Many of the most memorable moments in the history of sportsmanship have happened during equestrian events. With the thrill of the chase and the majesty of the horses, the Kentucky Derby is known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. Those cities fortunate enough to play host to the world’s premier racing and show jumping circuits—Louisville, Hong Kong, and Paris, among others—routinely attract an elite clientele, not just for the equestrian spectacle, but for the elegant, exclusive properties located so close to the action. After all, why travel halfway around the world to reach the races when you could reside right in the winners’ circle?
Kentucky Derby: Louisville, Kentucky, US
Entrance to Churchill Downs, image credit: Thomas Kelley / Shutterstock.com
The longest running sporting event in the United States, the Kentucky Derby first shot out of the gate in 1875. From an original crowd of 10,000 to today’s hundreds of thousands, the Derby holds a hallowed spot in American culture. Whether you attend for the horses or to wager amongst friends, this is one equestrian highlight you won’t want to miss.
Poplar Hill Woods, Louisville, Kentucky
Terri Bass, Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty
Put down roots near The Run for the Roses in this genteel mansion that combines the luxury of the country club with the comforts of home. Traditional woodwork brings the beauty of the outdoors in, while the classic interiors draw inspiration from Georgian architecture and design. Plan your bets in the cherry-paneled library, with its peaceful views of the surrounding greenery. Set in seclusion among the trees, this house exudes serenity, even if the excitement of downtown—and the twin spires of Churchill Downs—is only a short distance away.
Beckley Crossing Drive, Louisville, Kentucky
John Lenihan, Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty
This welcoming estate is an ideal getaway: it boasts 4.41 acres of grassy pastureland and well-appointed living spaces for entertaining and debating all things equine. The house features marble floors, meticulous mill work, and a bar and billiard room that look like they belong in Derby’s fourth-floor clubhouse. Best of all is the veranda, where a large pool provides the perfect spot to sip a mint julep and soak in the Southern sunshine.
Hong Kong Derby: Hong Kong, China
Image courtesy of the Hong Kong Derby
Two years older than its venerable American counterpart, the Hong Kong Derby is a thrilling racing event with a prize purse of approximately $2.3 million. Entry is restricted to four-year-old horses, with several world-ranked champions making their name on the Sha Tin Racecourse grounds. Located along the Shing Mun River, the pulse-pounding pace of the race contrasts with the more contemplative nature of the district’s central waterway.
Macdonnell Road, Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
Binoche Chan, List Sotheby’s International Realty
Riding enthusiasts looking for something a little closer to the hustle and bustle of the Hong Kong scene will be right at home in this 1,864-square-foot apartment. With its green surroundings, lush wood furnishings, and full balcony—complete with vertical garden—it conjures the verdant ambiance familiar to country club-goers while providing sleek modern amenities. Dynamic marble adds depth to the kitchen and dining room, as do the designer lighting fixtures situated throughout.
Shouson Hill Road, Shouson Hill, Hong Kong
Binoche Chan, List Sotheby’s International Realty
Those looking be relatively close to the Hong Kong Derby while also enjoying peaceful environs will be right at home in this exclusive designer townhouse, located on the scenic Shouson Hill not far from Deep Water Bay. For avid sportspeople, the Aberdeen Marina Club and Hong Kong Golf Club are both near this gated neighborhood—and for captains of industry, the Central business district is just a short commute away. High molded ceilings, expansive windows, and polished hardwood floors help fill this tasteful home with light and make it a dream retreat after a day at the races.
Saut Hermès: Paris, France
For equestrian lovers looking to enjoy the acrobatics of show jumping, there’s no ticket more covetable than the Saut Hermès in Paris, established in 2010. Held in the Grand Palais in the Champs-Élysées, the event draws the world’s best riders under the glass domes of the Beaux-Arts-styled historic site and exhibition center and is surrounded by some of Europe’s most enviable apartments.
Triangle d’Or, Paris
Kyan Zare, Propriétés Parisiennes Sotheby’s International Realty
This sunlit penthouse comprises the top floor of one of Paris’s iconic Haussmannian freestone buildings, located in the famous Triangle d’Or. With Avenue Montaigne just steps away, residents here are within the leisurely walking distance of the Grand Palais’ glistening glass halls and the Saut’s soaring leaps.
Geoffrey Benoit, Paris Ouest Sotheby’s International Realty
For a spot of modern in historic Paris, this 3,250-square-foot penthouse offers clear views stretching from Sacré-Cœur to the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe. Fully renovated to make the most of an open floor plan, this apartment’s ninth-floor rooftop terrace features a summer kitchen and vegetable garden. Pairing this property with the three-day spectacle of the Saut Hermès would make anyone feel like French aristocracy.
All year round, exhilarating events take place at Churchill Downs, the Sha Tin Racecourse, and the Grand Palais—and once per year, they each host one of the premier galas of the equestrian world. Having a home in one of these locales is a unique privilege, presenting unlimited access to these preeminent sporting events.