You may be surprised to learn that Florida is home to more horses than any other state of its size and there are more thoroughbreds here than any other breed. Florida can even boast being the state that has the Horse Capital of the United States in Ocala.

Horse racing truly is the Sport of Kings and at Ocala, which breeds up to 6,000 thoroughbred horses each year, you can see why the Sunshine State is home to so many horse racing events each year. In fact the horse racing calendar kicks off in Florida on the very first day of the year when the Calder Race Course event takes place every January 1. This event is the very first derby to begin the search for the best race horses to compete in the Kentucky Derby later in the year.

Two other major events taking place each year in Florida, which are also derby events to screen out Kentucky champions, are the Tampa Bay Downs and the Gulfstream Park events. The horse racing calendar at Calder Race Course sees racing take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday every month of the year.

Gulfstream Park has just finished a major renovation project and racing fans really should look at spending a day at the races here because it now boasts all the modern amenities and state-of-the-art buildings. There are four brand new restaurants, a new card room and an area where gamblers can bet on simulated races. The simulated racing days often take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the main events happening on a Saturday or Sunday. In 2014 you can look forward to the Honey Fox Stakes in March, Handicapping Seminar Sport of Kings Stakes, The Besilu Florida Derby Stakes (March 29) and the Inside Information Stakes (March 22).

Tampa Bay Downs is a race course that has been around for almost a century. But although its amenities and grandstand for the viewing public may not be as grand as the facilities at Gulfstream Park, it still boasts several key events in the horse racing calendar in Florida. For example, on March 22 you can see the Challenger Stakes for mares and fillies over the age of four years. Tampa Bay Downs is also the place to see The Hilton Garden Inn Sprint on April 5, which is generally a race that takes place over the short distance of six furlongs.

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