Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.
Horse races vary widely in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles, running over different distances, running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits.
While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion.
Horse racing at Golden Gate Fields, 2017
|Highest governing body||Generally regulated by assorted national or regional governing bodies|
|Equipment||Horse, appropriate horse tack|
|Venue||Turf, dirt or synthetic surface race track suitable for horses|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. It also plays an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology.
Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games. It continued although chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse, which frequently suffered serious injury and even death. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries. From the mid-fifteenth century until 1882, spring carnival in Rome closed with a horse race. Fifteen to 20 riderless horses, originally imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, were set loose to run the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street; their time was about 2½ minutes.
Historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and displayed the excellent horsemanship needed in battle. Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers. The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport. The popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat.
There are many different types of horse racing, including:
Different breeds of horses have developed that excel in each of the specific disciplines. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint, and Appaloosa. Jump racing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. In harness racing, Standardbreds are used in Australia, New Zealand and North America, when in Europe, Russian and French Trotter are used with Standardbred. Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are also used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas.
Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are typically oval in shape and are generally level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with often severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, and newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
Individual flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards (400 m) up to two and a half miles (4 km), with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common. Short races are generally referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe. Although fast acceleration ("a turn of foot") is usually required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina. The most prestigious flat races in the world, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby, Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, are run over distances in the middle of this range and are seen as tests of both speed and stamina to some extent.
In the most prestigious races, horses are generally allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males. These races are called conditions races and offer the biggest purses. There is another category of races called handicap races where each horse is assigned a different weight to carry based on its ability. Beside the weight they carry, horses' performance can also be influenced by position relative to the inside barrier (post position), gender, jockey, and training.
Jump (or jumps) racing in Great Britain and Ireland is known as National Hunt racing (although, confusingly, National Hunt racing also includes flat races taking place at jumps meetings; these are known as National Hunt flat races). Jump racing can be subdivided into steeplechasing and hurdling, according to the type and size of obstacles being jumped. The word "steeplechasing" can also refer collectively to any type of jump race in certain racing jurisdictions, particularly in the United States.
Typically, horses progress to bigger obstacles and longer distances as they get older, so that a European jumps horse will tend to start in National Hunt flat races as a juvenile, move on to hurdling after a year or so, and then, if thought capable, move on to steeplechasing.
A type of racing where horses go around a track while pulling a sulky and a driver behind them. In this sport Standardbreds are used. These horses are separated into two categories, trotters and pacers. Pacers move the legs on each side of their body in tandem, while trotters move their diagonal legs together. The latter are typically faster than the former due to the gaits used. Occasionally a horse will break their gait into an actual canter or gallop. This could cause the loss of a race or even a disqualification. Notable races include the Breeder’s Crown series.
Saddle Trot Racing
Ridden trot races are more common in places such as Europe and New Zealand. These horses are trotters who race on the flat under saddle with a jockey on their backs.
The length of an endurance race varies greatly. Some are very short, only ten miles, while others can be up to one hundred miles. There are a few races that are even longer than one hundred miles and last multiple days. These different lengths of races are divided into five categories: pleasure rides (10–20 miles), non-competitive trail rides (21–27 miles), competitive trail rides (20–45 miles), progressive trail rides (25–60 miles), and endurance rides (40–100 miles in one day, up to 250 miles (400 km) in multiple days). Because each race is very long, trails of natural terrain are generally used.
Contemporary organized endurance racing began in California around 1955, and the first race marked the beginning of the Tevis Cup This race was a one-hundred-mile, one-day-long ride starting in Squaw Valley, Placer County, and ending in Auburn. Founded in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was the United States' first national endurance riding association. The longest endurance race in the world is the Mongol Derby, which is 1,000 km (620 mi) long.
In most horse races, entry is restricted to certain breeds; that is, the horse must have a sire (father) and a dam (mother) who are studbook-approved individuals of whatever breed is racing. For example, in a normal harness race, the horse's sire and dam must both be pure Standardbreds. The exception to this is in Quarter Horse racing, where an Appendix Quarter Horse may be considered eligible to race against (standard) Quarter Horses. The designation of "Appendix" refers to the addendum section, or Appendix, of the Official Quarter Horse registry. An Appendix Quarter Horse is a horse that has either one Quarter Horse parent and one parent of any other eligible breed (such as Thoroughbred, the most common Appendix cross), two parents that are registered Appendix Quarter Horses, or one parent that is a Quarter Horse and one parent that is an Appendix Quarter Horse. AQHA also issues a "Racing Register of Merit," which allows a horse to race on Quarter Horse tracks, but not be considered a Quarter Horse for breeding purposes (unless other requirements are met).
A stallion who has won many races may be put up to stud when he is retired. Artificial insemination and embryo transfer technology (allowed only in some breeds) has brought changes to the traditions and ease of breeding.
Pedigrees of stallions are recorded in various books and websites, such as Weatherbys Stallion Book, the Australian Stud Book and Thoroughbred Heritage.
There are three founding sires that all Thoroughbreds can trace back to in the male line: the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian, and the Byerly Turk, named after their respective owners Thomas Darley, Lord Godolphin, and Captain Robert Byerly. They were taken to England, where they were mated with mares from English and imported bloodlines. The resultant foals were the first generation of Thoroughbreds, and all modern Thoroughbreds trace back to them. Thoroughbreds range in height, which is measured in hands (a hand being four inches). Some are as small as 15 hands while others are over 17. Thoroughbreds can travel medium distances at fast paces, requiring a balance between speed and endurance. Thoroughbreds may be bay, black, dark bay/brown, chestnut, gray, roan, white or palomino. Artificial insemination and embryo transfer are allowed in the Thoroughbred breed, however cloning has not yet been approved. 
