Horse racing

Horse racing

Overview



Horse racing is an equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries.
Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

 racing was popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings."

The style of racing, the distances and the type of events vary significantly by the country in which the race is occurring, and many countries offer different types of horse races.
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Encyclopedia



Horse racing is an equestrian
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries.
Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

 racing was popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings."

The style of racing, the distances and the type of events vary significantly by the country in which the race is occurring, and many countries offer different types of horse races. There are three major types of racing: flat racing
Flat racing
Flat racing is a form of Thoroughbred horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. It differs from steeplechase racing which is run over hurdles...

, steeplechasing
Steeplechase
Steeplechase may refer to:* Steeplechase, an event in horse racing* SteepleChase, a Danish jazz label* Steeplechase , a 1975 arcade game released by Atari...

 (racing over jumps), and harness racing
Harness racing
Harness racing is a form of horse racing in which the horses race at a specific gait . They usually pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky, although racing under saddle is also conducted in Europe.-Breeds:...

, where horses trot or pace
Horse gait
Horse gaits are the various ways in which a horse can move, either naturally or as a result of specialized training by humans.-Classification:...

 while pulling a driver in a sulky
Sulky
A sulky is a lightweight cart having two wheels and a seat for the driver only but usually without a body, generally pulled by horses or dogs, and is used for harness races...

. A major part of horse racing's economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a world-wide market worth around US$115 billion.

Various types of racing have given rise to horse breeds that excel in the specific disciplines of each sport. Breeds that may be used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

, Quarter Horse
American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other breeds of horses in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph...

, Arabian
Arabian horse
The Arabian or Arab horse is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses...

, Paint
American Paint Horse
The American Paint Horse is a breed of horse that combines both the conformational characteristics of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. Developed from a base of spotted horses with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines, the American Paint Horse...

, and Appaloosa
Appaloosa
The Appaloosa is a horse breed best known for its colorful leopard-spotted coat pattern. There is a wide range of body types within the breed, stemming from the influence of multiple breeds of horses throughout its history. Each horse's color pattern is genetically the result of various spotting...

. Steeplechasing breeds include the Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

 and AQPS
AQPS
AQPS , translated as "Other than thoroughbred", is a general term used in France to refer to horses not listed as Thoroughbreds. Anglo-Arabians, Selle Français , and French Trotters plus all other crossbreds can be qualified as AQPS. For racing purposes, each breed has its own studbook...

. Harness racing is dominated by Standardbred horses in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and North America, but several other breeds, such as the Russian Trotter
Russian Trotter
The Russian Trotter or Métis Trotter was developed in Russia to create a horse with a faster trotting speed than the older Russian Orlov Trotter. 156 Standardbred stallions and 220 mares were imported from the United States between the years of 1890 and 1914...

 and Finnhorse
Finnhorse
The Finnhorse or Finnish Horse is a horse breed with both riding horse and draught horse influences and characteristics, and is the only breed developed fully in Finland...

, are seen in Europe.

History


Historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and honed the excellent horsemanship that was needed in battle. Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers. All 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.

Chariot racing
Chariot racing
Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death, but generated strong spectator enthusiasm...

 was one of the most popular ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 and Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

s. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death, but generated strong spectator enthusiasm. In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games
Panhellenic Games
Panhellenic Games is the collective term for four separate sports festivals held in ancient Greece. The four Games were:-Description:The Games took place in a four-year cycle known as the Olympiad, which was one of the ways the Greeks measured time...

, the sport was one of the most important equestrian events. Horse racing was also a part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin
Odin
Odin is a major god in Norse mythology and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Anglo-Saxon "Wōden" and the Old High German "Wotan", the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wodanaz" or "*Wōđanaz"....

 and the giant Hrungnir
Hrungnir
Hrungnir was a jötunn in Norse mythology, slain by the god Thor with his hammer Mjölnir. The account is documented in the Skáldskaparmál, in the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson....

 in Norse mythology
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

.

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.

Thoroughbred



There are three founding sires that almost all Thoroughbreds can trace back to: the Darley Arabian
Darley Arabian
The Darley Arabian was one of three dominant foundation sires of modern Thoroughbred horse racing bloodstock, the other two being the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerley Turk. This bay Arabian horse was bought in Aleppo, Syria by Thomas Darley in 1704 and shipped back to Aldby Park in England, where...

, the Godolphin
Godolphin
Godolphin may refer to:*Baron Godolphin, an English title of nobility*Earl of Godolphin, an English title of nobility*Godolphin and Latymer School, an independent boarding school for girls in London...

, and the Byerly Turk
Byerly Turk
The Byerley Turk or Byerly Turk, was the earliest of three stallions that were the founders of the modern Thoroughbred horse racing bloodstock...

, named after their respective owners, Thomas Darley
Thomas Darley
Thomas Darley served as Her Majesty's Consul to the Levant during the reign of Queen Anne. He is famous for having bought an Arabian colt that became an important part of the history of the Thoroughbred breed....

, Lord Godolphin, and Captain Robert Byerly. All were taken to England where they were mated with racing mares. Thoroughbreds range in height, and are measured in hands (a hand being four inches). Some are as small as 15 hands while others are over 17 hands. Thoroughbreds can travel medium distances at fast paces, requiring a balance between speed and endurance.

Thoroughbred racing


Flat racing
Flat racing
Flat racing is a form of Thoroughbred horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. It differs from steeplechase racing which is run over hurdles...

 is the most common form of Thoroughbred racing. The track is typically oval in shape and the race is based on speed and stamina. Within the general category of Thoroughbred flat racing, there exist two separate types of races. These include conditions races
Conditions races
Conditions races are horse races where the weights carried by the runners are laid down by the conditions attached to the race. Weights are allocated according to; the sex of the runners, with female runners carrying less weight than males; the age of the runners, with younger horses receiving...

 and handicap races
Handicap races
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 him or her a disadvantage when racing against slower horses...

. Condition races are the most prestigious and offer the biggest purses. Handicap races assign each horse a different amount of weight to carry based on their ability. Beside the weight they carry, the horse is also influenced by its closeness to the inside barrier, the track surface, its gender, the jockey, and the trainer. A typical Thoroughbred race is run on dirt, synthetic or turf surfaces. Viscoride and Polytrack are synthetic substitutes. Thoroughbred races vary in distance, but are usually somewhere between five and twelve furlongs. A furlong
Furlong
A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one-eighth of a mile, equivalent to 220 yards, 660 feet, 40 rods, or 10 chains. The exact value of the furlong varies slightly among English-speaking countries....

 is a distance measurement equal to one eighth of a mile, 220 yards or 201.168 metres.

Training


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 unnecessary lameness. If these were to occur, they may negatively affect a horse’s willingness to learn. Sprinting exercises are appropriate for training two-year-old racehorses, but they are mentally incapable of handling too many of them. A horse’s skeletal system adapts to the exercise they are receiving. Because the skeletal system does not reach full maturity until the horse is at least four years of age, young racehorses often suffer multiple injuries.

Horse breeds and muscle structure


Muscles are just bundles of stringy 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 IIb 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 IIa fibers are in the middle. They are a balance between the fast twitch fibers and the slow-twitch fibers. They allow the muscles to generate both speed and endurance. Type I muscles are absolutely necessary for aerobic exercise because they rely on the presence of oxygen in order to work. Type II muscles are needed for anaerobic exercise because they can function without the presence of oxygen. Thoroughbreds possess more Type IIa muscle fibers than the Quarter Horse or Arabian. This type of fiber allows them to propel themselves forward at great speeds and maintain it for an extended distance.

History



Horse racing in the United States and on the North American continent dates back to 1665, which saw the establishment of the Newmarket course on the Salisbury Plains section of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains of Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

, New York. This first racing meet in North America was supervised by New York's colonial governor, Richard Nicolls
Richard Nicolls
Richard Nicolls was the first English colonial governor of New York province....

. The area is now occupied by the present Nassau County, New York
Nassau County, New York
Nassau County is a suburban county on Long Island, east of New York City in the U.S. state of New York, within the New York Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,339,532...

, region of Greater Westbury
Westbury, New York
Westbury incorporated in 1932 as a village in Nassau County, New York in the United States. The population was 15,146 at the 2010 census.The Village of Westbury is in the Town of North Hempstead....

 and East Garden City. The South Westbury section is also (appropriately) known as Salisbury.

