From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Greece, Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC. In the Roman Empire, chariot and mounted horse racing were major industries. Thoroughbred racing was, and is, popular with the aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings." The style of racing, the distances and the type of events vary significantly by the country in which the race is occurring, and many countries offer different types of horse races. There are three major types of racing: flat racing, steeplechasing (racing over jumps), and harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in 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. Various types of racing have given rise to horse breeds that excel in the specific disciplines of each sport. Breeds that may be used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint, and Appaloosa. Steeplechasing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. Harness racing is dominated by Standardbred horses in Australia, New Zealand and North America, but several other breeds, such as the Russian Trotter and Finnhorse, are seen in Europe..