Horse Racing in Rio de Janeiro – you think that doesn’t make sense? Well, the Jockey Club in Gávea may not be one of Rio’s top tourist attractions but it’s a fun alternative to the usual sightseeing tours in Rio de Janeiro, free and easy to organize. Especially on cloudy days you will be happy to have a backup plan for the beach. Even more so if you aren’t keen on museums. And if want to add a bit of excitement to the race, place a bet! Who knows, this might just be your lucky day 🙂
How to get to the Jockey Club in Gavea
Gávea isn’t that easy to reach by public transport but luckily that’s not true for the Jockey Club. Several buses stop right in front of the door, just make sure that the bus sign reads “Jockey Club” to be on the safe side.
|Address: Praça Santos Dumont 31, Gávea
By bus: From Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon for example: 512, 570, 574, 584
By car: If there isn’t a big event going on, you should be able to get a free parking lot right in front of the entrance. There’s also paid parking inside. See map below for exact location.
Opening hours: Fridays from 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm, Mondays from 6pm. There’s a race every 30 minutes.
Entrance free, bets are optional, drinks and food on the premises.
The Jockey Club
The colonial building of the Jockey Club itself is worth a visit. To walk through the majestical entrance gate already gives you a sense of the potential glamour this place holds. Unfortunately, this feeling fades a bit when you reach the actual horse racing tracks. Normally, there aren’t many visitors at the Jockey Club and you shouldn’t expect high society crowds with elegant hats or fancy dresses. However, this also means that you can feel at ease, walk around and enjoy the unconventional Carioca atmosphere that makes Rio so loveable. The Jockey Club also offer you yet another perspective on the Christ Statue and Dois Irmãos (Two Brother Hills).
You should expect to spend a lot of time just waiting. There’s a race every 30 minutes but remember that these race horses are professional, they finish the lap in 1.30 minutes! So have some drinks and snacks in the meantime but don’t forget to watch out for the next race or you might miss it. If you have binoculars, do bring them, that way you’ll get a real racing feeling. While you’re waiting, you can of course also place a bet. In any case, it’s a good idea to have a look at the program to see all the races of the day and especially the names of the race horses, they are hilarious.
If you do want to join some big horse racing event, watch out for the Grande Prêmio Brasil, the race of races in the Brazilian horse racing world. It’s usually celebrated the first Sunday of August and attracts the high society of the whole country. The Grande Prêmio Brasil is the TOP Event of the Jockey Club; however, the space occasionally also hosts other events such as Parque da Bola during the World Cup 2014 or Rider Weekends.
If you’re looking for more things to do in Rio, check out our Sightseeing Category.