Thoroughbred racing in the United States


In 1665, the first racetrack was constructed on Long Island. It is the oldest thoroughbred race in North America. The American Stud Book
American Stud Book
The American Stud Book is the stud book for the Thoroughbred horse in the United States. It was founded by Sanders Bruce, with assistance from his brother B. G. Bruce...

 was started in 1868, prompting the beginning of organized horse racing in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. There were 314 tracks operating in the United States by 1890; and in 1894, the American Jockey Club was formed. The anti-gambling sentiment prevalent in the early 20th century led almost all states to ban bookmaking. Bookmaking is the process of taking bets, calculating odds, and paying out winnings. This nearly eliminated horse racing altogether. When parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the "house-take" or "vig" is removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets...

 was introduced in 1908, the racing industry turned around. Horse racing flourished until World War II. The sport did not regain popularity in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 until horses began to win the Triple Crown
United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
In the United States, the "Triple Crown" is usually the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, a series of three Thoroughbred horse races for three-year-old horses run in May and early June of each year consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.While Daily Racing Form...

. The Triple Crown is a series of three races, consisting of the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter mile at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry...

, the Preakness Stakes
Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes is an American flat Thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of 9.5 furlongs on dirt. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds ; fillies 121 lb...

, and the Belmont Stakes
Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile horse race, open to three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds ; fillies carry 121 pounds...

.

Endurance racing


Endurance racing
Endurance riding
Endurance riding is an equestrian sport based on controlled long-distance races. It is one of the international competitions recognized by the FEI. There are endurance rides worldwide....

 began in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 around 1955, and the first race marked the beginning of the Tevis Cup
Tevis Cup
The Western States Trail Ride, popularly called The Tevis Cup, is a 100-mile endurance ride. The amateur event has been held annually since 1955....

 This race was a one-hundred-mile, one-day-long ride starting in Squaw Valley, Placer County, and ending in Auburn
Auburn, California
Auburn is the county seat of Placer County, California. Its population at the 2010 census was 13,330. Auburn is known for its California Gold Rush history.Auburn is part of the Greater Sacramento area.- History :...

. Founded in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was the first national endurance riding association.

Quarter horse racing


The first records of Quarter Horse
American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other breeds of horses in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph...

 races dated back to 1674 in Henrico County, Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. Each race consisted of only two horses and they raced down the village streets and lanes.
The Quarter Horse
American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other breeds of horses in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph...

 received its name due to the length of the race. The races were indeed "a quarter" of a mile, or 400 meters. The breed of horse was developed so they could get off to a quick start, and win the race.

Major racetracks


Major horse racetracks in the U.S. were opened
  • at Fair Grounds, Fair Grounds, New Orleans in 1853;
  • at Saratoga Race Course
    Saratoga Race Course
    Saratoga Race Course is a Thoroughbred horse racing track in Saratoga Springs, New York, United States. It opened on August 3, 1863, and is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States. It is typically open for racing from late July through early September.-History:John...

    , Saratoga Springs, New York
    Saratoga Springs, New York
    Saratoga Springs, also known as simply Saratoga, is a city in Saratoga County, New York, United States. The population was 26,586 at the 2010 census. The name reflects the presence of mineral springs in the area. While the word "Saratoga" is known to be a corruption of a Native American name, ...

     in 1863;
  • at Pimlico Race Course
    Pimlico Race Course
    Pimlico Race Course is a horse racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland, most famous for hosting the Preakness Stakes. Its name is derived from the 1660s when English settlers named the area where the facility currently stands in honor of Olde Ben Pimlico's Tavern in London...

    , Baltimore, Maryland
    Baltimore
    Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

     in 1870;
  • at Monmouth Park Racetrack
    Monmouth Park Racetrack
    Monmouth Park Racetrack is an American race track for thoroughbred horse racing in Oceanport, New Jersey. It is owned by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and is operated under a five-year lease as a partnership with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.Monmouth Park's marquee event...

    , Oceanport, New Jersey, opened in 1870;
  • at Churchill Downs
    Churchill Downs
    Churchill Downs, located in Central Avenue in south Louisville, Kentucky, United States, is a Thoroughbred racetrack most famous for hosting the Kentucky Derby annually. It officially opened in 1875, and held the first Kentucky Derby and the first Kentucky Oaks in the same year. Churchill Downs...

    , Louisville, Kentucky
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

    , opened in 1875;
  • at Aqueduct Racetrack
    Aqueduct Racetrack
    Aqueduct Racetrack is a thoroughbred horse-racing facility and racino in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. Its racing meets usually are from late October/early November through April.-History:...

    , Ozone Park, New York, (Borough of Queens) in 1894;
  • at Belmont Park
    Belmont Park
    Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, New York, on Long Island adjoining New York City. It first opened on May 4, 1905...

    , Elmont, New York
    Elmont, New York
    Elmont is an unincorporated census-designated place located in the northwest corner of the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, New York, along its border with the borough of Queens in New York City...

    , (just outside New York City on Long Island) in 1905;
  • at Fairmount Park Racetrack
    Fairmount Park Racetrack
    Fairmount Park Racetrack is a horse racing track in Collinsville, Illinois, a part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The track hosts Thoroughbred flat racing. It is one of five horse racing venues currently active in Illinois, and the only one outside the Chicago, Illinois metro area...

    , Collinsville, Illinois
    Collinsville, Illinois
    Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 26,016. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area...

     in 1925;
  • at Hialeah Park Race Track
    Hialeah Park Race Track
    The Hialeah Park Race Track is a historic site in Hialeah, Florida. Its site covers 40 square blocks of central-east side Hialeah from Palm Avenue east to East 4th Avenue, and from East 22nd Street on the south to East 32nd Street on the north. On March 5, 1979, it was added to the U.S...

    , Hialeah, Florida
    Hialeah, Florida
    Hialeah is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 226,419. As of 2009, the population estimate by the U. S...

     in 1925;
  • at Santa Anita Park
    Santa Anita Park
    Santa Anita Park is a thoroughbred racetrack in Arcadia, California, United States. It offers some of the prominent racing events in the United States during the winter and in spring. With its backdrop of the purple San Gabriel Mountains, it is considered by many as the world's most beautiful race...

    , in the San Gabriel Valley
    San Gabriel Valley
    The San Gabriel Valley is one of the principal valleys of Southern California, United States. It lies to the east of Los Angeles, to the north of the Puente Hills, to the south of the San Gabriel Mountains, and west of the Inland Empire. It derives its name from the San Gabriel River that flows...

     community of Arcadia, California
    Arcadia, California
    Arcadia is an affluent city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and located approximately northeast of downtown Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley and at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains....

    , in the Los Angeles
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

     area, in 1934;
  • at Keeneland
    Keeneland
    Keeneland is a Thoroughbred horse racing facility and sales complex in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Operated by the Keeneland Association, Inc., it is also known for its reference library on the sport, which contains more than 10,000 volumes, an extensive videocassette collection, and a substantial...

     Race Course, Lexington, Kentucky, in 1936;
  • at Del Mar Racetrack
    Del Mar Racetrack
    Del Mar Racetrack is an American Thoroughbred horse racing track at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the seaside city of Del Mar, California, 20 miles north of San Diego. Operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, it is known for the slogan: "Where The Turf Meets The Surf." It was built by a partnership...

    , Del Mar, California, in 1937;
  • at Hollywood Park Racetrack, Inglewood, California, in 1938.


Belmont Park is part of 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.

In March 2009, Magna Entertainment Corp., the owner of Pimlico Race Course, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after defaulting on a US$40 million loan.

The latest major horse track opened in the US was the Meadowlands Racetrack
Meadowlands Racetrack
The Meadowlands Racetrack is a horse racing track at the MetLife Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States.The track hosts both thoroughbred racing and harness racing...

 opened in 1977 for Thoroughbred racing. It is the home of the Meadowlands Cup.

Thoroughbred horse racing in the United States has its own Hall of Fame
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame was founded in 1950 in Saratoga Springs, New York, to honor the achievements of American thoroughbred race horses, jockeys, and trainers...

 in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Hall of Fame honors remarkable horses, jockey
Jockey
A jockey is an athlete who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing.-Etymology:...

s, owners and trainers.