Main Article: Standardbred
The standardbred is a breed of horse used for a variety of purposes, but they are largely bred for harness racing. They are descended from thoroughbreds, morgans, and extinct breeds. Standardbreds are typically docile and easy to handle. They do not spook easily and are quite versatile in what they can do. They can be jumpers, dressage, and pleasure riding horses.
The Arabian horse was developed by the Bedouin people of the Middle East specifically for stamina over long distances, so they could outrun their enemies. It was not until 1725 that the Arabian was introduced into the United States. Arabians appeared in the United States in colonial times, though were not bred as purebreds until about the time of the Civil War. Until the formation of the Arabian Horse Registry of America in 1908, Arabians were recorded with the Jockey Club in a separate subsection from Thoroughbreds.
Arabians must be able to withstand traveling long distances at a moderate pace. They have an abundance of type I muscle fibers, enabling their muscles to work for extended periods of time. Also, the muscles of the Arabian are not nearly as massive as those of the Quarter Horse, which allow it to travel longer distances at quicker speeds. The Arabian is primarily used today in endurance racing, but is also raced over traditional race tracks in many countries.
Arabian Horse Racing is governed by the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing.
The ancestors of the Quarter Horse were prevalent in America in the early 17th century. These horses were a blend of Colonial Spanish horses crossed with English horses that were brought over in the 1700s. The native horse and the English horse were bred together, resulting in a compact, muscular horse. At this time, they were mainly used for chores such as plowing and cattle work. The American Quarter Horse was not recognized as an official breed until the formation of the American Quarter Horse Association in 1940.
In order to be successful in racing, Quarter Horses need to be able to propel themselves forward at extremely fast sprinter speed. The Quarter Horse has much larger hind limb muscles than the Arabian, which make it less suitable for endurance racing. It also has more type II-b muscle fibers, which allow the Quarter Horse to accelerate rapidly.
When Quarter Horse racing began, it was very expensive to lay a full mile of track so it was agreed that a straight track of four hundred meters, or one quarter of a mile, would be laid instead. It became the standard racing distance for Quarter Horses and inspired their name. With the exception of the longer, 870-yard (800 m) distance contests, Quarter Horse races are run flat out, with the horses running at top speed for the duration. There is less jockeying for position, as turns are rare, and many races end with several contestants grouped together at the wire. The track surface is similar to that of Thoroughbred racing and usually consists of dirt.
In addition to the three main racing breeds above and their crosses, horse racing may be conducted using various other breeds: Appaloosa, American Paint Horse, mules, Selle Français, AQPS and Korean Jeju.
Muscles are bundles of contractile fibers that are attached to bones by tendons. These bundles have different types of fibers within them, and horses have adapted over the years to produce different amounts of these fibers. Type II-b fibers are fast twitch fibers. These fibers allow muscles to contract quickly, resulting in a great deal of power and speed. Type I fibers are slow-twitch fibers. They allow muscles to work for longer periods of time resulting in greater endurance. Type II-a fibers are intermediate, representing a balance between the fast-twitch fibers and the slow-twitch fibers. They allow the muscles to generate both speed and endurance. Type I muscle fibers are adapted for aerobic exercise and rely on the presence of oxygen. Type II muscles are needed for anaerobic exercise because they can function in the absence of oxygen. Thoroughbreds possess more type II-a muscle fibers than Quarter Horses or Arabians. This type of fiber allows them to propel themselves forward at great speeds and maintain it for an extended distance.
The conditioning program for the different horses varies depending on the race length. Genetics, training, age, and skeletal soundness are all factors that contribute to a horse's performance. The muscle structure and fiber type of horses depends on the breed; therefore, genetics must be considered when constructing a conditioning plan. A horse's fitness plan must be coordinated properly in order to prevent injury or lameness. If these are to occur, they may negatively affect a horse's willingness to learn. Sprinting exercises are appropriate for training two-year-old racehorses, but the number is limited by psychological factors as well as physical. A horse's skeletal system adapts to the exercise it receives. Because the skeletal system does not reach full maturity until the horse is at least four years of age, young racehorses often suffer injuries.
In the United States, Thoroughbred flat races are run on surfaces of either dirt, synthetic or turf. Other tracks offer Quarter Horse racing and Standardbred racing, on combinations of these three types of racing surfaces. Racing of other breeds, such as Arabian horse racing, is found on a limited basis. American Thoroughbred races are run at a wide variety of distances, most commonly from 5 to 12 furlongs (0.63 to 1.50 mi; 1.0 to 2.4 km); with this in mind, breeders of Thoroughbred race horses attempt to breed horses that excel at a particular distance (see dosage index).
Horse racing in the United States and on the North American continent dates back to 1665, which saw the establishment of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York, a section of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains of Long Island, New York. This first racing meet in North America was supervised by New York's colonial governor, Richard Nicolls. The area is now occupied by the present Nassau County, New York, region of Greater Westbury and East Garden City. The South Westbury section is still known as Salisbury.
The first record of quarter mile length races dated back to 1674 in Henrico County, Virginia. Each race consisted of only two horses, and they raced down the village streets and lanes. The Quarter Horse received its name from the length of the race.
The American Stud Book was started in 1868, prompting the beginning of organized horse racing in the United States. There were 314 tracks operating in the United States by 1890; and in 1894, the American Jockey Club was formed.
The Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack at the Alameda County Fairgrounds is the oldest remaining horse racing track in America, dating back to 1858, when it was founded by the sons of the Spaniard Don Agustin Bernal.
