Races at the Club Hípico (Av. Blanco Encalada 2540, tel. 02/6939600, www.clubhipico.cl ) usually take place Monday and Thursday, with occasional Sunday events. It’s within walking distance from the Unión Latinoamericana and República Metro stations.
Immediately west of Parque O’Higgins , the more exclusive of Santiago ’s two major racetracks dates from 1870, when it marked a major social change—discarding the Chilean custom of linear racing, riders now ran their mounts around an oval track. Like an outing in Parque Cousiño, horse racing became an elite privilege rather than a peasant pastime.
Today much of that has changed—the windows accept bets from anyone with cash to place them—but the elegance of architect Josué Smith Solar’s Francophile design, based upon the Bois de Boulogne’s Longchamps track, has survived.
An 1892 fire destroyed the original club and grandstands, but Smith’s replacement (1918), surrounded by Guillermo Renée’s French baroque gardens, accentuated the views across the track to the Andean front range.