Types of racing


In the United States, Thoroughbred flat races are run on surfaces of either dirt, synthetic or turf; other tracks offer Quarter Horse
American Quarter Horse
The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. Its name came from its ability to outdistance other breeds of horses in races of a quarter mile or less; some individuals have been clocked at speeds up to 55 mph...

 racing and Standardbred horse
Standardbred horse
Standardbreds are a breed of horse best known for their ability to race in harness at a trot or pace instead of under saddle at a gallop. Developed in North America, the breed is now recognized worldwide for its harness racing ability...

 racing, or combinations of these three types of racing surfaces. Racing with 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 furlong (0.625001553431842 mi; 1 km); with this in mind, breeders of Thoroughbred race horses attempt to breed horses that excel at a particular distance (see Dosage Index
Dosage Index
The Dosage Index is a mathematical figure used by breeders of Thoroughbred race horses, and sometimes by bettors handicapping horse races, to quantify a horse's ability, or inability, to negotiate the various distances at which horse races are run...

).

The racetrack at the Alameda County Fair grounds is the oldest horse racing track in America, dating back to 1858. It is in fact, older than New York’s famous Saratoga racetrack. The sons of Spaniard Don Agustin Bernal constructed it, and wealthy horse owners shipped their horses from the east to Pleasanton for training during the winter months.

Endurance racing



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 150 miles (241.4 km) in multiple days). Because each race is very long, trails of natural terrain are generally used.

Arabian horse



The Arabian horse was developed by the Bedouin people of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far 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.

They must be able to withstand traveling long distances at a moderate pace. Arabians have an abundance of Type I fibers. Their muscles are able 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
Endurance racing
Endurance racing is a form of motorsport racing which is meant to test the durability of equipment and endurance of participants. Teams of multiple drivers attempt to cover a large distance in a single event, with participants given a break with the ability to change during the race...

, but is also raced over traditional race tracks over longer distances than Thoroughbreds, in some cases up to 2-1/2 miles.

Quarter Horse



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 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
American Quarter Horse Association
The American Quarter Horse Association , based in Amarillo, Texas, is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse. The association sanctions many competitive events and maintains the official registry...

 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 much less suitable for endurance racing. They also have more Type IIb 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 yards (795.5 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.

Important races


The traditional high point of US horse racing is the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter mile at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry...

. Together, the Derby, the Preakness Stakes
Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes is an American flat Thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of 9.5 furlongs on dirt. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds ; fillies 121 lb...

 run at Pimlico Race Course
Pimlico Race Course
Pimlico Race Course is a horse racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland, most famous for hosting the Preakness Stakes. Its name is derived from the 1660s when English settlers named the area where the facility currently stands in honor of Olde Ben Pimlico's Tavern in London...

 in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, and the Belmont Stakes
Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile horse race, open to three year old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds ; fillies carry 121 pounds...

 held at Belmont Park
Belmont Park
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, New York, on Long Island adjoining New York City. It first opened on May 4, 1905...

 on Long Island, form the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse...

 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
Breeders' Cup
The Breeders' Cup World Championships is an annual series of Thoroughbred horse races, most but not all Grade I, operated by Breeders' Cup Limited, a company formed in 1982. From its inception in 1984 through 2006, it was a single-day event; starting in 2007, it expanded to two days. The location...

 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 held at a different track every year; the 2008 edition was held at Santa Anita. It also has an important effect on the selection of other annual Champions. The corresponding Standardbred event is the Breeders' Crown. There are also a Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers
Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers
The Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers consists of the following horse races:#Cane Pace, held at Freehold Raceway in Freehold, New Jersey#Little Brown Jug, held at the Delaware County Fair in Delaware, Ohio...

 and a Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters
Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters
The Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters consists of the following horse races:*Hambletonian, held at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey*Yonkers Trot, held at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York...

, as well as an Arabian Triple Crown consisting of Drinkers of the Wind Derby in California, the Texas Six Shooter Stakes, and the Bob Magness Derby in Delaware.

Thoroughbred and Arabian fillies have their own "Triple" series, commonly referred to as The Triple Tiara. While there is some disagreement over which three races make up the Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing
Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing
The Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing, formerly known as the Filly Triple Crown, is a set of three horse races in the United States which is open to three year old fillies...

, the Arabian list is more formal and consists of Daughters of the Desert Oaks in California, the Texas Yellow Rose Stakes, and the Cre Run Oaks in Delaware.

Betting


American betting on horse racing is sanctioned and regulated by the state the racetrack is located in. Simulcast betting almost always exist across state lines with no 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. On average, 17 percent is withheld from win, place and show pools, with 83 percent being returned to the winning players.

Canada


The most famous horse from Canada is generally considered to be Northern Dancer
Northern Dancer
Northern Dancer was a Canadian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse and the most successful sire of the 20th Century. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association calls him "one of the most influential sires in Thoroughbred history"....

, who after winning the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter mile at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry...

, Preakness and Queen's Plate in 1964 went on to become the most successful Thoroughbred sire of the 20th 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
Nijinsky II
The racehorse Nijinsky was one of the greatest horses in Thoroughbred horse-racing history. He won the U.K. Triple Crown of racing. Retired to stud he became the Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland and the Leading broodmare sire in North America.He was bred at E. P...

, who is the last horse to win the English Triple Crown
Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse...

. Woodbine Racetrack
Woodbine Racetrack
Woodbine Racetrack is a Canadian racetrack for Thoroughbred horse races located at 555 Rexdale Blvd. in the city of Toronto, Ontario. It is the only horseracing track in North America which stages, or is capable of staging, thoroughbred and standardbred horseracing programs on the same day...

 in Toronto, home of the Queen's Plate
Queen's Plate
The Queen's Plate is Canada's oldest thoroughbred horse race. It is run at a distance of 1¼ miles for 3-year-old thoroughbred horses foaled in Canada. The race takes place each summer in June or July at Woodbine Racetrack, Etobicoke , Ontario...

, Canada's premier Thoroughbred stakes race, and the North America Cup
North America Cup
The North America Cup is an annual harness racing event for 3-year-old standardbred pacing horses which is held at Mohawk Raceway in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. From 1984-1993, the event was held at Greenwood Raceway and from 1994-2006, the North America Cup was held at Woodbine Entertainment...

, Canada's premier Standardbred stakes race, is the only race track in North America which stages Thoroughbred and Standardbred (harness) meetings on the same day. The Pattison Canadian International has the largest purse of any Canadian horse race.

Ireland


Ireland has a rich history of horse racing; point to pointing originated there and even today, jump racing (National Hunt racing
National Hunt racing
National Hunt racing is the official name given to the sport of horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland in which the horses are required to jump over obstacles called hurdles or fences...

) 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
Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious meetings in the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom, and has race prize money second only to the Grand National...

, 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, Coolmore Stud
Coolmore Stud
Coolmore Stud, in Fethard, South Tipperary in Ireland, is the world's largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses. It was established in 1975....

, has its main farm there (in addition to major operations in the U.S. and Australia). Notable Irish trainers include Dermot Weld
Dermot Weld
Dermot K. Weld is one of Ireland's most successful racehorse trainers. He holds the record for the most winners trained in Ireland ....

, John Oxx
John Oxx
John M. Oxx is a trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. His stables are located on "The Curragh" of Kildare, the stables are named Currabeg Stables. His father, John Oxx Sr., was also a very successful trainer who won eight Irish classics and it was the younger Oxx's ambition to follow in his...

 and Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien
Aidan Patrick O'Brien is an Irish horse racing trainer. Since 1996, he has been the private trainer at Ballydoyle Stables near Cashel in County Tipperary for John Magnier and his Coolmore Stud associates....

. Notable jockeys include Kieren Fallon
Kieren Fallon
Kieren Francis Fallon is a professional flat racing jockey and has been British Champion Jockey six times....

, Michael Kinane
Michael Kinane
Michael J. Kinane is a former flat racing jockey. He had a 34-year career, retiring on 8 December 2009....

, Johnny Murtagh
Johnny Murtagh
Johnny Murtagh is a Irish flat racing jockey from Bohermeen, Navan, County Meath.He excels on the big stage, having won many Group 1 races around the world...

, Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh is the reigning Irish National Hunt champion jockey. He is the second child, and eldest son, of former champion amateur jockey Ted Walsh and his wife Helen.-Success:...

 and Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy
Anthony Peter McCoy OBE , commonly known as A. P. McCoy or Tony McCoy, is a Northern Irish horse racing jockey....

