Horse racing originated in the ancient world of the Greeks. And like many other events in history, this sport was forwarded to Romans that have learned to be obsessive about the sport. The Greeks back then incorporated this game in the Olympics, which helped it gain natural popularity.
The origin of the game in United Kingdom though starts with the importation of Arabian stallions into England during and after the Crusades. The amalgamation of the stock from Middle East as well as the breeds in Europe resulted in the emergence of a swift runner having a steady build.
Throughout Europe’s horse racing history, we can notice that the sport was dedicated primarily to the noble and royal families alone. The commoners served as the spectators.
The fact is, 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 very own initiatives.
Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the development of various racing arenas throughout 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 associated with 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 short, they formalized the sport, as we know of today during 1750s. The Jockey Club has also been responsible for early determination of breeding lines of the horses.
James Weatherby, the official of 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, various types were formed. These are called as the classics.
One of the most popular are St. Leger that was founded during 1776, the Oaks which was founded three years after, the next year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas which was created 5 years after.
All these, among other events, were created from the formation of the Jockey Club.
St. Leger was founded by a former Irish soldier Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St Leger. The very first event under this category was held 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 seem to have switched to more glamorous distances. The game existed for 227 years but was canceled in the Civil War.
This horse racing event rooted from the race that was devised by Edward Smith Stanley who had been the Earl of Derby during 1779. 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 grown to be successful and the following year saw the second race of this type.
The actual race ended up being founded after the Earl won in a bet on flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an excellent racing figure.
These are just two of the most famous English Classics. Central to all these is the fact that inspite of the presence of horse racing among other cultures, Europe is still credited for being the proponent for the 1st formal exhibition of horse racing.