Horse Racing is one of the oldest sports still in existence, dating back to roughly 4500 BC, to the nomadic tribes of Central Asia who were responsible for first domesticating this magnificent animal. Since then it has flourished, earning the nickname of the Sport of Kings, and its one of the most popular markets when it comes to betting nowadays.
In the same way that you might enjoy online games for new players a little more if you knew more about this ancient game’s origins, understanding more about where these events came from can make an already thrilling spectator and betting pastime even more exciting!
It Is as Old as We Are
Since the start of recorded history, Horse Racing has been an organised sport for every single major civilisation. The Ancient Greek Olympics had both Chariot and Mounted events, and the Ancient Romans loved staging these contests as well.
The origin of the event as we know it today can be traced back to the 12th century when English knights returned from the Crusades with Arab horses capable of attaining as-yet unheard of speeds. Over the next four centuries more and more of these stallions were imported and bred to English mares as an attempt was made to create an animal that had both endurance and speed.
Things Go Pro in the 1700s
During Queen Anne’s reign, 1702 to 1714, Horse Racing started becoming professional, evolving into multiple fixtures on which spectators could wager. Racecourses started popping up all over England, and increasingly larger purses began getting offered in order to attract the best animals.
This rapid expansion saw the need for a central governing authority be created, and in 1750 the elite of this industry met at Newmarket, in Suffolk County in England, and formed the Jockey Club. This association is still in charge of English Racing.
The Tracing of Pedigree
The Weatherby family did the accounts for the Jockey Club, and James Weatherby was eventually given the job of tracing the pedigree of every racehorse in the land. In 1791 he published the results as The Introduction to the General Stud, and from 1793 until today his family has recorded the pedigree of each and every racehorse in subsequent volumes.
Restrictions Come In
By the early 1800s, only horses descended from those in the General Stud Book were allowed to race. They were called Thoroughbreds, and each one can be traced back to one of three stallions, known as the foundation sires. These were Byerley Turk, foaled c. 1679, Darley Arabian, foaled c. 1700, and Godolphin Arabian, foaled c. 1724.
Secretariat, ranked by most as the best racehorse in history, was an American Thoroughbred descended from Darley Arabian, who, in 1973, became the first winner of the Triple Crown in 25 years. In a career spanning just 16 months, he emerged victorious a total of 16 times, taking second place only three times and placing third just once. He generated winnings of US$1 316 808.