Horse racing originated in the ancient world of the Greeks. And like many other events in history, this sport was passed on to Romans that have learned to be obsessed with the sport. The Greeks in those days incorporated this game in the Olympics, which helped it gain natural popularity.
The original source of the game in United Kingdom though begins with the importation of Arabian stallions into England during and after the Crusades. The combination of the stock from Middle East and the breeds in Europe resulted in the emergence of a swift runner having a steady build.
During the course of Europe’s horse racing history, we can easily observe that the sport was dedicated primarily to the noble and royal families alone. The commoners served as the spectators.
In fact, Charles II and Queen Anne were known to have been enthusiastic about horse racing that both had public and private horse racing competitions held through their own initiatives.
Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the development of various racing arenas over the land. However, professional horse racing occurred during the 16th century when the great classics were established.
Even before America had got its American Jockey Club, Europe had already established the first governing body for horse racing. In line with this, they have already accomplished various things pertaining to horse racing.
The Jockey Club of England was established because of the movement initiated by the elite of horse racing. This then became the overseer of racetracks, races, standards for horse breeds, and event rules and regulations. In other words, they formalized the sport, as you may know in the present day during 1750s. The Jockey Club has also been the cause of the early determination of breeding lines of the horses.
James Weatherby, the official from the Jockey Club was the first person to distinguish the founding sires of the stallions that we now know as Thoroughbreds.
Throughout the development of the game, different types were formed. These are known as the classics.
One of the most popular are St. Leger that was founded during 1776, the Oaks that was founded 3 years after, the following year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas that was created 5 years after.
Each one of these, among other events, were created from the formation of the Jockey Club.
St. Leger was founded by the former Irish soldier Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St Leger. The very first event under this category occured on September 24, 1776. It has the longest distance among the list of English Classics, which ran over 132 yards, 1m and 6f.
On our present sense, this range was relatively short which led to questioning its worth since ranges appear to have switched to more glamorous distances. This game existed for 227 years but was canceled in the Civil War.
This horse racing event rooted from a race that had been devised by Edward Smith Stanley who was the Earl of Derby during 1779. Along with his friends, they meant to race only among themselves over 1 1/2 miles. This was named after his estate, Oaks. The race has become successful and the following year saw the 2nd race of its kind.
The actual race was then founded once the Earl won in a game of flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an outstanding racing figure.
These are merely a couple of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is the fact that despite the presence of horse racing among other cultures, Europe continues to be credited for being the proponent for the 1st formal exhibition of horse racing.