Belmont Park is located at the western edge of the Hempstead Plains. Its mile-and-a-half main track is the largest dirt Thoroughbred race course in the world, and it has the sport's largest grandstand.
One of the latest major horse track opened in the United States was the Meadowlands Racetrack, opened in 1977 for Thoroughbred racing. It is the home of the Meadowlands Cup. Other more recently opened tracks include Remington Park, Oklahoma City, opened in 1988, and Lone Star Park in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, opened in 1997; the latter track hosted the prestigious Breeders' Cup series of races in 2004.
The traditional high point of US horse racing is the Kentucky Derby, held on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Together, the Derby; the Preakness Stakes, held two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland; and the Belmont Stakes, held three weeks after the Preakness at Belmont Park on Long Island, form the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing for three-year-olds. They are all held early in the year, throughout May and the beginning of June. In recent years the Breeders' Cup races, run at the end of the year, have challenged the Triple Crown events as determiners of the three-year-old champion. The Breeders' Cup is normally held at a different track every year; however, the 2010 and 2011 editions were both held at Churchill Downs, and the 2012, 2013 and 2014 races were held at Santa Anita Park. Keeneland, in Lexington, Kentucky, hosted the 2015 Breeders' Cup.
For Arabians, there is the Arabian Triple Crown, consisting of Drinkers of the Wind Derby in California, the Texas Six Shooter Stakes, and the Bob Magness Derby in Delaware.
American betting on horse racing is sanctioned and regulated by the state where the race is located. Simulcast betting exists across state lines with minimal oversight except the companies involved through legalized parimutuel gambling. A takeout, or "take", is removed from each betting pool and distributed according to state law, among the state, race track and horsemen. A variety of factors affect takeout, namely location and the type of wager that is placed. One form of parimutuel gaming is Instant Racing, in which players bet on video replays of races.
Advanced Deposit Wagering is a form of gambling on the outcome of horse races in which the bettor must fund his or her account before being allowed to place bets. ADW is often conducted online or by phone. In contrast to ADW, credit shops allow wagers without advance funding; accounts are settled at month-end. Racetrack owners, horse trainers and state governments sometimes receive a cut of ADW revenues.
The most famous horse from Canada is generally considered to be Northern Dancer, who after winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Queen's Plate in 1964 went on to become the most successful Thoroughbred sire of the twentieth century; his two-minute-flat Derby was the fastest on record until Secretariat in 1973. The only challenger to his title of greatest Canadian horse would be his son Nijinsky II, who is the last horse to win the English Triple Crown. Woodbine Racetrack (1956) in Toronto is home of the Queen's Plate (1860), Canada's premier Thoroughbred stakes race, and the North America Cup (1984), Canada's premier Standardbred stakes race. It is the only race track in North America which stages Thoroughbred and Standardbred (harness) meetings on the same day. The Canadian International and Woodbine Mile (1981) are Canada's most important Grade I races worth C$1,000,000 each, and have been won by many renowned horses such as Secretariat and Wise Dan respectively. Other key races include Woodbine Oaks (1956), Prince of Wales Stakes (1929), Breeders' Stakes (1889) and Canadian Derby (1930).
Horse racing in Belgium takes place at three venues - Hippodrome Wellington in Ostend (opened in 1883 in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington), Hippodroom Waregem in Waregem in Flanders and Hippodrome de Wallonie in Mons, Wallonia.
There are 15 racecourses in the Czech Republic, most notably Pardubice Racecourse, where the country's most famous race, the Velka Pardubicka steeplechase, has been run since 1874. However, the first official race was organized back in 1816 by Emperor Francis II near Kladruby nad Labem. The Czech horse racing season usually starts at the beginning of April and ends some time in November. Racing takes place mostly at weekends and there is usually one meeting on a Saturday and one on Sunday. Horse races, as well as Thoroughbred horse breeding, is organized by Jockey Club Czech Republic, founded in 1919.
France has a major horse racing industry. It is home to the famous Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe held at Longchamp Racecourse, the richest race in Europe and the second richest turf race in the world after the Japan Cup, with a prize of 4 million Euros (approximately US$5.2 million). Other major races include the Grand Prix de Paris, the Prix du Jockey Club (the French Derby) and the Prix de Diane. Besides Longchamp, France's other premier flat racecourses include Chantilly and Deauville. There is also a smaller but nevertheless important jumps racing sector, with Auteil Racecourse being the most well known. The sport's governing body is France Galop.
Horse racing in Great Britain is predominantly thoroughbred flat and jumps racing. It was in Great Britain in the 17th to 19th centuries that many of the sport's rules and regulations were established. Named after Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, The Derby was first run in 1780. The race serves as the middle leg of the British Triple Crown, preceded by the 2000 Guineas and followed by the St Leger. The name "Derby" has since become synonymous with great races all over the world, and as such has been borrowed many times in races abroad.
The Grand National is the most prominent race in British culture, watched by many people who do not normally watch or bet on horse racing at other times of the year. Many of the sport's greatest jockeys, most notably Sir Gordon Richards, have been British. The sport is regulated by the British Horseracing Authority. The BHA's authority does not extend to Northern Ireland; racing in Ireland is governed on an All-Ireland basis.
