Seven Smashing Songs for a Horse Racing-Themed Playlist

When you attend a sporting event, whether it’s a soccer match, a football game, a boxing fight or other sporting clash, the chances are you’ll hear music in the venue to add to the atmosphere. Horse racing events are no different.

However, music isn’t just part of horse racing events, but horse racing itself can feature in music. Since as early as the mid-19th century, the sport has become a theme in several songs, from country and folk through to classical music and sing-along-type tunes. Below is a look at some of the best tunes to pop on a horse racing themed playlist.

Call to the Post

To open the playlist, no song other than “Call to the Post” would be appropriate. The call to the post (or “first call”) is the single that the horses should be ready to exit the paddock so that they can get out onto the track. Normally, a bugler will make this call around five to ten minutes before the start of the race.

Fugue for Tin Horns

This song features in the musical “Guys and Dolls” and three different people sing it. In the song, the singers are gamblers arguing about which horse will win a race. Frank Sinatra (who starred in the “Guys and Dolls” movie), Dean Martin and Bing Crosby have all recorded the song together, and Barry Manilow has also recorded it in the past.

The phrase “can do” after a horse’s name is believed to have inspired Frank Loesser, the writer, to pen write the song, following a visit to the race track several years earlier. Loesser is thought to have loved the racing form.

Where the Turf Meets the Surf

Not many racetracks in history are likely to have a song dedicated solely to them, but the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, in San Diego, California, does. Late crooner Bing Crosby was one of the founding partners of this racetrack and wrote and sang “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” as an ode to the venue. On the opening day of the track, in 1937, the singer was there to greet the fans.

Crosby recorded “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” a year after the track opened. In 1946, he sold his interest in the track. Even now, however, his presence lives on as you’ll hear his ode to the racecourse played at the venue before and after the races.


The song “Cheltenham” is the work of the organizing team for the 2010 Cheltenham festival and is sung by a host of jockeys, trainers and other personalities from the world of horse racing. The tune is that of the Petula Clark’s hit “Downtown,” but the song is more a fun, feel-good outing than a serious song about horse racing. Although it was written and recorded to promote the festival, “Cheltenham” also raised substantial amounts of cash for horse racing-related good causes.

The Cheltenham festival, naturally, is popular with sports bettors and takes place each year in March. If you missed the last one and are interested in wagering on the races but don’t know where to start, you can learn how to bet on horse racing now in time for the next one, which, in 2025, will run from March 11 to 14.

Bottle of Smoke

Sang by Irish folk-punk band The Pogues, the “Bottle of Smoke” in the song is a 25-1 racehorse. The narrator of the song is a gambler who gets a lucky break after some time. The music is fast and the lead singer Shane MacGowan’s Irish accent is strong, so you might have a hard time making out the lyrics. Get on to Google for them, follow the song and reap the enjoyment from this delightful number.

Run for the Roses

A song called “Run for the Roses”, sung by Dan Fogelberg, could only celebrate the famous Kentucky Derby race of the same name. The song passionately tells the journey of a thoroughbred from being a foal on the plains of Kentucky to racing in the Kentucky Derby. Fogelberg really pours his heart and soul into the song.

The Ballad of Ruby Walsh

Irish folk singer, songwriter and guitarist Christy Moore sings this special song about the National Hunt jockey Ruby Walsh. Not only does the song celebrate Walsh’s horse racing heroics, but also the atmosphere of the Galway races and National Hunt races. “The Ballad of Ruby Walsh” may poke a little fun at certain aspects of horse racing, but the musician behind it has seen more than his fair share of life, which adds to the charm and the magic of the song.

As a horse racing fan, you’ll love the songs above, but even if you’re not, you’ll soon be singing along to them. Other songs related to horse racing include “A Legend in the Game,” by Frank Lovato Jr., and “Molly and Tenbrooks,” sung perhaps most famously by Bill Monroe.