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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An early volume of the General Stud Book, Volume 6
The Jersey Act was introduced to prevent the registration of most American-bred Thoroughbred horses in the British General Stud Book. It had its roots in the desire of the British to halt the influx of American-bred racehorses of possibly impure bloodlines during the early 1900s. Many American-bred horses were exported to Europe to race and retire to a breeding career after a number of US states banned gambling, which depressed Thoroughbred racing as well as breeding in that country. The loss of breeding records during the American Civil War and the late beginning of the registration of American Thoroughbreds led many in the British racing establishment to doubt that the American-bred horses were purebred.

In 1913 the Jockey Club and the owners of the General Stud Book passed a regulation named by the foreign press after the Jockey Club's senior steward, Lord Jersey, prohibiting the registration of horses in the book unless all of their ancestors had been registered.

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Thoroughbred horse racing
Credit: Softeis

Race horses competing on turf (grass racetrack) in Germany. Most races in Europe are run on turf, while most races in North America are run on dirt.

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Artist: John Frederick Herring, Sr.

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Washington Park Race Track, c. 1903
Washington Park Race Track was a popular horse racing venue in the Chicago metropolitan area from 1884 until 1977. It had two locations during its existence. It was first situated in what is the current location of the Washington Park Subdivision of the Woodlawn community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. This is located immediately south of both the current Washington Park community area and Washington Park. The track was later relocated to Homewood, Illinois, which is also in Cook County.

The original track and its accompanying Jockey Club were social draws in the late 1800s, but modern developments and changes in the law led to the decline of both. In its prime, the track was an especially important social gathering place on opening day and the day of the American Derby, which ranked as one of horse racing's highest purses. The Jockey club, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, hosted a social gathering led by General Philip Sheridan who was an early leader of the track and club. The track was closed and reopened according to the contemporary state and local laws on gambling and eventually waned in popularity and social importance.

Selected race

The 1976 cup won by Van Der Hum
The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race. Billed as The race that stops a nation, it is a race for three-year-olds and over, over a distance of 3,200 metres. It is the richest and most prestigious "two-mile" handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races in the world. The event is held at around 3 pm on the first Tuesday in November by the Victoria Racing Club, on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.

The race has been held since 1861 (see list of Melbourne Cup winners) and was originally held over two miles (about 3,218 metres) but following preparation for Australia's adoption of the metric system in the 1970s, the current race distance of 3,200 metres was established in 1972. This reduced the distance by 18.688 metres (61.31 ft), and Rain Lover's 1968 race record of 3min.19.1sec was accordingly adjusted to 3min.17.9sec. The present record holder is the 1990 winner Kingston Rule with a time of 3min 16.3sec. The world record of 3:13.4 over 3,200 metres is held by Japanese horse Deep Impact.

Selected biography

Man o' War, 1920
Man o' War, (March 29, 1917 Nursery Stud farm, Lexington, Kentucky – November 1, 1947, Faraway Farm) is considered one of the greatest Thoroughbred racehorses of all time. During his career just after World War I, he won 20 of 21 races and $249,465 in purses.

By the prominent sire Fair Play, out of the mare Mahubah, Man o' War was owned and bred by August Belmont, Jr. (1851-1924), whose father's accomplishments were recognized through the naming of the Belmont Stakes. Belmont Jr. joined the United States Army at age 65 to serve in France during World War I. While he was overseas, his wife named a new foal "Man o' War" in honor of her husband. However, the Belmonts decided to liquidate their racing stable. At the Saratoga yearling sale in 1918, Man o' War was sold at a final bid of $5,000 to Samuel D. Riddle who brought him to his Glen Riddle Farm near Berlin, Maryland. The underbidder at the auction was believed to be Robert L Gerry, Sr..

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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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