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Horse Racing: History, Fun Facts & Trivia



Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash

Horse Racing: History, Fun Facts & Trivia

Horse racing dates back centuries, but some of the earliest recorded accounts date back to the Greek Olympic Games in 700 to 40 B.C., where horses were pulled by chariots and ridden by bareback riders.

Soon, China, Persia, Arabia, the Middle East, and North Africa saw horse racing grow and evolve into an exciting sport.

After horse racing became popular, it didn’t take long for organized horse racing to take off. Charles II introduced the King’s Plate, one of the first horse races where prizes were awarded to the winners. They established many of the first recorded horse racing rules, which are still in effect today.

During the reign of Louis XIV, specifically, horse racing betting became a popular practice. Race courses arose on Long Island’s plains after the occupation of New York City in the 1600s, which is likely when organized horse racing began in the United States. For the most part, horse success during this time was measured more by stamina than by speed.


Modern Horse Racing

It’s generally believed that modern horse racing began in the 18th century. St. Leger was the first modern horse race introduced in England in 1776. The Oaks and Derby followed in 1779 and 1780, respectively.

A growing number of people are getting involved in horse racing wagering. And there are many ways sportsbook attract more people. These include the basics of handicapping to spread lines. Because of such options, these races are still popular.

After England, in 1836, France established the Prix du Jockey Club, in 1863 the Prix de Paris, and in 1920 the Prix l’Arc de Triomphe. Also, with the introduction of the Belmont Stakes in 1867, the United States became one of the last countries to introduce horse racing.

After the success of Belmont Stake, in 1873, the Preakness Stakes followed, followed by the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races combine to make the U.S. Triple Crown, the most prestigious horse racing event in the industry.


Fun facts about horse racing

  • The sport of horse racing has been famously called The Sport of Kings. This is because of the interest of King James I in the sports and the popularity with aristocrats and royalty of British society.
  • It’s an industry worth billions of others. Horse racing alone contributes approximately $37 billion to the U.S. economy each year. It also employs nearly 472,000 people, which include jockeys, trainers, stewards, and racetrack food workers.
  • The majority of thoroughbred racehorses start their careers when they are just two years old. It’s common to start racing when they are only two and three yrs old, then retire and begin breeding.
  • Thoroughbreds all share a birthday regardless of their birth dates. Northern hemisphere Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday on January 1 and those born in the Southern Hemisphere have their birthdays on August 1.
  • Kiplingcotes Derby has been run continuously every year since 1519, making it the oldest horse race in the world. As per tradition, the race must be run every year or it will be canceled forever.


We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Horse Racing: History, Fun Facts & Trivia.’ Are you a fan of horse racing? Let us know!


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Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Reading. An avid footballer, he spent time under the FAW academy programme as well as Cardiff Corinthians. Later going on to play for his university and Wellington United whilst residing in New Zealand. He currently resides in Frome, Somerset. You can contact him at [email protected]


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