Horse Racing

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Horse Racing is an equestrian sport that has been practiced for millennia. It is inextricably associated with gambling. The common sobriquet for Thoroughbred horse racing is The Sport of Kings. Horse racing is an equestrian sport and major international industry, watched in almost every nation of the world. There are three types: "flat" racing; steeplechasing, i.e. racing over jumps; and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a small, light cart known as a sulky. A major part of horse racing's economic importance lies in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a world-wide market worth around US$115 billion. Historically, equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and honed the excellent horsemanship that was needed in battle. Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between riders or drivers. All forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death, but generated strong spectator enthusiasm. In the ancient Olympic Games, as well as the other Panhellenic Games, the sport was one of the most important equestrian events. In mythology, horse racing was also a part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. The popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. The traditional high point of US horse racing is the Kentucky Derby. Together, the Derby, the Preakness Stakes run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes held at Belmont Park on Long Island, form the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing for three-year-olds. They are all held early in the year, throughout May and the beginning of June. In recent years the Breeders' Cup races, run at the end of the year, have challenged the Triple Crown events as determiners of the three-year-old Champion. The Breeders' Cup is held at a different track every year; the 2008 edition was held at Santa Anita. It also has an important effect on the selection of other annual Champions. The corresponding Standardbred event is the Breeders' Crown. There are also a Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers and a Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters, as well as an Arabian Triple Crown consisting of Drinkers of the Wind Derby in California, the Texas Six Shooter Stakes, and the Bob Magness Derby in Delaware. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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