. The multiple Gold Cup
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles and 2½ furlongs , and during its running there are twenty-two fences to be jumped...

 winner Best Mate
Best Mate
Best Mate was a famous English trained racehorse and three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup...

 also hails from Ireland, while the great Red Rum
Red Rum
Red Rum was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse who achieved an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also came second in the two intervening years...

 was bred there, before moving across the Irish Sea
Irish Sea
The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain. It is connected to the Celtic Sea in the south by St George's Channel, and to the Atlantic Ocean in the north by the North Channel. Anglesey is the largest island within the Irish Sea, followed by the Isle of Man...

 to be trained. Arkle
Arkle
Arkle was a famous Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. A bay gelding by Archive out of Bright Cherry, his grandsire was the unbeaten flat racehorse and prepotent sire Nearco. Arkle was bred at Ballymacoll Stud, County Meath by Mrs. Mary Alison Baker of Malahow House, near Naul, County Dublin...

, rated the greatest steeplechaser of all time, was bred and trained in Ireland and became a national hero through his exploits. The legendary racemare Dawn Run
Dawn Run
Dawn Run was a Thoroughbred racehorse who was the most successful racemare in the history of National Hunt racing. She won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham racing festival in 1984 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup over fences at the festival in 1986. Dawn Run was the only racehorse to have...

 was another famous Irish champion. Vincent O'Brien
Vincent O'Brien
Dr. Michael Vincent O'Brien was an Irish race horse trainer from Churchtown, County Cork, Ireland. In 2003 he was voted the greatest influence in horse racing history, according to a worldwide vote hosted by the Racing Post newspaper...

 who trained horses at Ballydoyle
Ballydoyle
Ballydoyle is a racehorse training facility located in County Tipperary in Ireland. It is a sister thoroughbred facility to Coolmore Stud, and both are owned by John Magnier...

 in Tipperary, was one of the most successful trainers of all time, in both National Hunt racing and on the flat. Champion racehorses trained by Vincent O'Brien on the flat include Nijinsky II
Nijinsky II
The racehorse Nijinsky was one of the greatest horses in Thoroughbred horse-racing history. He won the U.K. Triple Crown of racing. Retired to stud he became the Leading sire in Great Britain & Ireland and the Leading broodmare sire in North America.He was bred at E. P...

, Sir Ivor
Sir Ivor
Sir Ivor was an American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who competed from a base in Ireland. Owned by American businessman and U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Raymond R...

, Ballymoss
Ballymoss
Ballymoss was an Irish Thoroughbred Champion racehorse. The son of Mossborough, his grandsire was the extremely important Nearco. Out of the mare Indian call, the damsire of Ballymoss was Singapore whose sire was the 1918 U.K. Triple Crown winner Gainsborough.Ballymoss was sold by his breeder at...

, Alleged
Alleged (horse)
Alleged was a champion American-bred Thoroughbred racehorse best remembered as winning back-to-back Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes in 1977 and 1978. Trained by Vincent O'Brien in Ireland and ridden by Lester Piggott, this front-running horse was undefeated in all but one of his appearances, that being...

, The Minstrel
The Minstrel
The Minstrel was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse in Great Britain and Ireland. His performances led to him becoming the Horse of the Year in the United Kingdom, Horse of the Year in Ireland and being inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.Foaled at E.P...

 and El Gran Senor
El Gran Senor
El Gran Senor was an American-bred Thoroughbred race horse, foaled at Windfields Farm in Maryland.An outstanding two-year-old who went on to win European classics over a mile and over 12 furlongs, El Gran Senor received a Timeform rated 136...

.

France


France has a mature horse racing industry. The race with the largest international following is the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe is a Group 1 flat horse race in France which is open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Longchamp over a distance of 2,400 metres , and it is scheduled to take place each year, usually on the first Sunday in October.Popularly referred to as the...

 held at Longchamp Racecourse, with a prize of 4 million Euro (approx US$5.2 million), making it the richest race in Europe and the second richest turf race in the world after the Japan Cup. It is run on the 1st Sunday in October. The Grand Prix de Paris
Grand Prix de Paris
The Grand Prix de Paris is a Group 1 flat horse race in France open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Longchamp over a distance of 2,400 metres , and it is scheduled to take place each year in July.-History:...

 is also held at Longchamp but is run in mid July. The other two French Classic Races
French Classic Races
In France, the Classics of horse racing are a series of Group One Thoroughbred horse races run annually on the flat. The four races are organized by France Galop.The Prix de Diane is restricted to filles....

 are Prix du Jockey Club
Prix du Jockey Club
The Prix du Jockey Club, sometimes referred to as the French Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in France open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies...

 (the French Derby
Derby (horse race)
A derby is a type of horse race, named after the Derby Stakes, still run at Epsom Downs Racecourse in England. That was in turn named for Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby, who inaugurated the race in 1780...

) and the Prix de Diane
Prix de Diane
The Prix de Diane, sometimes referred to as the French Oaks, is a Group 1 flat horse race in France open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies...

 both held in June at Chantilly Racecourse
Chantilly Racecourse
Chantilly Racecourse is a Thoroughbred turf racecourse for flat racing in Chantilly, Oise, France, about north of the centre of the city of Paris....

.

Hungary


Hungary has a mature horse racing tradition. The first horse racing in Pest was noted 6th of June, 1827. Kincsem
Kincsem
Kincsem was the most successful Thoroughbred race horse ever, having won 54 races for 54 starts. Foaled in Tápiószentmárton, Hungary in 1874, she is a national icon, and is revered in other parts of the world, too...

 born in 1874 and was the most successful Thoroughbred race horse ever, having won 54 races for 54 starts. Foaled in Tápiószentmárton, Hungary in 1874, she is a national icon, and is revered in other parts of the world, too. Over four seasons she won all her races against both female and male company at various race tracks across Europe, a record that's still unbeaten.

Overdose
Overdose (horse)
Overdose is a Hungarian Thoroughbred racehorse. As of August 2010, he won all but 3 of his 18 races.-Breeding:...

 started his racing career in 2007, and won his first 12 races. In mid-2009 one of his hooves got inflamed, which brought his whole career in danger. His recovery lasted more than a year, until he could finally return to racing in July 2010. He won two of his three races since his return, thus his career record currently stands at 14 victories.

Italy


The Palio di Siena
Palio di Siena
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy...

 (known locally as Il Palio), the most famous palio
Palio
The oldest extant palio is the Palio di Asti, but the Palio di Siena is better known internationally. There are many other palios that are held throughout the various regions of Italy. Here follows an incomplete list:-Tuscany:...

 in Italy, is a horse race held twice each year on July 2 and August 16 in Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

, in which the horse and rider represent one of the seventeen Contrade, or city wards. A magnificent pageant precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.

Great Britain


In Great Britain, there are races which involve obstacles (either hurdles or fences) called National Hunt racing
National Hunt racing
National Hunt racing is the official name given to the sport of horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland in which the horses are required to jump over obstacles called hurdles or fences...

 and those which are unobstructed races over a given distance (flat racing
Flat racing
Flat racing is a form of Thoroughbred horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. It differs from steeplechase racing which is run over hurdles...

). Many of the sport's greatest jockeys, most notably Sir Gordon Richards
Gordon Richards
Sir Gordon Richards was an English jockey, and is often considered the world's greatest ever jockey. He remains the only jockey to have been knighted....

 have been British. British racing has rules that stop the jockey using the whip too much, such as: they are not allowed to raise their whip over their shoulder so stopping them hitting the horse too hard.

Races are not referred to as Race 1, Race 2, etc., but by the starting time. For instance, the "1:35" or the "3:10". Each race may also have a name, which may include a sponsor's name, associated with it. The sport is regulated by the British Horseracing Authority
British Horseracing Authority
The British Horseracing Authority, also known simply as the BHA, is the regulatory authority for horse racing in Great Britain.It was formed on 31 July 2007, after the merger of the British Horseracing Board and the Horseracing Regulatory Authority .Its stated objectives are to: “provide the most...

.