Hungary has a long-standing horse racing tradition. The first horse racing in Pest was noted June 6, 1827. Although racing in Hungary is neither as popular nor as prestigious as it is in Western Europe, the country is notable for producing some fine international racehorses. Foremost of these is Kincsem, foaled in 1874 and the most successful Thoroughbred race horse ever, having won 54 races in 54 starts. The country also produced Overdose, a horse who won his first 12 races, including group races in Germany and Italy, and finished fourth in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Ireland has a rich history of horse racing; point to pointing originated there, and even today, jump racing is more popular than racing on the flat. As a result, every year Irish horse racing fans travel in huge numbers to the highlight event of the National Hunt calendar, the Cheltenham Festival, and in recent years Irish owned or bred horses have dominated the event. Ireland has a thriving Thoroughbred breeding industry, stimulated by favourable tax treatment. The world's largest Thoroughbred stud farm, Coolmore Stud, has its main site there (in addition to major operations in the U.S. and Australia).
In recent years, various Irish bred and trained horses achieved victory in one or more of the British 2000 Guineas, The Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, considered the three most prestigious races in Europe. In the six runnings of the Epsom Derby between 2008 and 2013, Irish horses filled 20 of the first 30 placings, winning the race 5 times.
Historically, Italy has been one of the leading European horse racing nations, albeit some respects behind Great Britain, Ireland and France in size and prestige. The late Italian horse breeder Federico Tesio was particularly notable. In recent years, however, the sport in the country has suffered a major funding crisis, culminating in its 2014 expulsion from the European Pattern.
Horse racing in Poland can be dated to 1777, when a horse owned by Polish noble Kazimierz Rzewuski beat the horse of the English chargé d'affaires, Sir Charles Whitworth, on the road from Wola to Ujazdów Castle. The first regular horse racing was organized in 1841 on Mokotów Fields in Warsaw by Towarzystwo Wyścigów Konnych i Wystawy Zwierząt Gospodarskich w Królestwie Polskim (in English, the Society of Horse Racing in Congress Poland). The main racetrack in Poland is Warsaw's Służewiec Racecourse. The industry was severely limited during the Communist era, when gambling, the major source of funding, was made illegal.
Horse racing in Australia was founded during the early years of settlement and the industry has grown to be among the top three leading Thoroughbred racing nations of the world. The world-famous Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation, has recently attracted many international entries. In country racing, records indicate that Goulburn commenced racing in 1834. Australia's first country racing club was established at Wallabadah in 1852 and the Wallabadah Cup is still held on New Year's Day (the current racecourse was built in 1898).
In Australia, the most famous racehorse was Phar Lap (bred in New Zealand), who raced from 1928 to 1932. Phar Lap carried 9 st 12 lb (62.5 kg) to win the 1930 Melbourne Cup. Australian steeplechaser Crisp is remembered for his battle with Irish champion Red Rum in the 1973 Grand National. In 2003–2005 the mare Makybe Diva (bred in Great Britain) became the only racehorse to ever win the Melbourne Cup three times, let alone in consecutive years. In harness racing, Cane Smoke had 120 wins, including 34 in a single season, Paleface Adios became a household name during the 1970s, while Cardigan Bay, a pacing horse from New Zealand, enjoyed great success at the highest levels of American harness racing in the 1960s. More recently, Blacks A Fake has won four Inter Dominion Championships, making him the only horse to complete this feat in Australasia's premier harness race.
Competitive endurance riding commenced in Australia in 1966, when the Tom Quilty Gold Cup was first held in the Hawkesbury district, near Sydney, New South Wales. The Quilty Cup is considered the National endurance ride and there are now over 100 endurance events contested across Australia, ranging in distances from 80 km to 400 km. The world's longest endurance ride is the Shahzada 400 km Memorial Test which is conducted over five days travelling 80 kilometres a day at St Albans on the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales. In all endurance events there are rigorous vet checks, conducted before, during and after the competition, in which the horses' welfare is of the utmost concern.
Racing is a long-established sport in New Zealand, stretching back to colonial times.
Horse racing is a significant part of the New Zealand economy which in 2004 generated 1.3% of the GDP. The indirect impact of expenditures on racing was estimated to have generated more than $1.4 billion in economic activity in 2004 and created 18,300 full-time equivalent jobs. More than 40,000 people were involved in some capacity in the New Zealand racing industry in 2004. In 2004, more than one million people attended race meetings in New Zealand. There are 69 Thoroughbred and 51 harness clubs licensed in New Zealand. Racecourses are situated in 59 locations throughout New Zealand.
The bloodstock industry is important to New Zealand, with the export sale of horses – mainly to Australia and Asia – generating more than $120 million a year. During the 2008–09 racing season 19 New Zealand bred horses won 22 Group One races around the world.
Notable racehorses from New Zealand include Cardigan Bay, Carbine, Nightmarch, Sunline, Desert Gold and Rising Fast. Phar Lap and Tulloch were both bred in New Zealand but did not race there. The most famous of these is probably Cardigan Bay. Stanley Dancer drove the New Zealand bred horse, Cardigan Bay to win $1 million in stakes in 1968, the first harness horse to surpass that milestone in American history.
On 25 June 1812, the Champ de Mars Racecourse was inaugurated by The Mauritius Turf Club which was founded earlier in the same year by Colonel Edward A. Draper. The Champ de Mars is situated on a prestigious avenue in Port Louis, the capital city and is the oldest racecourse in the southern hemisphere. The Mauritius Turf Club is the second oldest active turf club in the world.
Undeniably, racing is one of the most popular sports in Mauritius now attracting regular crowds of 20,000 people or more to the only racecourse of the island.
A high level of professionalism has been attained in the organisation of races over the last decades preserving the unique electrifying ambiance prevailing on race days at the Champ de Mars.
Champ de Mars has four classic events a year such as: Duchess of York Cup, Barbé Cup, Maiden Cup and the Duke of York Cup.
