Portal:Horse racing

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Horse racing

Horse racing at Arlington Park, 2007

Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times are an early example, as is the contest of the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. 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, the sport was one of the most important equestrian events.

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. Many sports, such as dressage, eventing and show jumping, have origins in military training, which were focused on control and balance of both horse and rider. Other sports, such as rodeo, developed from practical skills such as those needed on working ranches and stations. Sport hunting from horseback evolved from earlier practical hunting techniques. 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, 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.

Horse racing is an equestrian sport and major international industry, watched in almost every nation of the world. There are three types: "flat" racing; steeplechasing, i.e. racing over jumps; and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a small, light cart known as a sulky. 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

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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. Any breed can compete, but the Arabian generally dominates the top levels because of the breed's stamina and natural endurance abilities.

Though the need to ride long distances has existed since the domestication of the horse, endurance riding as an organized activity was first developed in the United States based on European cavalry (particularly Polish and Russian WWI) and breeding program tests requiring the ability to carry 300 lb (140 kg) over 100 miles (160 km) in one day. Organized endurance riding as a formal sport began in 1955, when Wendell Robie and a group of equestrians rode from the Lake Tahoe area across the Sierra Nevada Range to Auburn in under 24 hours, following the historic Western States Trail.

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Horseracing Churchill Downs.jpg
Credit: Jeff Kubina

A Thoroughbred race horse at Churchill Downs, the Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Thoroughbreds are considered a "hot-blooded" horse, known for their agility, speed and spirit, and they have been influential in the creation of many important breeds.

Did you know...

Eurythmic, ch. h. 1916

  • ... that Eurythmic (pictured) was a versatile Australian-bred Thoroughbred racehorse who won over distances ranging from 5 furlongs (1,000 metres) to 2 miles (3,200 metres)?
  • ... that Encosta De Lago's service fee rose to AUD$302,500 in the 2008 season, during which he served 227 mares who produced 166 live foals?

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Floorplan of the Circus Maximus
The Circus Maximus is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue located in Rome. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, it was the first and largest Chariot Racing Stadium in ancient Rome, the site is now a public park and retains little evidence of its former use. The Circus could hold over 1/4 of the city's population, over 250,000 people, allowing for this Circus to be a popular viewing place by the Romans, the Circus measured "621 m (2,037 ft) in length and 118 m (387 ft) in width.

Chariot racing was an extremely dangerous sport, frequently resulting in spectacular crashes and the death of one or more of the contestants. One end of the track extended further back than the other, to allow the chariots to line up to begin the race. Here there were starting gates, or "carceres", which staggered the chariots so that each traveled the same distance to the first turn, during these chariot races, bribery of the judge in order to fix the start of the race was very common. The race went for a total distance of about 6.5 km (4 miles).

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The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The race is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, following five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes is a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) horse race, open to three year Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg). The attendance at the Belmont Stakes ranks fourth in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races, including the Breeders' Cup.

The first Belmont Stakes was held at Jerome Park Racetrack in The Bronx, built in 1866 by stock market speculator Leonard Jerome (1817–1891) and financed by August Belmont, Sr. (1816–1890), for whom the race was named. The race continued to be held at Jerome Park until 1890, when it was moved to the nearby facility, Morris Park Racecourse, the race remained there until the May 1905 opening of the new Belmont Park, 430-acre (1.7 km²) racetrack in Elmont, New York in the borough of Queens.

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Garrett's Miss Pawhuska (1946–1975) was a Quarter Horse broodmare who produced eight quarter horse foals, three of which would become world champion race horses. When she was a yearling, she was sold by her owner, although he had not really planned on selling her, he felt he had to because one of his employees had told a customer the filly was for sale. After racing for two years, she retired to become a broodmare and died in 1975 at age 29, she was inducted into the AQHA's AQHA Hall of Fame in 2006. Miss Pawhuska also has a stakes race named in her honor at Remington Park Track in Oklahoma City, her son Vandy's Flash was the first gelding to be named a World Champion Quarter Running Horse.

Although her official record with the American Quarter Horse Association (or AQHA) is six starts and six wins, the early records are not all entered into the AQHA's computers and the official charts published in the 1940s show she lost a match race to Gin High. However, the published race chart for the race noted that she was leading the race until she ran over a stake 50 yards (46 m) before the end of the race, which caused her to lose the race.

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History HorseEvolution of the horseDomestication of the horseDarley ArabianGodolphin ArabianByerley Turk
Governing bodies Australian Racing BoardBritish Horseracing AuthorityFrance GalopHong Kong Jockey ClubHorse Racing IrelandInternational Cataloguing Standards CommitteeJapan Racing AssociationJockey Club of CanadaMacau Jockey ClubNational Association of RacingNational Steeplechase AssociationThe Jockey ClubWeatherbys
Terminology Glossary of Australian and New Zealand puntingBackstretchBlindersChute (racecourse)FurlongGoingHandicappingHorse lengthPhoto finishPurse distributionRacecardRing bitStarting barrierStarting gateStirrup
Types of racing Chariot racingEndurance ridingFlat racingHarness racingHurdling (horse race)SteeplechaseThoroughbredQuarter Horse
Race classes Claiming raceConditions racesGraded stakes raceGroup racesHandicap raceHurdling (horse race)Maiden race horseWeight for Age
Professions BookmakerGroomHorse trainerJockeyOdds compilerRace callerStud MasterStrapper
Awards Cartier Racing AwardEclipse AwardJRA AwardLester AwardScobie Breasley MedalSovereign Award
Breeding Breed registryEquine anatomyEquine conformationFoalHorse breedingHorse careInbreedingLive foal guaranteeMareStallionStud farmStud feeThoroughbred breeding theories
Graded races AustraliaBarbadosCanadaFranceGermanyGreat BritainGreat Britain (NH)IrelandIreland (NH)ItalyPeruSingaporeUnited States
Hall of Fame inductees AustraliaCanadaFranceJapanNew ZealandUnited States
Wagering Arbitrage bettingBetting exchangeBookmakingParimutuel betting

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