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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A modern recreation of chariot racing in Puy du Fou
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.

In the Roman form of chariot racing, teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes competed for the services of particularly skilled drivers. These teams became the focus of intense support among spectators, and occasional disturbances broke out between followers of different factions. The conflicts sometimes became politicized, as the sport began to transcend the races themselves and started to affect society overall. This helps explain why Roman and later Byzantine emperors took control of the teams and appointed many officials to oversee them.

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Muybridge race horse animated.gif
Credit: Waugsberg, from photos by Eadweard Muybridge

An animated image of Eadweard Muybridge's pioneering high speed photography, demonstrating that a horse's feet all leave the ground during a gallop. Muybridge used a battery of cameras lined along a track. The first camera had to be triggered manually, but the rest were automatically triggered by an electronic apparatus he designed.

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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 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 (about 1½ miles), and it is scheduled to take place each year, usually on the first Sunday in October.

Popularly referred to as the "Arc", it is the most prestigious horse race in Europe, and one of the most renowned international events in any sport. Many of its winners are subsequently regarded as champions, and its roll of honour features such highly acclaimed horses as Ribot, Sea Bird, Dancing Brave and Sea The Stars. It is currently the world's second richest horse race on turf, after the Japan Cup.

A slogan of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, first used on a promotional poster in 2003, describes the event as "Ce n'est pas une course, c'est un monument" – "Not so much a race as a monument".

Selected biography

Photo of Poseidon
Poseidon (19 August 1903 - 3 February 1930) was an Australian Thoroughbred Hall of Fame racehorse. He won 19 races over distances ranging from five furlongs to three miles. Sixteen of these wins were "Principal Races" (equivalent to today's "Black Type" races), eight of them now of Group 1 (G1) status.

As a three year old in 1906/07, Poseidon had 14 starts for 11 wins, including the Caulfield Cup (in race record time), Melbourne Cup, Victoria Derby and AJC Derby. In achieving this, Poseidon became the first horse to complete the Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup double. In winning the Caulfield Cup again the following year, he also became the first horse to win consecutive Caulfield Cups.

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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
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Hall of Fame inductees AustraliaCanadaFranceJapanNew ZealandUnited States
Wagering Arbitrage bettingBetting exchangeBookmakingParimutuel betting

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