Horse racing is a popular sport in South Africa that can be traced back to 1797. The first recorded race club meeting took place five years later in 1802. The national horse racing body is known as the National Horseracing Authority and was founded in 1882. The premier event, which attracts 50,000 people to Durban, is the Durban July Handicap, which has been run since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse. It is the largest and most prestigious event on the continent, with betting running into the hundreds of millions of Rands. Several July winners have gone on to win major international races, such as Colorado King, London News, and Ipi Tombe. However, the other notable major races are the Summer Cup, held at Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg, and The Sun Met, which is held at Kenilworth race track in Cape Town.
Horse racing in one form or another has been a part of Chinese culture for millennia. Horse racing was a popular pastime for the aristocracy at least by the Zhou Dynasty - 4th century B.C. General Tian Ji's strategem for a horse race remains perhaps the best known story about horse racing in that period. In the 18th and 19th centuries, horse racing and equestrian sports in China was dominated by Mongol influences.
Thoroughbred horse racing came to China with British settlements in the middle 1800s and most notably centered around the treaty ports, including the two major race courses in Shanghai, the Shanghai Racecourse and the International Recreation Grounds (in Kiang-wan), and the racecourses of Tianjin. The Kiang-wan racecourse was destroyed in the lead-up to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Shanghai Race Club closed in 1954. The former Shanghai Racecourse is now People's Square and People's Park and the former club building was the Shanghai Art Museum.
Horse racing was banned in the Republic of China from 1945, and the People's Republic of China maintained the ban after 1949, although allowances were made for ethnic minority peoples for whom horse sports are a cultural tradition. Speed horse racing (速度赛马) was an event in the National Games of China, mainly introduced to cater for minority peoples, such as the Mongols. The race course was initially 5 km, but from 2005 (the 10th National Games) was extended to 12 km. The longer race led to deaths and injuries to participating horses in both 2005 and the 11th National Games in 2009. Also, with the entry into the sport of Han majority provinces such as Hubei, which are better funded and used Western, rather than traditional, breeding and training techniques, meant that the original purpose of the event to foster traditional horse racing for groups like the Mongols was at risk of being usurped. At the 2009 National Games, Hubei won both the gold and silver medals, with Inner Mongolia winning bronze. As a result of these factors, the event was abolished for the 12th National Games in 2013.
Club horse racing reappeared on a small scale in the 1990s. In 2008, the China Speed Horse Race Open in Wuhan was organized as the qualification round for the speed horse race event at the National Games the next year, but was also seen by commentators as a step towards legalizing both horse racing and gambling on the races. The Wuhan Racecourse was the only racecourse that organized races in China. In 2014, the Wuhan Jockey Club organized more than 80 races. Almost all Chinese trainers and jockeys stabled in Wuhan. However, with the demise of the event at the National Games and the government not relenting from the ban on commercial racing, various racecourses built in recent years are all in a state of disuse: The Nanjing Racecourse, which previously hosted National Games equestrian events, is now used as a car park; the Beijing Jockey Club was shut down in 2008. The racecourse in Inner Mongolia has not been active after 2012.
Horse racing eventually returned to mainland China on year 2014 as one-day, five-card event for foreign horses, trainers and jockeys.
The British tradition of horse racing left its mark with the creation of one of the most important entertainment and gambling institutions in Hong Kong. Established as the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club in 1884, the non-profit organisation conducts nearly 700 races every season at the two race tracks in Happy Valley and Sha Tin.
All horses are imported since there is no breeding operation. The sport annually draws millions of dollars of tax revenue. Off-track betting is available from overseas bookmakers.
In 1920s, Hong Kong Jockey Club had race meetings for visitors already. Visitors were divided into public and member. The charge of these two types visitors are different.
The charge for admission to the Public Enclosure is $1 per day for all while soldiers and sailors can enjoy half price. In the other hand, members are required to show their badges to obtain admission to the Members’ Enclosure. And also the charge for admission to the Members’ Enclosure is $2 per day. By comparing the lowest wage in 1929, we observe that the lowest wage is around $12 ( $0.4 per day) which has a large distance for the requirement enclosure. Therefore, we can observe that the race meetings are mainly opened for upper class mostly while grass-root has a lower chance to touch horse racing activity.
Nowadays,the Hong Kong Jockey Club is a cornerstone of modern Hong Kong. It donates all its profits to the Hong Kong government, charities and public institutions. It is the territory's largest taxpayer, contributing 11% of the government's revenues in 2000. punter. In economic terms, the Hong Kong Jockey Club is an old-fashioned government-protected monopoly; all other forms of gambling are illegal in this industry.
Hong Kong - Sweepstakes
Sweeptakes were introduced in Hong Kong during the 1920s. There are three types of sweepstakes which are the Special Cash Sweeps, the Last Race Sweep and the Ordinary Cash Sweeps. Special Cash Sweeps were at first drawn twice a year, and increased to three times a year later given its popularity. It carried the highest prize money amongst three types of sweepstakes. The Last Race Sweep commanded higher prize money then Ordinary Cash Sweeps, which were drawn for almost every race and therefore carried the lowest price money.
Sweepstakes could be purchased either at sweepstakes stations or from sweepstakes vendor throughout Hong Kong. With different number print on each sweepstake, one sweepstake is drawn and assigned, for each horse participating in the race, and the sweepstake attached to the winning horse would win the first prize. Likewise, the number of the first runner-up and second runner-up would win the second and third prize, respectively, with the rest winning consolation prizes. With introduction of new bet types in horse racing and the launch of Mark Six lottery in the 1970s, the club finally stop saled weepstakes in 1977.