Poland


Poland has a mature horse racing tradition. First horse racing was noted in 1777 when horse of Polish noble Kazimierz Rzewuski win with horse of englisch chargé d'affaires
Chargé d'affaires
In diplomacy, chargé d’affaires , often shortened to simply chargé, is the title of two classes of diplomatic agents who head a diplomatic mission, either on a temporary basis or when no more senior diplomat has been accredited.-Chargés d’affaires:Chargés d’affaires , who were...

 sir Charles Whitworth
Charles Whitworth, 1st Earl Whitworth
Charles Whitworth, 1st Earl Whitworth GCB, PC , known as The Lord Whitworth between 1800 and 1813 and as The Viscount Whitworth between 1813 and 1815, was a British diplomat and politician.-Early years:...

 on the road from Wola
Wola
Wola is a district in western Warsaw, Poland, formerly the village of Wielka Wola, incorporated into Warsaw in 1916. An industrial area with traditions reaching back to the early 19th century, it is slowly changing into an office and residential district...

 to Ujazdów Castle
Ujazdów Castle
Ujazdów Castle is a castle in the historic Ujazdów district, between Ujazdów Park and the Royal Baths Park , in Warsaw, Poland.-History:...

. The first regular horse racing was organized in 1841 on Mokotów Fields in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 by "Towarzystwo Wyścigów Konnych i Wystawy Zwierząt Gospodarskich w Królestwie Polskim" (eng "Society of Horse Racing in Congress Poland").

Australia



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
Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race. Marketed as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races...

, the so-called 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
Phar Lap
Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia. Phar Lap dominated Australian racing during a distinguished career, winning a Melbourne...

 (bred in New Zealand), who raced from 1928 to 1932. Phar Lap carried to win the 1930 Melbourne Cup. Australian steeplechase
Steeplechase
Steeplechase may refer to:* Steeplechase, an event in horse racing* SteepleChase, a Danish jazz label* Steeplechase , a 1975 arcade game released by Atari...

r Crisp
Crisp (horse)
Crisp was a champion steeplechase horse. He was a bay Thoroughbred gelding that was foaled in 1963 in Australia. In his native country, he won many important jumping races, particularly two-milers, including the Hiskens Steeplechase in 1969 and 1970. So well did he jump, he was nicknamed "The Black...

 is remembered for his battle with Irish champion Red Rum
Red Rum
Red Rum was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse who achieved an unmatched historic treble when he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also came second in the two intervening years...

 in the 1973 Grand National
Grand National
The Grand National is a world-famous National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of four miles and 856 yards , with horses jumping thirty fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course...

. In 2003–2005 the mare Makybe Diva
Makybe Diva
Makybe Diva is a British-bred, Australian-trained Thoroughbred who became the first racehorse to win the famed Melbourne Cup on three occasions: 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2005, she also won the Cox Plate. Makybe Diva is the highest stakes-earner in Australasian horse racing history, with winnings...

 (bred in the United Kingdom) became the only racehorse to ever win the Melbourne Cup
Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race. Marketed as "the race that stops a nation", it is a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races...

 three times, let alone in consecutive years. In harness racing
Harness racing
Harness racing is a form of horse racing in which the horses race at a specific gait . They usually pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky, although racing under saddle is also conducted in Europe.-Breeds:...

, Cane Smoke had 120 wins, including 34 in a single season, Paleface Adios
Paleface Adios
Paleface Adios was an Australian harness racing horse which competed as a pacer throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He raced from 1972 to 1981, when there was top competition from the likes of the Hondo Grattan, Robalan and Pure Steel.He was a chestnut Standardbred pacer with a white blaze and...

 became a household name during the 1970s, while Cardigan Bay
Cardigan Bay (horse)
Cardigan Bay was a New Zealand Harness racing horse foaled 1 September 1956. Affectionately known as "Cardy", he was the first Standardbred to win US$1 million in prize money in North America. He was the ninth horse worldwide to win one million dollars,...

, 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
Blacks A Fake
Blacks A Fake is a brown Standardbred gelding that won the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 Inter Dominion Championships, making him the only four-time winner of Australasia's premier harness race. He finished second, beaten by a long neck, in the 2009 Inter Dominion to Mr Feelgood...

 has won four Inter Dominion
Inter Dominion
The Inter Dominion is a harness racing competition that has been contested since 1936 in Australia and New Zealand. The host of the series is rotated between the six harness racing states of Australia and the North and South Islands of New Zealand...

 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
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. 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
Shahzada
Shahzada may refer to:*Shahzada, princely title, crown prince, the son of a shah.*Haji Shahzada , one of the Guantanamo captives whose 2004 CSR Tribunal determined he was not an enemy after all....

 400 km Memorial Test which is conducted over five days travelling 80 kilometres a day at St Albans on the Hawkesbury River
Hawkesbury River
The Hawkesbury River, also known as Deerubbun, is one of the major rivers of the coastal region of New South Wales, Australia. The Hawkesbury River and its tributaries virtually encircle the metropolitan region of Sydney.-Geography:-Course:...

, New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. 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.

New Zealand



Racing is a long-established sport in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, 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
Cardigan Bay (horse)
Cardigan Bay was a New Zealand Harness racing horse foaled 1 September 1956. Affectionately known as "Cardy", he was the first Standardbred to win US$1 million in prize money in North America. He was the ninth horse worldwide to win one million dollars,...

, Carbine
Carbine (horse)
Carbine , was an outstanding New Zealand bred Thoroughbred racehorse, who competed in New Zealand and later Australia. During his racing career he won 30 stakes or principal races...

, Nightmarch
Nightmarch
Nightmarch, foaled in 1925 was an outstanding New Zealand bred Thoroughbred racehorse known as The Kiwi. He won the New Zealand Derby and Dunedin Cup as a three-year-old before going to Australia where he became the first horse to win both the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate in the same year, as well...

, Sunline
Sunline
Sunline was a New Zealand bred Thoroughbred racehorse who was the world's highest earning racemare of her time, competing on 48 occasions for 32 wins, 9 seconds and 3 thirds to earn A$11,351,607. She won races in three different countries, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. She won successive...

, Desert Gold
Desert Gold
Desert Gold was a famous and successful New Zealand Thoroughbred racehorse who raced at the time of World War I. She raced in Australia and New Zealand, winning 36 races, including a still-standing record of 19 in succession ....

 and Rising Fast
Rising Fast
Rising Fast was an outstanding New Zealand-bred Thoroughbred racehorse. In 1954 he became the only horse in history to win the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate races in the same season - the Spring Grand Slam - and since that time no Melbourne Cup winner has performed such a feat...

. Phar Lap
Phar Lap
Phar Lap was a champion Thoroughbred racehorse whose achievements captured the public's imagination during the early years of the Great Depression. Foaled in New Zealand, he was trained and raced in Australia. Phar Lap dominated Australian racing during a distinguished career, winning a Melbourne...

 and Tulloch
Tulloch
-United States:*Lake Tulloch, California*Tulloch Lake, New Mexico*Tulloch Mountain, California*Tulloch Peak, New Mexico-Transport:*Tulloch railway station, a railway station in the Highland region of Scotland...

 were both bred in New Zealand but did not race there. The most famous of these is probably Cardigan Bay. Stanley Dancer
Stanley Dancer
Stanley Franklin Dancer was an American harness racing driver and trainer. He was the only horsemen to drive and train three Triple Crowns in horse racing. In total, he drove 23 Triple Crown winners. He was the first trainer to campaign a horse to $1 million in a career, Cardigan Bay in 1968 and...

 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.

Mauritius


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
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

. The Mauritius Turf Club is the third oldest active turf club in the world.

Undeniably, racing is one of the most popular sports in Mauritius
Mauritius
Mauritius , officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation off the southeast coast of the African continent in the southwest Indian Ocean, about east of Madagascar...

 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.

Most of the horses are imported from South Africa but some are also acquired from Australia, the United Kingdom and France.

South Africa


Horse racing is a popular sport in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 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
National Horseracing Authority
The National Horseracing Authority of Southern Africa, formerly the Jockey Club of Southern Africa, is the Southern African equivalent of the American and British Jockey Clubs. The name change came into effect on 19 January 2004...

 and was founded in 1882. The premier event, which attracts 50,000 people to Durban, is the Durban July Handicap
Durban July Handicap
The Durban July Handicap is a South African Thoroughbred horse race held annually on the first Saturday of July since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Raced on turf, the Durban July Handicap is open to horses of all ages. It is South Africa's premier horse racing event and...

