What Are The Best Seats At A Horse Race?

What Are The Best Seats At A Horse Race

Many new fans of horse racing often wonder where the best place to sit at a horse track is located. Fans who come to a race to see the excitement or involve themselves in the unique culture of horse racing may have different perspectives on the most important aspects of their experience. These varied perspectives may contribute to the section of the racetrack that fans choose to sit in, so here, we will consider the various parts of a horse track and determine the best seating options for every type of fan.

Best Seats for Views

Most likely, the vast majority of horse racing fans will suggest that they desire a seat at the racetrack that will afford them excellent views of the races themselves. In order to get a good view of a horse race, where one sits on the track is very important. Most horse races take up the entire length of the racetrack, meaning that there are a wide variety of seats along the track that will give fans a decent view of the action. However, only a few spots offer spectators a solid view of the entire race, including ample ability to see the end, which is undoubtedly the most important part.

While various racetracks have different styles of seating, most horse racing stadiums are fairly similar, so we will look at one of the most famous American racetracks, Churchill Downs, to determine which seats have the best views. Churchill Downs, home of the famed Kentucky Derby, has a wide variety of impressive seating options, ranging in price from moderate to extremely expensive. In regards to lower-priced options, the best seats are generally located near the finish line, which is a short length away from the starting line. This will allow fans to see the horses race by at the start of the race and then circle back for the big finish. Higher, more luxury seating options in this area can cost thousands of dollars, but lower-priced seats in the grandstands and clubhouse are cheaper, though still costing hundreds of dollars. At Churchill Downs, the best seats for viewing the race are in Sections 116, 117, 121, 122, 221, 222, 316, 317, 322, and 323. 

Best Seats for Experience

While most racing fans come to the racetrack to see exciting competitions with good views, others prefer to enjoy their day at the races by participating in the sport’s unique culture. A wide variety of experiences are available for these fans, from access to betting, luxury boxes with provided food and drinks, and various other sorts of events. For fans with a desire for a more robust experience at the track, the best seats are often in the higher, more luxurious parts of the track, though these often come with a hefty price tagAt Churchill Downs, for example, luxury seats are given special names like Millionaires Row, the Turf Club, and the Mansion. These seats, which are located high up in the stadium at prime locations between the start and finish lines, come with excellent views and various amenities. Seats in Millionaires Row, for example, come with personalized wait service, while seats in the Turf Club include access to a buffet and an open bar. The most prized and expensive seats of all are located in the Mansion. In this lavish suite, the richest spectators at the Kentucky Derby are hosted by invitation and are treated to meals prepared by professional chefs, with comfortable seating to watch the race from the best location. Seats in any of these prime locations at Churchill Downs often range from $3,000 to $5,000 or more.

Best Seats for Casual Fans

In contrast to the lofty lifestyle of richer racing fans, casual spectators of horse racing may desire to be closer to the action. At some racetracks, including Churchill Downs, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course, fans can secure grandstand, apron, or paddock fence seating. At Belmont Park, for example, apron seats are uncovered, open-air benches that sit right on the level of the racecourse, between the outer edge of the track and the beginning of the stadium-style seating. These seats are often cheaper than seats in the stands themselves (though they can still cost upwards of $500 a seat), but they may offer poorer views. Like other cheaper seating, they are unshaded, exposing spectators to whatever elements the day has to offer. At other racetracks, like Saratoga Race Course, fans can also secure seats along the paddock fence, the white picket fence where the horses are saddled prior to racing.

Best Seats for Pricing

For fans who are looking for the cheapest options for a day at the races, there is a final level of seating that may be preferable, which is general admission seating. General admission seats for a race like the Kentucky Derby are usually the cheapest, coming in at around $80 to $100, and include access to the paddock and racetrack. However, for the race itself, most general admission tickets are standing room only and are located outside the actual racetrack, with the race itself displayed on a large monitor. Fans with general admission tickets most often sit on the grass on picnic blankets or stand to watch the race. For those who are interested in the cheapest way to see a horse race, these types of tickets may be the way to go.


Overall, if fans of horse racing want the best general view, experience, and price for racing tickets, they have various options available to them. The best overall compromise in the range of options above suggests that fans who want good views, a decent experience, and decent pricing should look for a seat near the finish line, but lower in the grandstands than the upper, more luxurious levels. These seats may cost a few hundred dollars each, depending upon the event, but they undoubtedly offer the best general experience for a fan of horse racing.