Jockey Club of Macau was established for harness racing. It started to conduct horse races in 1989.
India's first racecourse was set up in Madras in 1777. Today India has nine racetracks operated by seven racing authorities.
Japan has two governing bodies that control its horseracing - the Japan Racing Association (JRA), and National Association of Racing (NAR). Between them they conduct more than 21,000 horse races a year. The JRA is responsible for 'Chuo Keiba' (meaning 'central horse racing'), taking place on the ten main Japanese tracks. The NAR, meanwhile, is responsible for 'Chihou Keiba' (meaning 'local horse racing'). Racing in Japan is mainly flat racing, but Japan also has jump racing and a sled-pulling race known as Ban'ei (also called Draft Racing).
Japan's top stakes races are run in the spring, autumn, and winter. These include the country's most prominent race - the Grade 1 Japan Cup, a 2,400 m (about 1½ mile) invitational turf race run every November at Tokyo Racecourse for a purse of ¥476 million (about US$5.6 million), currently the richest turf race in the world. Other noted stakes races include the February Stakes, Takamatsunomiya Kinen, Yasuda Kinen, Takarazuka Kinen, Arima Kinen, and the Tenno Sho races run in the spring and fall. Japan's top jump race is the Nakayama Grand Jump, run every April at Nakayama Racecourse.
In Malaysia, horse racing was introduced during the British colonial era and remains to the present day as a gambling activity. There are three race courses in Malaysia, namely Penang Turf Club, Perak Turf Club and Selangor Turf Club. Within and only within the turf clubs, betting on horse racing is a legal form of gambling. Racing in Malaysia and Singapore is conducted and governed under the Rules of the Malayan Racing Association and betting in Malaysia is operated and organized by Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn Bhd.
Mongolian horse racing takes place during the Naadam festival. Mongolia does not have Thoroughbred horse racing. Rather, it has its own Mongolian style of horse racing in which the horses run for at least a distance of 25 kilometers.
Horseracing in the Philippines began in 1867. The history of Philippine horseracing has three divisions according to the breeds of horses used. They are the Philippine-pony era (1867-1898), the Arabian-horse era (1898-1930), and the Thoroughbred-era (1935–present).
Horse racing was introduced to Singapore by the British during the colonial era and remained one of the legal forms of gambling after independence. It remains a highly popular form of entertainment with the local Singaporean community to this day. Races are typically held on Friday evenings and Sundays at the Singapore Turf Club in Kranji. Horse racing has also left its mark in the naming of roads in Singapore such as Race Course Road in Little India, where horse racing was first held in Singapore, and Turf Club Road in Bukit Timah where Singapore Turf Club used to be situated before moving to its current location in 1999.
Horse racing in South Korea dates back to May 1898, when a foreign language institute run by the government included a donkey race in its athletic rally. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that modern horse racing involving betting developed. The nation's first authorised club, the Chosun Racing Club, was established in 1922 and a year later, the pari-mutuel betting system was officially adopted for the first time.
The Korean War disrupted the development of horse racing in the country, but after the Seoul Olympics in 1988, the Olympic Equestrian Park was converted into racing facilities named Seoul Race Park, which helped the sport to develop again.
The big race in the UAE is the Dubai World Cup, a race with a purse of US$10 million, which was the largest purse in the world until being surpassed by the Pegasus World Cup, an American race with a $12 million purse that held its first edition in 2017. The Dubai World Cup is once again the world’s richest horse race. The Pegasus World Cup had its purse reduced in 2019 to make room for a new turf race.  Other races include the Dubai Kahayla Classic with a purse of US$250,000.
The Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, reported to be the world's largest race track, opened on March 27, 2010 for the Dubai World Cup race. The race track complex contains two tracks with seating for 60,000, a hotel, restaurants, theater and museum.
There is no parimutuel betting in the UAE as gambling is illegal.
In Argentina the sport is known as turf. Some of the most famous racers are Irineo Leguisamo, Vilmar Sanguinetti, Marina Lezcano, Jorge Valdivieso, Pablo Falero and Jorge Ricardo. The Carlos Gardel's tango Por una cabeza is about horse racing, sport of which he was a known fan. Gardel was a good friend of Irineo Leguisamo, who is the most recognized Argentine jockey.
At many horse races, there is a gambling station, where gamblers can stake money on a horse. Gambling on horses is prohibited at some tracks; Springdale Race Course, home of the nationally renowned Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank) Carolina Cup and Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, South Carolina, is known as one of the tracks where betting is illegal, due to a 1951 law. Where gambling is allowed, most tracks offer parimutuel betting where gamblers' money is pooled and shared proportionally among the winners once a deduction is made from the pool. In some countries, such as the UK, Ireland, and Australia, an alternative and more popular facility is provided by bookmakers who effectively make a market in odds. This allows the gambler to 'lock in' odds on a horse at a particular time (known as 'taking the price' in the UK). Parimutuel gambling on races also provides not only purse money to participants but considerable tax revenue, with over $100 billion wagered annually in 53 countries.
Anna Waller, a member of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of North Carolina, co-authored a four-year-long study of jockey injuries and stated to the New York Times that "For every 1,000 jockeys you have riding [for one year], over 600 will have medically treated injuries." She added that almost 20% of these were serious head or neck injuries. The study reported 6,545 injuries during the years 1993–1996. More than 100 jockeys were killed in the US between 1950 and 1987.
Horses also face dangers in racing. 1.5 horses die out of every 1000 starts in the US. The U.S. Jockey Club in New York estimates that about 600 horses died at racetracks in 2006. The Jockey Club in Hong Kong reported a far lower figure of .58 horses per 1000 starts. There is speculation that drugs used in horse racing in the US which are banned elsewhere are responsible for the higher death rate in the US.
