Yearly Horse Racing Events
Horse racing is known as the ‘Sport of Kings’ and has been a popular activity since ancient times. The earliest examples of this equestrian sport are the chariot races held during the Roman Empire and the contest of the steeds in Norse mythology. Horse racing is often associated with wagering on the outcome of the race, in other words, gambling. There are different kinds of horse races held all over the world thoroughbred racing, harness racing and quarter horse racing of which thoroughbred racing is the most popular. Harness racing is a predominantly seen in the US, Canada, France, Australia, Italy and Scandinavia, while quarter horse racing is quite popular in US.
Betting on the horse races is a significant economic activity, generating thousands of tax dollars. Hence, most governments endorse horse racing and have a say in the regulation of the sport. Horse racing can be found in countries like Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, Ireland, France, Japan, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. The latest development in wagering on horse races is the internet where online race books enable horse betting fans to bet and follow every horse racing event around the world.
Horse Racing Events in America
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race meant for three year old thoroughbred horses, held each year in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the grand finale of the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival held on the first Saturday in May. The one and quarter mile race is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate time length, and is the first of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Races of the United States.
The second leg of the US Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes. It’s a classic 1 3/16 mile or 1.91km race for 3 year old thoroughbreds held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. This race follows the Kentucky Derby and is held on the third Saturday in May each year. Invariably the winner and other horses at the Kentucky Derby participate in the Preakness Stakes.
The Belmont Stakes is the last leg of the Triple Crown and is held at Belmont Park at Elmont in New York. The race is held in June every year. To win the Triple Crown the horse must win all three races.
The other important races in the US include the Breeder’s Cup World Thoroughbred Championships which is a series of horse races held at different locations each year. These races are sponsored by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. Another similar event is the Breeder’s Crown, meant for standardbreds. Then there are the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers and the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters and an Arabian Triple Crown, all annual events in the US.
British Horse Racing
The two main types of horse racing held in United Kingdom include flat racing and National Hunt. The Royal Ascot Festival held since 1711 is the biggest of the horse races. The British Triple Crown consists of three races, namely, the 2,000 Guineas, The Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes. Very few horses have achieved the extraordinary feat of winning all three races in a single season. The last British Triple Crown was won by Nijinsky II in 1970.The other spectacular horse racing event in Britain is the Grand National at Aintree, which is a National Hunt race.
The Galway Races reland
The Galway Races are held in Ireland on the last Monday of July every year at Ballybrit Race Course. This seven day event combines National Hunt and Flat Racing that attracts several top class horses from Britain and Ireland. The Galway Plate, held on Wednesday is the biggest race of the meet. It is a steeplechase run of two miles six furlongs and attracts huge crowds. This race first started in 1869 and the only horse to win the title three times is Tipperary Boy at the start of the twentieth century.
Australian Horse Racing
The Australians also love horse racing just as much as the Americans or the British. They have their own version of a Triple Crown which includes Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby. The Randwick Guineas which is 1.6km run, and the Australian Derby, a 2.4 km run are both held at the Randwick Racecourse in Sydney as part of the Sydney Autumn Carnival. The Rosehill Guineas is held at the Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney. All the three races are held in March every year.
Perhaps the best racing event of the southern hemisphere is the thoroughbred horse racing event The Melbourne Cup. Since 1861, the Melbourne Cup has been held on the first Tuesday of November each year. This is a 3200 mile run held at the Flemington Racecourse and attracts millions of spectators from Australia and around the world. It is a “Race that Stops a Nation”; in fact, the day of the race is a public holiday in Melbourne.
The Dubai World Cup United Arab Emirates
Since 1996, the Dubai World Cup for thoroughbreds has been held at Dubai, every year in March. The race now stages eight races and is held at the Meydan Grandstand Racecourse from 2010. It was the brainchild of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The Dubai World Cup offers a purse of $10 million, making it the richest horse race in the world. The race is a Group 1 flat race for four-year-old thoroughbreds and above for the Northern Hemisphere and for three-year-old thoroughbreds and above for the Southern Hemisphere. The race spans a distance of 2000m, which is one mile two furlongs. The first Dubai World Cup winner was Cigar, owned by Allen E. Paulson.
Today the Dubai World Cup meet is worth a staggering 26.25 million dollars, attracting some of the best horses around the world. All the eight races are top class with massive prize money, the main supporting races being the $5 million Dubai Duty Free and the Dubai Sheema Classic also worth $5 million are the richest races run on turf.