, which has been run since 1897 at Greyville Racecourse
Greyville Racecourse
Greyville Racecourse is a Thoroughbred race track in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The 2,800 metre pear-shaped track consists of several gradient features: it is run uphill from the 2,400 metre mark to the 1,800 metre mark, after which it slopes gently downward for...

. 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
Turffontein Racecourse
Turffontein Racecourse is a race track in South Africa for Thoroughbred horse racing founded in 1887 at Turffontein, Gauteng by the Johannesburg Turf Club...

 in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, and The J & B Met, which is held at Kenilworth race track in Cape Town
Cape Town
Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality...

.

Hong Kong



The British tradition of horse racing left its mark as 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
Happy Valley Racecourse
Happy Valley Racecourse is one of the two racecourses for horse racing in Hong Kong. It is located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island, surrounded by Wong Nai Chung Road and Morrison Hill Road.-History:...

 and Sha Tin
Sha Tin Racecourse
Sha Tin Racecourse is one of the two racecourses for horse racing in Hong Kong. It is located in Sha Tin in the New Territories. It is managed by Hong Kong Jockey Club.Penfold Park is encircled by the track.-History:...

. The sport annually draws millions of dollars of tax revenue. Off-track betting is available from overseas bookmakers.

Mainland China


Professional horse racing came with the British aristocracy to China in the middle 1800's and most notably centered around The Shanghai Race Club
Shanghai Race Club
The Shanghai Race Club was the original horse racing organization for Shanghai, China.When the first horse race meeting in Shanghai took place during 1848 the Shanghai Race Club was known as the Race Committee of the Shanghai Recreation Club. In 1855 it became a Club. In 1862 it detached itself...

 - the Mainland China racing club and racecourse centered in Shanghai. The Shanghai Race Club continues today as a social racing club for wealthy Mainland Chinese race horse owners competing in international races. The former Shanghai Racecourse is now the The People Square and the former Club building is now the Shanghai Art Museum.
Shanghai Art Museum
The Shanghai Art Museum is an art museum in the city of Shanghai, China. It is located in the former clubhouse building of the Today, it is the home of the Shanghai biennial and stands adjacent to People's Square...



Professional racecourses in Mainland China operating in 2011 include Wuhan Racecourse, Nanjing Racecourse and Nine Dragons Hill Racecourse.

Horse racing was banned in the People’s Republic of China in 1949, but reappeared on a small scale in the 1990s. In 2008, the China Speed Horse Race Open in Wuhan was organized as a step towards legalizing both horse racing and gambling on the races.

2011 China ends 60-year horse racing ban - Reuters

It was announced at 2011 that Darley will send two studs to China to support Thoroughbred industry.

Malaysia


In Malaysia, horse racing was introduced during the British colonial era and remained until today as gaming activities. There are three race courses in Malaysia, namely Penang Turf Club
Penang Turf Club
Penang Turf Club is a major horse racing course in Penang, Malaysia which was established in 1864. In addition to racing, the club also provides equestrian facilities and a golf course....

http://www.penangturfclub.com/, Perak Turf Club and Selangor Turf Club
Selangor Turf Club
The Selangor Turf Club is the major horse racing course in Klang Valley, Selangor, Malaysia. The main race course is located at Sungai Besi, 17 km from Kuala Lumpur city centre.-Horse racing:...

 http://www.selangorturfclub.com/. Horse racing is a legal form of gambling within the Turf Club and betting is only available in the turf club. Racing in Malaysia and Singapore is conducted and governed under the Rules of the Malayan Racing Associationhttp://www.malayan-racing.com. Horse racing gambling in Malaysia is operated and organized by Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn Bhdhttp://www.damacai.com.my/

Singapore


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 till this date. Races are typically held on Friday evenings and Sundays at the Singapore Turf Club
Singapore Turf Club
The Singapore Turf Club was founded in 1842 as the Singapore Sporting Club to operate the Serangoon Road Race Course at Farrer Park.It is today the only horse-racing club in Singapore and is part of the Malayan Racing Association, which also regulates the three Turf Clubs in Malaysia, the Selangor...

 in Kranji. Horse racing has also left its mark in the naming of roads in Singapore such as Race Course Road in Little India
Little India, Singapore
Little India is an ethnic neighbourhood found in Singapore that has Tamil cultural elements. Little India lies to east of the Singapore River—across from Chinatown, located west of the river—and north of Kampong Glam. Both areas are part of the urban planning area of Rochor...

 where horse racing was first held in Singapore and Turf Club Road in Bukit Timah
Bukit Timah
Bukit Timah is an area in Singapore and a hill in that area. Bukit Timah is located near the centre of the Singapore main island. The hill stands at an altitude of 163.63 metres and is the highest point in the city-state of Singapore...

 where Singapore Turf Club used to be before moving to its current location in 1999.

India


In India, four Turf Authorities conduct horse racing. The Mahalaxmi Racecourse
Mahalaxmi Racecourse
The Mahalaxmi Racecourse is a horse racing track in Mahalaxmi neighbourhood, of Mumbai. The track is oval shaped with 2400 m straight chute, spread over approx. of open land in the heart of Mumbai city. It was created out of a marshy land known as Mahalakshmi Flats. Built in 1883 and modelled on...

 in Mumbai conducts horse racing from November to April.

Japan



Japan conducts more than 21,000 horse races a year in one of three types: flat racing, jump racing (races over hurdles), and Ban'ei Racing (also called Draft Racing).

There are a total of thirty racetracks in Japan. Ten of these tracks are known as "central tracks", where most of Japan's top races are conducted. Races at these ten tracks are conducted by the Japan Racing Association
Japan Racing Association
The Japan Racing Association is a public company established to operate Chūō Keiba and to manage racecourses, betting facilities, and horse-training facilities....

 (JRA), which operates under the oversight of the Japanese government. The remaining twenty tracks are operated by municipal racing authorities and run under the affiliation of the National Association of Racing
National Association of Racing
The National Association of Racing is a public company established to operate Chiho Keiba .There are two horse racing organizations in Japan, Japan Racing Association and NAR.- Racetrack :...

 (NAR). Two tracks, Sapporo Racecourse
Sapporo Racecourse
is located in Sapporo, Japan. It is used for horse racing. It was built in 1907.-Notable races :- External links :*...

 and Chukyo Racecourse
Chukyo Racecourse
is located in Toyoake, Aichi, Japan. It is used for horse racing. It was built in 1994. It has a capacity of 58,400. It has 8,795 seats.-Physical attributes:Chukyo Racecourse has a grass courses, a dirt course.The turf's measures 1600m...

, run separate meetings under either JRA or NAR jurisdiction.

The JRA purse structure is one of the richest in the world. , a typical JRA maiden race for three year olds carries a purse of ¥9.55 million (about US$112,000), with ¥5 million (about US$59,000) paid to the winner. Purses for graded stakes races begin at ¥74.6 million (about US$882,000).

Japan's top stakes races are run in the spring and autumn. The country's most prominent race is the Grade 1 Japan Cup
Japan Cup
The is the most prestigious horse race run in Japan. It is contested at the end of November at Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Tokyo at a distance of 2400 meters over the grass. With a purse of ¥476 million , the Japan Cup is one of the richest races in the world.The Japan Cup is an invitational event...

, a 2,400 m (about 1½ mile) invitational grass race run every November at Tokyo Racecourse
Tokyo Racecourse
is located in Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan. Built in 1933 for horse racing, it is considered the "racecourse of racecourses" in Japanese horseracing. It has 13,750 seats, with a capacity of 223,000....

 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
February Stakes
The is a Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for four-year-old and above thoroughbreds. It is run over a distance of 1,600 metres at Tokyo Racecourse in late February....

, Takamatsunomiya Kinen
Takamatsunomiya Kinen
The is a Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old and above thoroughbreds. It is run over a distance of 1,200 metres at Chukyo Racecourse in late March.The forerunner of this race was the...

, Yasuda Kinen
Yasuda Kinen
The Yasuda Kinen is a Japanese International Grade I Thoroughbred horse race held at the Tokyo Racecourse in Tokyo. Raced annually each June, the Yasuda Kinen is run at a distance of eight furlongs on turf and is open to horses three years of age and up...

, Takarazuka Kinen
Takarazuka Kinen
The Takarazuka Kinen is a Grade I flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old and above thoroughbreds run over a distance of 2,200 metres at Hanshin Racecourse in late June...

