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If you’ve always wanted to know all about horse racing, you’re in the right place! This sport is nothing new, as it originated many centuries ago. There is even evidence that it was part of very ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, Egypt and China.

Back then, horse races were held for different reasons, as part of religious rituals or festive celebrations. However, it was in England, more precisely in 1689, that the sport began to become better known.

Here’s how it happened and all about horse racing!

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All about horse racing: how the sport came about

Find out all about horse racing, a sport also known as Turfe, which has a history that began centuries ago!
Find out all about horse racing!

The history of the sport begins back in 1689, when the British imported horses of the Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian and Godolphin Barb breeds from Africa and the Middle East. In other words, Arabs and Berbers.

While Arabian horses are known for their endurance, intelligence, speed and agility, Berber horses stand out for their strength, stamina, calm temperament and adaptability to varied environments.

When they arrived in England, the horses were crossed with mares from the region and gave birth to animals with great endurance and speed.

Thus, little by little, the sport gained more and more ground and, when it established itself in England and became a popular pastime among the English nobility in the 17th century, it was given the name “turf”. This word has English origins and comes from “turf”, a term that referred to the nomenclature of the first horse competitions that were held on grass tracks.

Now that you’ve learned all about horse racing, it’s time to find out what the main disciplines of this sport are.

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All about horse racing: the main disciplines

There are several types of horse racing, the most common being galloping, where the animals race at high speed on an oval track. Other types of racing are trotting and pacing.

It’s worth remembering that each discipline requires different skills from the animals and also from the jockeys, or riders, who guide the horse along the track.

In gallop racing, the jockeys ride the horses, while in other disciplines, such as trotting races, the animals may be harnessed to a spider or cart (harness racing).

To learn all about horse racing, let’s talk a little more about some of the main disciplines:

  • Galloping races;
  • Trotting races;
  • Step races;
  • Obstacle races;
  • Endurance races.

Galloping races

This is the most traditional form of horse racing, which takes place when horses run at high speed on an oval, flat track with no obstacles.

In this sport, the animal is suspended entirely for a short time and can reach high speeds of up to 64 km/h. Some examples of gallop races include the Kentucky Derby, the Dubai Grand Prix and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Trotting races

In this sport, the horses trot while pulling a sulky with a driver.

Trotting races can vary in distance, with some being held on oval tracks and others on dirt roads. The Hambletonian Stakes in the United States and the Prix d’Amérique in France are notable examples of trotting races.

Step races

Similar to trotting races, in this discipline the horses run at a specific pace, which is known as “pace”. This type of race is common in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.

Obstacles races

In these races, the horses have to jump over obstacles, such as fences and water ditches, while traveling around the track. It’s also worth noting that hurdle races can include different disciplines, such as steeplechase and hurdle race.

Some of the best-known steeplechase events with horses are the Grand National in the UK and the Grand Steeplechase de Paris in France.

Endurance races

Endurance racing involves long distances, which can vary between 20 km and 160 km, often over varied terrain, valuing the horses’ endurance, constancy, physical and mental capacity, as well as balance, tactics and strategy to complete the races.

Endurance races are popular in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Now that you know the disciplines, to learn all about horse racing you also need to be aware of the main tournaments.

tudo sobre corrida de cavalo
All about horse racing: the sport is also known as turfing

All about horse racing: the main turf tournaments

Above, we’ve already briefly mentioned some of the popular tournaments involving horse racing, but let’s talk a bit more about them here, after all, you can’t know everything about horse racing without knowing the championships.

There are several prominent tournaments and races in the world of horse racing, each with its own tradition, prestige and history. Here are some of the main turf tournaments around the world:

  • Kentucky Derby;
  • Dubai World Cup;
  • Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe;
  • Royal Ascot;
  • Breeders’ Cup;
  • Melbourne Cup.

Kentucky Derby

Held annually at Churchill Downs racecourse in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States, it is one of the most famous and prestigious horse races in the world. The race is also known as the “Run for the Roses“, as there is a tradition of crowning the big winner with a garland of roses.

Dubai Grand Prix (Dubai World Cup)

The Dubai Grand Prix, held annually at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is known for being a luxurious competition that offers great prizes to the winners.

In fact, the event’s highlight race is Dubai World Cup Night, which awards up to US$12 million to the athlete who reaches the top of the podium. It’s a sporting event that attracts athletes from all over the world to compete.

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Run annually on the first weekend of October at the Longchamp racecourse in Paris, France, the race is the most important turf event in the country and also the most internationally renowned on grass in Europe.

It is aimed at thoroughbred English horses of at least 3 years of age. The event attracts more than 60,000 spectators every year.

Royal Ascot

The Royal Ascot, in Berkshire, England, began in 1711 and is more than just a horse race; it is a prestigious social and cultural event in the UK. Held annually in June, it attracts more than 300,000 people, including royalty, celebrities and enthusiasts from all over the world for a week of racing, fashion and entertainment.

It is also famous for its strict formal dress requirements:

  • For women, the attire is a hat and a light dress;
  • For men, a suit, dress shirt and tie.

Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is an annual turf festival held every year in the United States and, eventually, in Canada, as each year the event takes place at a different racecourse.

With substantial prizes and several categories of races, it was first held in 1984 and the most famous race is the Breeders Cup Classic, contested by horses at least three years old on a 2,000-meter sand track.

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