Horse Racing

Horse Racing UK/USA & Europe

Without doubt horse racing exist for one thing and one thing only Gambling.

It is a professional sport in most countries in the world, however in the UK it moves to a different level althogether, there are 5 million people visiting UK racecourses each year with a huge television audience second only to associated football for spectator appeal.

Although a universal sport there are differences in European horse racing to USA racing.

Tracks - US tracks are oval shaped, flat, dirt surfaced and usually a mile round. The US grass courses tend to be smaller, tighter, and tucked inside the main track. The exceptions are Belmonts mile and half outside turf course, Kentucky downs pear shape and Santa Anna's hillside are exceptions.

In Europe courses come in all shapes and sizes most are run on grass, with dirt surfaces being rare but are on the increase in England as all weather tracks.

Seasons US race meetings tend to be long affairs usually two to four months with racing being held 5 - 6 days a week. The circuits are widely spread and the season last from 1 January to 31 December. European race meetings are short one day meetings are the most common even the prestigious events like Ascot and Goodwood take place over 5 days. The calender is limited Flat racing usually runs from late March till the middle of November.

Crowds - European crowds are bigger with people generally dressing up for the occassion.

Traditions The oldest English horse races are the longest running sporting events in the world.

Horse Races Worldwide
Hong Kong - The Hong Kong Cup the international invitational at Sha Tin in Hong Kong
Japan - Japan Cup the international invitational in Tokyo
Australia - Melbourne Cup the biggest race in Australia
France - Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe held at Longchamp Paris
England - Royal Ascot England's premier race meeting - The Grand National the worlds greatest steeple chase held at Aintree Liverpool
America - Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs
Canada - Queens Plate race for 3 year old thoroughbreds

American Thoroughbred Racing

Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes,

Starting out as a local pastime it wasn't until after the American Civil War that organized horse racing took off in the US.

Once industrial growth took hold in the States gambling on horses soon followed by 1890 there were over 310 tracks in the US in 1894 the American Jockey Club was formed.

Continuing to grow in popularity until the outbreak of World War 2 then it declined in popularity during the 1950's and 60's.

During the 1970's a succession of great horses like Secretariat and Seattle Slew caused a resurgence of interest in horse racing and gambling.

The main points of interest today tend to be the American Triple Crown Races (Kentucky Derby/Preakness Stakes/Belmont Stakes.) and the Breeders Cup