In the Canadian province of Ontario, a study of 1,709 racehorse deaths between 2003 and 2015 found that the majority of deaths were attributable to "damage during exercise to the horses' musculoskeletal system", including fractures, dislocations, and tendon ruptures. Mortality rates were eight times higher for thoroughbreds than standardbreds, and highest amongst young horses. The study also found that the incidence of off-track deaths were twice as high for thoroughbreds.
The Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame was established in 1976 to honor those who have made a significant contribution to the sport of harness and thoroughbred horse racing in Canada. It is located at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario.
The Hall of Fame annually inducts Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses, sulky drivers, jockeys, trainers and the horse racing industry's builders.Did Not Finish
In racing, Did Not Finish (DNF) denotes a participant who does not finish a given race, either because of a mechanical failure, injury, or involvement in an accident. The term is used in all forms of racing, including automotive racing, horse racing, cycling, track and distance running, and skiing, among other types of racing. Athletes try very hard to avoid receiving a DNF, and many associate it with a negative stigma.Eclipse Award
The Eclipse Award is an American thoroughbred horse racing award named after the 18th century British racehorse and sire, Eclipse.
An Eclipse Award Trophy is presented to the winner in each division that is made by a few small selected American foundries with expertise in studio bronze casting. It is then mounted on the hand-crafted native Kentucky walnut base to comprise the Eclipse Award on which a brass plate recites the award winner.
The equivalent in Australia is the Australian Thoroughbred racing awards, in Canada the Sovereign Awards, and in Europe, the Cartier Racing Awards.Flat racing
Flat racing is a form of horse racing which is run on a level racecourse. It is run over a predetermined distance from 2 furlongs (402 m) up to 3 miles (4,828 m) and is either test of speed, stamina, or both, whilst the skills of the jockey is determined by his ability to restrain the horse or impel it. Flat racing does not require horses to jump over any obstacles such as is required for hurdling or steeplechase. It differs from harness racing where horses are pulling a sulky and wear a harness. While in many countries flat racing is the most common form of horse racing, in Great Britain and Ireland it is used to describe the racing season that comes after the jumps racing which is traditionally held over the winter period.
Many different horse breeds are used in flat racing worldwide, but the Thoroughbred is the most dominant. The races take place on track surfaces suitable for horses. Worldwide, the most common is a natural grass surface, called "turf". In North America, the most common surface is a harrowed "dirt" surface, often based primarily on a mixture of sand and local soil. Most winter flat races in Britain and other parts of the world are run on a synthetic or all-weather surface, generally a blend of sand with synthetic fiber and/or rubber, often coated with wax or a similar substance.Glossary of North American horse racing
Glossary of North American horse racing:
Additional glossaries at:
Glossary of Australian and New Zealand punting
Glossary of equestrian terms
Parimutuel betting#Parimutuel bet typesGoing (horse racing)
Going (UK), track condition (US) or track rating (AUS) are the track surface of a horse racing track prior to a horse race or race meet. The going is determined by the amount of moisture in the ground and is assessed by an official steward on the day of the race.
The condition of a race track plays an important role in the performance of horses in a race. The factors that go into determining race track condition include the surface conditions, type of surface, and track configuration. The surface conditions are influenced by the type of surface factoring in soil type, and if the track is dirt, turf, artificial surface; plus surface density, porosity, compaction and moisture content.Group races
Group races, also known as Pattern races, or Graded races in some jurisdictions, are the highest level of races in Thoroughbred horse racing. They include most of the world's iconic races, such as, in Europe, The Derby, Irish Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in Australia, the Melbourne Cup and in the United States, the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup races. Victory in these races marks a horse as being particularly talented, if not exceptional, and they are extremely important in determining stud values. They are also sometimes referred to as Black type races, since any horse that has won one of these races is printed in bold type in sales catalogues.Handicap (horse racing)
A handicap race in horse racing is a race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the handicapper. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give it a disadvantage when racing against slower horses.
The skill in betting on a handicap race lies in predicting which horse can overcome its handicap. Although most handicap races are run for older, less valuable horses, this is not true in all cases; some great races are handicaps, such as the Grand National steeplechase in England and the Melbourne Cup in Australia. In the United States over 30 handicap races are classified as Grade I, the top level of the North American grading system.Horse length
A horse length, or simply length, is a unit of measurement for the length of a horse from nose to tail, approximately 8 feet (2.4 m).Horse racing in Great Britain
Horse racing is the second largest spectator sport in Great Britain, and one of the longest established, with a history dating back many centuries. It generates over £3.7 billion for the British economy, and the major horse racing events such as Royal Ascot and Cheltenham Festival are important dates in the British and international sporting and society calendar.
The sport has taken place in the country since Roman times and many of the sport's traditions and rules originated there. The Jockey Club, established in 1750, codified the Rules of Racing and one of its members, Admiral Rous laid the foundations of the handicapping system for horse racing, including the weight-for-age scale. Britain is also home to some of the world's iconic racecourses including Newmarket, Ascot and Cheltenham and many of the world's iconic races including The Derby at Epsom, The Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup. The UK has also produced some of the greatest jockeys, including Fred Archer, Sir Gordon Richards and Lester Piggott.
Britain has also historically been a hugely important centre for thoroughbred racehorse breeding. In fact all racehorses are called English Thoroughbred, the breed having been created in England. All modern thoroughbred racehorses can trace a line back to three foundation sires which were imported to Britain in the late 17th/early 18th centuries and the General Stud Book first published by James Weatherby still records details of every horse in the breed.
