The most exciting three races for horse racing fans are coming up quickly and the Monterey Bay Race Place at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center may just be the best place to view — and wager — on all the action.

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, will take place on May 5, May 19, and June 9, respectively. The Derby is up first, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky; followed by the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland; and finally, the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park, in Elmont, New York.

And when a horse wins the Derby, all eyes are focused on the Preakness for the second jewel in the crown. If that same horse wins, then there’s even more excitement for the Belmont Stakes to see if history will be made.

The top five horses to keep an eye out for are Bolt d’Oro, Audible, Justify, Good Magic, and Noble Indy, with Solomini, Magnum Moon, and Mendelsshon also strong contenders. There doesn’t appear to be a clear favorite (yet), but Bolt d’Oro seems to be appearing on a lot of top 5 lists.

And why should anyone care? For one, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most-watched sporting events of the year, up there with the Super Bowl and World Series. Even people who have no interest or know little about horse racing, will watch, wager and attend parties with other like-minded folks. No wonder they call the Derby, “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

Then there’s the history. Before the name was even coined (Daily Racing Form writer Charles Hatton was said to have created the term “Triple Crown” in 1930), the races were popular events. The Belmont Stakes was first run in 1867; the Preakness in 1873; and the Kentucky Derby in 1875. That’s a lot of history.

And, then there’s the rarity of winning the Triple Crown. Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978). It took 37 years for the next Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah in 2015.

Will Bold d’Oro of Good Magic make history this year? Mark your calendars for May 5 and 19 and June 9, and make plans to watch the excitement at the Monterey Bay Race Place, Monterey County's premier satellite off-track betting facility, which will not only broadcast the Triple Crown, but during the season, races from more than 12 tracks and racing events year-round, including from Golden Gates Fields, Santa Anita, Bay Meadows, Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Cal Expo and other major tracks across the country.

In addition to the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes you can watch and wager on the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, Travers Stakes, Arlington Million, Arkansas Derby, Santa Anita Handicap, The Haskell Invitational, and The Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

The Race Place is open Wednesday-Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm and Friday-Sunday from 10 am to 11 pm or last race. 

Admission to the Clubhouse is $7, with seniors 65 or older, free on the first Wednesday of the month. The Race Place also has food and a full-service bar available.

For more information, go to or call (831) 241-6041.