A horse race is a race between horses, usually for money. The winner earns the total purse. Races are organized by national associations, which often have rules that differ from each other. For example, the Derby is an American classic race. Some races are held in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa.
Before the Civil War, racetracks were found throughout the United States. They were typically open to the public, though the number of runners per race varied. There was also a variety of types of races, including stakes and allowance. Racing was also popular in neighboring countries.
The first horse racing club in the United States was created in 1734 by a group of wealthy horse owners in Charleston, South Carolina. These gentlemen competed against one another in the pursuit of trophies. In 1752, the first Thoroughbred race took place in Virginia.
It was held at Anderson’s Race Ground in Gloucester, Virginia, near Williamsburg. The race was advertised in the Annapolis Maryland Gazette. Eight horses participated in the race. One was the bay mare Selima, who had a white star on her forehead. Tasker decided to enter her, believing her to be a strong contender. However, the entry of this horse in a horse race on American soil triggered intense feelings of rage and passion among the people of Maryland.
The race was a contest between Maryland and Virginia. Both sides had been at odds over various issues, including land rights and the Chesapeake Bay. Byrd’s challenge to try and win the race by gambling with his newly imported horse, Tryal, drew a great deal of attention.
The jockeys in the era were young male slaves. Often, the best riders were put on the most prestigious horses. The average amount of money that was earned in a single race was considered a critical factor.
After the Civil War, speed became a major goal for racehorses. One way to measure a horse’s stamina was its average speed rating over the last four races. During this time, a race would typically consist of a quarter-mile sprint between two or more horses.
The average age of a horse was three years, though exceptions were made. This is why there are fewer horse races with horses over the age of four.
In the 1700s, a horse could only be entered in a race if it had not won more than a certain amount of money. There were only a handful of yards in a race, which made it a prestigious event for the affluent.
Initially, races were held in townships or counties. Eventually, more open events were formed with larger fields of runners. The first recorded racing purse was forty pounds for a three-mile race with knights.
In addition to the prize money, there were also sex allowances for fillies. The most expensive events in the United States were funded by the stakes fees paid by the owners.
At the end of the race, Rich Strike was first to the finish line. He sprinted up the rail and passed prerace favorites Epicenter and Zandon.