Horse racing provides a full spectrum of entertainment unlike any other sport. Whether your horse wins or loses, spending a day at the races makes for a great afternoon or evening outdoors watching beautiful animals compete.
The Tradition of Horse Racing
Horse racing has been a long standing tradition among many cultures. The sport dates back all the way to 4500 BC among nomadic tribesmen in Central Asia, who first domesticated horses. Archeological records reveal that the Ancient Greeks, Syrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians also participated in horse racing to entertain the masses and honor outstanding horsemanship required for battles. Later horse racing became popular among British royalty and aristocracy where it received the nickname “Sport of Kings”.
These days, horse racing represents one of the only legal forms of gambling around the world, including Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, the United States, South America, the Middle East, and Australia.
The History of American Horse Racing
Horse racing came to North America back in 1665 when colonists first established a track in Long Island, New York. The sport remained popular in the United States for a long time, but organized racing didn’t begin until after the Civil War with the release of the American Stud Book in 1868 and later the foundation of the American Jockey Club in 1894. It wasn’t long before organized races spread across the country, and by 1890 the United States had 314 race tracks.
The sport continued to grow in popularity, especially when a horse named Seabiscuit captured the hearts of the American public during the Depression. Even with his small build and crooked legs, Seabiscuit represented a true underdog and kept on winning.
Horse racing really gained traction during the 1970s, when great horses like Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed became famous across the country for winning the American Triple Crown, the biggest horse racing event in the country.
Hands down, the Triple Crown represents the biggest horse racing event of the year. During the Triple Crown, three year old Thoroughbred horses compete in a three part race that includes the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. The races attract huge crowds who gather to celebrate and enjoy the excitement of the race. Spectators range from drunk college kids watching from the infield to sophisticated audience members sitting in the grandstand. Women traditionally wear exquisite dresses and oversized hats and men come in freshly pressed, colorful suits.
Today, horse racing continues as one of the most widely attended spectator sports in the country with the racing industry generating over 26 billion dollars. People from all over join together at the race tracks to experience the excitement as horses compete neck to neck to reach the finish line first. Even if you take home money or not, an exciting day at the races makes for a thrilling experience all the same.
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