Horse racing is a sport with a history that dates back to the days when horse-breeding was a serious business in Europe. It has evolved into a major public entertainment industry. With the advent of the Internet, racing fans around the world can access race programs and statistics. There are hundreds of books about the sport and even thousands of websites.
The first documented horse race was held in France in 1651. The race resulted from a wager between two noblemen. In 1729, John Cheny began publishing An Historical List of All Horse-Matches Run. He also published a work describing the first races.
Louis XVI of France, who ruled from 1643 to 1715, imposed strict rules on the horse-racing industry. For example, all horses had to have certificates of origin. Additionally, racers could only enter the event if they had not won more than a certain amount. If a horse was deemed to be unfit to compete, it could be penalized. These penalties were punishable by forfeiting half the purse.
After the Civil War, speed became the goal in the horse-racing industry. As more racing took place, the size of the fields increased. A scale of weights was set based on age and distance. Weight penalties were also given to individual horses for their past performance.
In the United States, the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby are the most prominent classic races. Each year, millions of people watch the races and bet on them. Racing also thrives in other countries, including Australia, Japan, and Argentina. This international competition makes for an exciting sport.
In France, the Haras Nationaux administer 22 regional horse breeding centers. They also regulate horse breeding in the country. The organization has a well-developed breeding industry.
In North America, organized racing began with the British occupation of New Amsterdam in 1664. Later, the Col. Richard Nicolls laid out a 2-mile course on the plains of Long Island and offered a silver cup to the top horses.
As racing became more popular, second and third prizes were added. Eventually, a fourth prize was also added. To be eligible for a race, a horse had to be at least four years old and had to be from a certain breed. Other factors, such as sex and location, were also used to determine eligibility.
The Triple Crown is a series of three elite races that are held each year in a variety of countries. These include the Belmont Stakes, the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness Stakes. Although the order of the races has varied over the years, the winners have always been consistent.
In some places, such as Brazil, South Africa, and Argentina, the Triple Crown is made up of different types of races. Similarly, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes are races that are sponsored by various entities.
Aside from the races themselves, the sports day program offers valuable information on the history of horses and racing. If you are new to the sport, you may find it intimidating to read.