, Arima Kinen
Arima Kinen
The Arima Kinen is a Grade I flat horse race in Japan open to Thoroughbreds which are three-years-old or above. It is run over a distance of 2,500 metres at Nakayama Racecourse, and it takes place annually in late December...

, and the Tenno Sho
Tenno Sho
The Tennō Shō is a horse race held twice a year in Japan, once in the spring and once in the autumn. "Tenno" means "Emperor of Japan". The races are both International Grade I races. Prior to the 2007 races, both Tenno Sho races were Japanese domestic Grade I races.-Spring:The Spring Tenno Sho...

 races run in the spring and fall. The Satsuki Sho
Satsuki Sho
The is a Japanese domestic Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies run over a distance of 2,000 metres at the Nakayama Racecourse, Funabashi, Chiba, in April....

, Tokyo Yushun
Tokyo Yushun
The , also called as the is a Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies run over a distance of 2,400 metres at the Tokyo Racecourse, Fuchū, Tokyo in late May or early June....

, and Kikuka Sho
Kikuka Sho
The is a Japanese Domestic Grade 1 flat horse race in Japan for three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies run over a distance of 3,000 metres at the Kyoto Racecourse, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture in October....

 comprise the Japanese Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing
The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse...

.

Japan's top jump race is the Nakayama Grand Jump
Nakayama Grand Jump
The Nakayama Grand Jump is a Japanese horse racing steeplechase, held at Nakayama Racecourse every year in mid-April. It is for thoroughbreds, four years old and older, run at a distance of 4250m ....

, run every April at Nakayama Racecourse
Nakayama Racecourse
is located in Funabashi, Chiba, Japan. It is used for horse racing. It has a capacity of 165,676. It was built in 1990. It has 15,944 seats.-Physical attributes:Nakayama Race Course has two grass courses, a dirt course, and a jump course....

. Instead of running over a large course as is the case in other countries, the course for the 4,250 m (about 2⅝ mile) Nakayama Grand Jump follows a twisted path on the inside portion of Nakayama's racing ovals. The race carries a purse of ¥142.5 million (about US$1.68 million).

The top jockey in Japan is Yutaka Take
Yutaka Take
is a Japanese jockey who is a multiple champion in his homeland and won the Japan Cup in 1999 on the horse Special Week...

, who is a multiple champion in his homeland and regularly rides Japanese horses in stakes races around the world. Yutaka Take was the regular jockey for Deep Impact, JRA's two time Horse of the Year (2005–06).

The US racehorse Sunday Silence
Sunday Silence
Sunday Silence was an American Thoroughbred racehorse, earning distinction as 1989 American Horse of the Year over American Champion Two-Year-Old Male Horse Easy Goer. He was foaled in 1986, sired by Halo out of Wishing Well by Understanding. Though he was registered as a dark bay/brown, he was in...

 had remarkable success as a sire in Japan, as the number one sire for about 10 years, with progeny winning the Japan Cup many times, the Hong Kong Vase and the Melbourne Cup.

Mongolia


Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

n horse racing takes place during the Naadam
Naadam
Naadam is a traditional type of festival in Mongolia. The festival is also locally termed "eriin gurvan naadam" "the three games of men". The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery and are held throughout the country during the midsummer holidays...

 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.

Pakistan


Horse races are held in Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 at four different clubs. In Lahore at Lahore Race Club
Lahore Race Club
Lahore Race Club, in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan, is a club concerned with the sport of horse racing, established in 1924 when Lahore was part of the Punjab Province of British India....

, Rawalpindi at Chakri, in Karachi at Karachi Race Club
Karachi Race Club
Karachi Race Club , is the biggest race course of Pakistan.When Pakistan came in to being in 1947 there were only 2 race courses in Pakistan the Karachi Race Club and the Lahore Race Club. The Karachi Race Club was established in 1913 and racing continued at the old site of behind the Cantonment...

 and in Gujrat at Gujrat Race Club.

South Korea


Horse racing in South Korea traces back to May 1898, when a foreign language institute run by the government included a donkey race in its athletic rally. However, this type of racing was sponsored for entertainment purposes only. No betting was conducted. It was in 1920s that "Modern Horse Racing" involving a betting system made its debut. In 1922, the Chosun Racing Club, the nation's first-ever authorized horse racing club, was established to make horse racing more systematic and better organized. In 1923, the pari-mutuel betting system was officially adopted for the first time in Korea. The Sinseol-dong racecourse opened in 1928 and incorporated racing clubs were allowed to have their own racecourses.

Finally in 1933 a Japanese decree on horse racing was promulgated. Under the decree, only incorporated racing clubs were entitled to conduct horse racing. The Chosun Horse Racing Authority was also established in 1933 to coordinate and control incorporated racing clubs across the nation and ensure consistency in their administration. A racetrack named after the one in Florida, Hialeah, was established by the Japanese in Busan. The location was later used as a U.S. military base, Camp Hialeah, but retained the oval shape of a racetrack. It has since been returned to the Republic of Korea.

In 1945, the Chosun Horse Affairs Authority was renamed to the Korea Racing Authority, and efforts were made to restore the national identity in horse racing. However, the Korean War which broke in 1950 resulted in great turmoil for Korean society, thus undermining the development of horse racing. Worse yet, during the three-year war, racecourses were requisitioned for military training and horse racing came to an abrupt halt.

To keep the tradition of horse racing alive, the Korea Racing Authority worked out a plan to reestablish the racecourse at Ttuksom in Seoul. The construction, which began during the war, was completed in May 1954. With its dedication, horse racing resumed, and the newly constructed Ttksom racecourse served as the hub of Korean horse racing until it was relocated to the modern racecourse in Gwacheon in 1989.

Pari-mutuel bets were tallied manually until 1984. The inefficient management of pari-mutuel betting system was a major stumbling block to broadening the fan base. To overcome this fundamental obstacle, the computerized pari-mutuel betting system was established in 1984, and at the same time, horse racing came to be televised in color, both on-&off-course. These two measures have played a decisive role in boosting attendance and turnover. For instance, in 1984, turnover and attendance increased at 67% and 58%, respectively, from the previous year.

To form a link in the chain of the program to make the most of the Olympic facilities, the government designated the KRA as the organization exclusively responsible for providing the Olympic Equestrian Park. Accordingly, the KRA secured 280 acres (1.1 km²) of the land in Gwacheon area on the southern outskirts of Seoul, and began its construction in 1984 till 1988. After the Olympics, the Park was converted into racing facilities named Seoul Race Park
Seoul Race Park
Seoul Race Park is a Korean thoroughbred racetrack in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. It is host to many of Korea's most valuable thoroughbred horse races including the Korean Derby and Grand Prix. Seoul Race Park is located next to Seoul Racecourse Park Station on Line 4 of the Seoul...

 and the first race was held on September 1, 1989. With the opening of the Seoul Race Park, the 36-year-long era of the Ttuksom Racecourse came to an end and the nation's horse racing continued to make great strides.

As part of the efforts to preserve the ponies native to Jeju Island, which has been designated as Natural Monument No. 347, the KRA began the construction of the 180 acre (0.7284348 km²) Jeju Racecourse at the foot of Mount Halla in October 1987. Three years later in October 1990, the Racecourse opened for pony racing.

As an effort to raise racing quality and promote horseracing nationwide, the KRA started to construct the new thoroughbred racecourse in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. The racecourse opened in September 2005. The stellar growth of Korean racing and KRA's internationalization efforts have drawn the international attention since the beginning of the 2000s. Led by this, in October 2002, the Asian Racing Federation decided to designate South Korea as the host of the 30th Asian Racing Conference in May 2005. Also, in June 2004, the International Cataloguing Standards Committee included Korea as one of the Part III countries, and decided to add seven South Korean Grade Races to the Blue Book list starting from 2005.

United Arab Emirates


The big race in the UAE is the Dubai World Cup
Dubai World Cup
The Dubai World Cup is a Thoroughbred horse race held annually since 1996 and from 2010 at the Meydan Racecourse in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates...

, a race with a purse of six million dollars, making it the largest purse in the world.

The Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, reported to be the world's largest race track, is scheduled to open 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.

