3. The Preakness Stakes
First run in 1873, this forms the middle leg of the Triple Crown, and is run over a distance just short of one mile and two furlongs. The Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore is famous for the party atmosphere in the infield part of the track, and crowds of up to 100,000 people flock to enjoy the carnival (the course famously had a 'bring your own beer' policy until 2009!). The race itself is a serious affair though, with a purse of 1.5 million dollars, and a roll of honour that includes Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Curlin and California Chrome.
2. Breeders' Cup Classic
This race is the highlight of the two day Breeders' Cup festival, run each year in late October. Run over a mile and a quarter, it is open to three year olds and older horses, and provides a guide for the overall horse of the year. American Pharoah completed a 'Grand Slam' in 2015, by taking this race on the back of his Triple Crown win from earlier in the season. The purse is a whopping 5 millions dollars, and the prestige associated with winning the race means that zeros are added to future stallion values for the winners. One of the greatest ever renewals of this race was in 2000, when Tiznow (who would go on to become the only horse to win the race twice) defeated Giant's Causeway by a nose after a titanic battle up the home straight.
1. The Kentucky Derby
Louisville, Kentucky hosts the Kentucky Derby each year in the first week of May, which also serves as the first leg of the Triple Crown. Known as 'The Run For The Roses' (a blanket of roses is draped over each winner), the race has been won by some great racehorses such as Unbridled, Sunday Silence, Animal Kingdom and War Emblem. The race itself has a purse of 2 million dollars, and crowds of over 160,000 people attend the meeting each year. History and tradition play a big part in the appeal of the race, with spectators drinking mint juleps traditionally. This is the race that trainers and jockeys want to win most, and a victory in the race is considered a career-changer.