Central America Pari mutuel: Horse Racing, Greyhounds Jai Alai
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Central American horse racing and pari-mutuel betting
Thursday Oct 23rd, 2014
Central America consists of 8 countries with Mexico the northern most and Panama the southern most (yes, depending on who you ask, Mexico can be considered North America). It is in Mexico and Panama where the vast majority of pari mutuel activity is to be found, while the other 6 countries of Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, lack the population and infrastructure to host large events such as horse racing or greyhound races.
Panama Horse Racing at President Remon
Horse racing is very popular in Panama and the country has only one race track which is the President Remon Racetrack and Casino in Panama City. The track is open everyday with national races on Thursdays. It only cost $1 to get entry which you get back if you're betting. The Crown Hipodrome Casino has been open here with a view of the races since 2007.
Unique to Panama is horse barrel racing and is so big there that they are part of the National Barrel Horse Association. Panama also has the largest number of sports book outlets of any other Central America country, many of the regions largest casinos also have them inside.
Mexico Greyhound Races, Horse Races and Jai Alai
Mexico has more Pari mutual action than the rest of Central America where the Hipodromo de las Americas at one time had an attendance of over 43,000 and at the track there is enough stabling room for 1700 horses.
Mexico is also the only country in Central America that is home to the Basque game of Jai Alai. In Mexico the Fronton Palacio Tijuana Jai Alai first opened in 1947, sadly it closed in 1998 two years after Mexico City’s Mexico Fonton closed its doors. Although Jai Alai thrives in other Latin America countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Peru, Colombia and Venezuela, it has disappeared from the venues in Central America although Mexico still sends a national team to major championships around the world.
Greyhound racing is not as popular as it is in North America and in fact is being run out of business almost everywhere due to bad publicity from animal rights activists. Mexico is one of the few countries that meet the exacting standards set by the World Greyhound Racing Federation. http://www.worldgreyhoundracingfederation.com. In Tijuana the Agua Caliente Racetrack offers races daily, the track was originally built for horse racing which has now discontinued.
The rest of Central America
Minor horse racing festivals have been held in Guatemala and Costa Rica in past years. Guatemala has some annual horse races in Todos Santos Cuchumatán, but not the kind you're thinking about. (click here for photo).
Despite the lack of parimutuel facilities, even the smaller countries of Central America you will always find sports betting, usually in the casinos. Costa Rica is known as one of the major sports book centers of the world; San Jose alone probably has 50+ physical sports book facilities. Many countries also have OTB’s where bets can be made on the horse and greyhound races in Mexico and Panama.
Central American Casino Listings
Complete Central America casino list in alphabetical order: