The History of Horse Races

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world. It started in about 4500BC when ancient nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia coined the idea of competitive horse racing. It was nothing more than a primal contest of speed and stamina between two horses, and the idea was so popular that it survived thousands of years to entertain us today.

Horse racing grew in popularity among the elite and was dubbed the “Sport of Kings.” Today, it’s one of the most popular spectator games in the world. The primary model of horse racing has undergone almost no change over the centuries.

Early History And Breeding

Modern horse racing goes back to the 12th century. During this period, English knights who returned from battle came back with Arabian horses. They found the Arabians to be a lot faster than the native horses, so to produce thoroughbreds, these animals were bred with English mares. Thoroughbreds presented more speed and endurance, a huge advantage in competitive racing.

During this era, horse racing involved thoroughbreds running at speed with a rider astride or the horse pulling a conveyance with a driver. Over the centuries, horse racing advanced from a pastime of the elite into a massive, public entertainment business.

It slowly evolved into a show, involving large fields of horses, contemporary electronic monitoring equipment, and huge sums of money.

Organised Racing

Between 1702 and 1714, horse racing quickly became a professional sport. It led to an emergence of racecourses around England that offered increasingly large rewards to attract the best horses.

The purses promoted the rapid expansion of this sport, garnering the need for a central governing authority. In 1750, horse racing’s elite met to create the Jockey Club, which still regulates English racing today.

Horse Racing In America

The British colonists were the first people to introduce horse racing to America in the 1600s. The sport grew in popularity among the Americans, leading to the development of the first racetrack in the United States in 1665 (what is now known as Nassau County, New York).

Over the next few decades, horse racing and gambling on horseraces exploded.

By 1890, the US had 314 tracks sprawled throughout the country, and in 1894, the nation’s biggest stable and trail owners met to form the American Jockey Club. The organisation took on the English Jockey Club model, ruling with an iron fist to eliminate the criminal elements that had previously dominated the tracks.


Horse racing has remained popular as one of the few forms of legal gambling throughout the world, and wagering on the outcome of horseraces is the primary source of appeal for the sport. Bettors wager on a myriad of combinations to try their luck, like which horse will win a race or which animals will take the first, second, and third positions.

Another popular racehorse wager is the Daily Double. It requires bettors to pick the winners of two consecutive races. Exactas requires bettors to select the first and second horses in order.

Some bookmakers, like SBOBET, offer bettors a chance to relish horse racing via virtual horse racing games, which can be even more appealing as an entertainment form.

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