit if you are looking for some horse racing action!

Keeneland – Lexington, Kentucky

It seems like Kentucky has the richest horse racing culture in the United States, as we are back with another horse racing track that offers plenty of excitement.

We’re trotting back to the Bluegrass State to visit the refined and fancy Keeneland. 

Keeneland is not just a racetrack—it’s a gathering spot for high society and horse racing aficionados alike. Rub elbows with the who’s who of the horse racing world while sipping on a mint-infused cocktail and donning your most fashionable attire. 

It’s a place where tradition and elegance go hand in hand, creating an experience that’s as classy as a royal wedding but with a lot more horsepower.

Prairie Meadows – Altoona, Iowa

Venturing further into the Midwest, Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, holds a special place on our list. 

This multifaceted venue not only features a first-class racetrack but also boasts a casino and a hotel, making it a haven for those seeking a complete entertainment experience. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned bettor or just a fan of horse racing, saddle up and get ready for a Midwest adventure like no other.

Canterbury Park – Shakopee, Minnesota

It’s time to visit Canterbury Park, where horse racing meets wholesome family fun. Located in Shakopee, Minnesota, this track brings out the kid in all of us.

Known for its welcoming atmosphere and family-friendly environment, this track offers a delightful day at the races for all ages. 

It’s the kind of place where you can savor a corn dog with one hand, clutching your betting ticket in the other, all while cheering on your favorite four-legged superstar.

From thrilling races to engaging family entertainment, Canterbury Park brings together the community and captures the true spirit of Midwest horse racing.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.

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