Gambling on horseraces has been one of the cornerstones of the British betting industry and the relationship between the two has historically been one of mutual dependence. The betting industry is an important funder of horse racing in Great Britain, through the betting levy administered by the Horserace Betting Levy Board and through media rights negotiated by racecourses and betting shops.Jockey
A jockey is someone who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing.Longchamp Racecourse
The ParisLongchamp Racecourse (French: Hippodrome de Longchamp) is a 57 hectare horse-racing facility located on the Route des Tribunes in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, France. It is used for flat racing and is noted for its variety of interlaced tracks and a famous hill that provides a real challenge to competing thoroughbreds. It has several racetracks varying from 1,000 to 4,000 metres in length with 46 different starting posts. The course is home to more than half of the group one races held in France, and has a capacity of 50,000. The highlight of the calendar is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Held on the first weekend in October, the prestigious event attracts the best horses from around the world.
The first-ever race run at Longchamp was on Sunday, April 27, 1857 in front of a massive crowd. The Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie were present, having sailed down the Seine River on their private yacht to watch the third race. Until 1930, many Parisians came to the track down the river on steamboats and various other vessels, the trip taking around an hour to the Pont de Suresnes. The royal couple joined Prince Jérôme Bonaparte and his son Prince Napoleon in the Royal Enclosure alongside the Prince of Nassau, Prince Murat and the Duke of Morny, an avid racegoer. Non-aristocratic members of the upper classes were not permitted into the Royal enclosure and had to be content with watching from their barouche carriages on the lawn.
A number of prominent artists have painted horse racing scenes at Longchamp including the one seen here by Édouard Manet in 1867 and another four years later by Edgar Degas titled Race Horses at Longchamp.
Racing continued during the German occupation of France in World War II, with many German officers in the stands.Maiden race
In horse racing a maiden race is an event for horses that have not won a race. Horses that have not won a race are referred to as maidens. Maiden horse races are held over a variety of distances and under conditions with eligibility based on the sex or age of the horse. Races may be handicaps, set weights, or weight for age. In many countries, maiden races are the lowest level of class and represent an entry point into a racing career. In countries such as the United States, maiden special weight races rank above claiming races, while maiden claiming races allow the horse to be claimed (bought) by another owner.National Hunt racing
In horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland, National Hunt racing requires horses to jump fences and ditches. National Hunt racing in the UK is informally known as "jumps" and is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases. Alongside these there are "bumpers", which are National Hunt flat races. In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles; in a steeplechase the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jump or an open ditch. In the UK the biggest National Hunt events of the year are generally considered to be the Grand National at Aintree and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.Newmarket, Suffolk
Newmarket is a market town in the English county of Suffolk, approximately 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of London. It is generally considered the birthplace and global centre of thoroughbred horse racing and a potential World Heritage Site. It is a major local business cluster, with annual investment rivalling that of the Cambridge Science Park, the other major cluster in the region. It is the largest racehorse training centre in Britain, the largest racehorse breeding centre in the country, home to most major British horseracing institutions, and a key global centre for horse health. Two Classic races, and an additional three British Champions Series races are held at Newmarket every year. The town has had close royal connections since the time of James I, who built a palace there, and was also a base for Charles I, Charles II, and most monarchs since. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, visits the town often to see her horses in training.
Newmarket has over fifty horse training stables, two large racetracks, the Rowley Mile and the July Course, and one of the most extensive and prestigious horse training grounds in the world. The town is home to over 3,500 racehorses, and it is estimated that one in every three local jobs is related to horse racing. Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, the National Horseracing Museum, Tattersalls racehorse auctioneers, and two of the world's foremost equine hospitals for horse health, are in the town, which is surrounded by over sixty horse breeding studs. On account of its leading position in the multibillion-pound horse racing and breeding industry, it is also a major export centre.Race track
A race track (or "racetrack", "racing track" or "racing circuit") is a facility built for racing of vehicles, athletes, or animals (e.g. horse racing or greyhound racing). A race track also may feature grandstands or concourses. Racetracks are also used in the study of animal locomotion. Some motorsport tracks are called speedways.
A racetrack is a permanent facility or building. Racecourse is an alternate term for a horse racing track, found in countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates. Race tracks built for bicycles are known as velodromes. Circuit is a common alternate term for racetrack, given the circuit configuration of most race tracks, allowing races to occur over several laps.
A race course, as opposed to a racecourse, is a non-permanent track for sports, particularly road running, water sports, road racing, or rallying. Many sports usually held on racetracks also can occur on temporary tracks, such as the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula One.Racing Post
Racing Post is a British daily horse racing, greyhound racing and sports betting publisher, appearing in print form and digitally.Steeplechase (horse racing)
A steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is primarily conducted in Ireland (where it originated), the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and France. The name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a church steeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.
Modern usage of the term "steeplechase" differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to "hurdle" races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term "jump racing" or "National Hunt racing" is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively (although, properly speaking, National Hunt racing also includes some flat races). Elsewhere in the world, "steeplechase" is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.
The most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National run annually at Aintree Racecourse, in Liverpool, since its inception in 1836 (the official race was held three years later), which in 2014 offered a prize fund of £1 million.Thoroughbred racing
Thoroughbred horse racing is a worldwide sport and industry :(involving the racing of Thoroughbred horses. It is governed by different national bodies. There are two forms of the sport: Flat racing and jump racing, called National Hunt racing in the UK and steeplechasing in the US. Jump racing can be further divided into hurdling and steeplechasing.
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