Pedigree



While the attention of horse racing fans and the media is focused almost exclusively on the horse's performance on the racetrack, or for male horses possibly its success as a sire, little publicity is given to brood mares. Such is the case of La Troienne
La Troienne
La Troienne, was one of the most famous and influential Thoroughbred broodmares in twentieth century America. She produced 10 winners while at stud....

, one of the most important mares of the 20th century to whom many of the greatest thoroughbred champions, and dams of champions, can be traced.

In most horse races, including both flat and steeplechases, the pedigree of the horse is one of the things that allow it to race: the horse must have a sire (father) and a dam (mother) who are purebred individuals of whatever breed is racing. For example, in a normal harness race, the horses sire and dam must both be pure Standardbreds. The only exception to this is in Quarter Horse racing where an Appendixed Quarter Horse may be considered eligible to race against (standard) Quarter Horses. An appendixed Quarter Horse is a horse who has either one Quarter Horse parent and one parent of any other eligible breed (such as Thoroughbred, the most common Appendixed cross), or both parents are registered Appendixed Quarter Horses, or one parent is a Quarter Horse and one parent is an Appendixed Quarter Horse. The designation of "Appendixed" refers to the addendum section, or Appendix, of the Official Quarter Horse registry. 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
Stud (animal)
A stud animal is a registered animal retained for breeding. The terms for the male of a given animal species usually imply that the animal is entire—that is, not castrated—and therefore capable of siring offspring...

 when he is retired. Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination
Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse or natural insemination...

 and Embryo transfer
Embryo transfer
Embryo transfer refers to a step in the process of assisted reproduction in which embryos are placed into the uterus of a female with the intent to establish a pregnancy...

 technology (only allowed in some breeds) has brought changes to the traditions and ease of breeding.

Pedigrees of some stallions are recorded in Weatherbys Stallion Book and pedigrees of recent Stakes race winners can be found on sites such as the-racehorse.com. Thoroughbred pedigrees may be found at: Australian Stud Book and Thoroughbred Heritage.

Betting




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
Toronto-Dominion Bank
The Toronto-Dominion Bank , is the second-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and based on assets. It is also the sixth largest bank in North America. Commonly known as TD and operating as TD Bank Group, the bank was created in 1955 through the merger of the Bank of Toronto and the...

 Carolina Cup and Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, South Carolina
Camden, South Carolina
Camden is the fourth oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina and is also the county seat of Kershaw County, South Carolina, United States. The population was an estimated 7,103 in 2009...

, 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
Parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the "house-take" or "vig" is removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets...

 where gamblers' money is pooled and shared proportionally among the winners once a deduction is made from the pool. In some countries, such as UK, Ireland and Australia, an alternative and more popular facility is provided by bookmaker
Bookmaker
A bookmaker, or bookie, is an organization or a person that takes bets on sporting and other events at agreed upon odds.- Range of events :...

s who effectively make a market
Market maker
A market maker is a company, or an individual, that quotes both a buy and a sell price in a financial instrument or commodity held in inventory, hoping to make a profit on the bid-offer spread, or turn. From a market microstructure theory standpoint, market makers are net sellers of an option to be...

 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
Parimutuel betting
Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool; taxes and the "house-take" or "vig" is removed, and payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets...

 gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 on races also provides not only purse money to participants but considerable tax revenue, with over $100 billion wagered annually in 53 countries.

Types of bets


In North American racing, the three most common ways to bet money are to win, to place, and to show. A bet to win, sometimes called a "straight" bet, means that you stake money on the horse, and if it comes in first place, the bet is a winner. In a bet to place, you are betting on your horse to finish either first, second, and/or third, depending on how many horses are in the race; for example, in a race with 5 horses a place bet would only be for first and second place, but in a race with 10 horses you bet on your horse to finish first, second, or third. A bet to show wins if the horse finishes first, second or third. Since it is much easier to select a horse to finish first, second or third than it is to select a horse just for first, the show payoffs will be much lower on average than win payoffs.

In Europe, Australia and Asia, betting to place is different since the number of "payout places" varies depending on the size of the field that takes part in the race. For example, in a race with seven or less runners in the UK, only the first two finishers would be considered winning bets with most bookmakers. Three places are paid for eight or more runners, whilst a handicap race with 16 runners or more will see the first four places being classed as "placed". (A show bet does not exist in the North American sense.)

The term "Each-Way" bet is used everywhere but North America, and has a different meaning depending on the location. An each-way (or E/W) bet sees the total bet being split in two, with half being placed on the win, and half on the place. Bettors receive a payout if the horse either wins, and/or is placed based on the place criteria as stated above. The full odds are paid if the horse wins, (plus the place portion), with a quarter or a fifth of the odds (depending on the race-type and the number of runners) if only the place section of the bet is successful. In the UK some bookmakers will pay for the first five (some independent firms have even paid the first six) for a place on the Grand National
Grand National
The Grand National is a world-famous National Hunt horse race which is held annually at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, England. It is a handicap chase run over a distance of four miles and 856 yards , with horses jumping thirty fences over two circuits of Aintree's National Course...

. This additional concession is offered because of the large number of runners in the race (maximum 40). Occasionally other handicap races with large fields (numbers of runners) receive the same treatment from various bookmakers, especially if they are sponsoring the race. The rough equivalent in North America is an "across the board" bet, where equal bets on a horse are set to win, place and show. Each portion is treated by the totalizator as a separate bet, so an across-the-board bet is merely a convenience for bettors and parimutuel clerks. For instance, if a $2 across-the-board bet (total outlay of $6) were staked on a horse which finished second, paying $4.20 to place and $3.00 to show, the bettor would receive $7.20 on what is essentially a $6 wager.

Betting Exchanges


In addition to traditional betting with a bookmaker, punters are able to both back and lay money on an online betting exchange
Betting exchange
A betting exchange is an entity which provides "trading" facilities for retail or bookmaker customers to buy and sell contracts. Contracts are structured as binary options. Some betting exchanges may also offer CFD products...

. Punters who lay the odds are in effect acting as a bookmaker. The odds of a horse are set by the market conditions of the betting exchange which is dictated to by the activity of the members.

Criticism


Organized groups dedicated to protecting animals, such as the Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States , based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million....

 and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

, target some horse sports with claims of animal cruelty. Horse racing and rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

 are most commonly targeted, due both to their high visibility and to the level of stress and potential physical dangers to the equines involved. Criticism of horse racing and its practices runs a wide gamut, however; while some may consider even fairly drastic discipline of horses non-abusive, others may consider abuse to be anything done against the will of the animal in question. Some people may consider poor living conditions abusive, while others might consider riding abusive.

In 2009, animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 group PETA
Peta
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

 released undercover video of alleged abuses of former race horses at a slaughterhouse in Kumamoto, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. The group states that 20,000 horses, including former Thoroughbred race horses, were killed in 2008 in Japan for use as human and pet food.

Dangers


There are many dangers in horse racing for both horse and jockey: a horse can stumble and fall, or fall when jumping an obstacle, exposing both jockey and horse to the danger of being trampled and injured.

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.

See also



  • Australian and New Zealand punting glossary
    Australian and New Zealand punting glossary
    The Australian and New Zealand punting glossary explains some of the terms, jargon and slang which are commonly used and heard on Australian and New Zealand racecourses, in TABs, on radio, and in the horse racing media...

  • Equestrian property
  • Harness racing
    Harness racing
    Harness racing is a form of horse racing in which the horses race at a specific gait . They usually pull a two-wheeled cart called a sulky, although racing under saddle is also conducted in Europe.-Breeds:...


Horse trainers
  • Fully Automatic Time
    Fully Automatic Time
    Fully automatic time is a form of race timing in which the clock is automatically activated by the starting device, and the finish time is either automatically recorded, or timed by analysis of a photo finish. The system is commonly used in track and field as well as horse racing, dog racing,...

  • Length (horse racing)
    Length (horse racing)
    A horse length, or simply length, is a unit of measurement that refers to the length of a horse from nose to tail, approximately 8 feet, It is commonly used in Thoroughbred horse racing, where it describes the distance between horses in a race...

  • List of horse racing tracks
  • List of jockeys
  • Track surface
  • Jockey Challenge
    Jockey Challenge
    The Jockey Challenge in thoroughbred racing occurs when punters choose their favourite jockey who they believe will be the most successful rider at a particular race meeting or over a carnival series of meetings...


External links