Horse racing has been popular in many counties for thousands of years but it hasn’t been until the last few hundred years that it has been organized into a widespread spectator sport for all to enjoy. Sure, there was horse racing during the Olympic Games over 2,000 years ago but it was nothing like what we see and experience today. Horse racing has been a staple sporting event in places such as Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States and has steadily gained popularity in places such as Japan and the Middle East. Here are some of the more famous horse racing events that occur around the world.
The Kentucky Derby
Arguably the most famous horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby ignites a passion for not only horse racing lovers but the community in general. The event itself is raced at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on a dirt track with a distance of 1 1/4 miles. It is known as ‘The Run for the Roses’ and ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’. There is a total purse of $3,000,000 and has been won by such champions including Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, in 1973 and American Pharoah ridden by Victor Espinoza in 2015. The most recent win was by Medina Spirit, ridden by John Velazquez in May of 2021.
The Melbourne Cup
One of the biggest sporting events in Australia, the Melbourne Cup, is easily up there with the Kentucky Derby as one of the ultimate showcases of thoroughbred horse racing. The main race takes place on the first Tuesday of November at 3pm during the Melbourne Cup Carnival. Australia loves horse racing as a spectator sport and Sydney Cup and Golden Slipper betting are just a few of the joys of attending one of Australia’s more popular races. The best thoroughbred horses from around the world are showcased at the Melbourne Cup and every trainer, owner and jockey wants to be a part of it.
St Leger Day
This well-loved event in the UK occurs at the Doncaster Racecourse annually in September. It was first run in 1776 and is a flat 1-mile turf race for three-year-old horses. It is the final leg of the English Triple Crown which begins with the 2000 Guineas. Anthony St Leger was the man who established this race, originally calling it ‘A Sweepstake of 500 Guineas’. The first event was held at Cantley Common in 1776. The name was changed later in 1776 during a meeting at the Red Lion Inn. It was then moved to its current location in 1778. The race became famous in 1800 and it wasn’t until 1873 when a prominent racehorse called West Australian won all 3 races in the Triple Crown.
Dubai World Cup
Horse racing in the middle east has a long history but it has only been relatively recently that thoroughbred horse racing has been introduced. The Dubai World Cup was inaugurated in 1996 and takes place at the Meydan Racecourse. It has a total purse of $12,000,000 making it one of the richest horse races in the world. It is run on a 2,000 metre dirt track, with champion horse Thunder Snow winning the race consecutively in 2018 and 2019.
Horse racing is an elite sport that is considered to be elegant and sophisticated worldwide. These are only a few of the events that could be considered the world’s best races.