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Horse Racing History - History & Evolution of Horse Racing

History & Evolution of Horse Racing

Horse racing is a very complex sport, and even the most authoritative figures are learning something new every day. There are so many aspects to horse racing, and each aspect represents a lifestyle for thousands of people. We added this section to give our players an opportunity to become familiar with a very broad stroke of the entire horse racing industry. A lot of the information contained here will not necessarily make you a better player in our free virtual horse racing game, but will give you a general knowledge of this amazing sport. When we look at horse racing, we look at it as almost an artistic evolution.

The race horses of today are so spectacular due to the many generations of breeding perfection. Some of the racetracks, the history and culture behind them, are absolutely amazing. When playing our 3D simulation horse racing game, think of some of that culture and history. It will make our horse race game that much more enjoyable. Imagine being the trainer or jockey of one of the original superstars from which today's great horses have evolved. When you think about it that way and you look back upon horse racing's history and at the same time get involved with our computer horse racing game, you will really find yourself playing with true emotion and passion.


There are many free horse race games out there. Some of these computer games offer different levels of functions and features than others. It was our idea from the start, when building our virtual horse racing game, to do it in such a manner that we could help form the bond between virtual and reality, bringing out the emotions and passion from our game players while interacting with our horse racing game. It's our intention to get our players so involved in our free horse game and so active in our horse racing community, that it will take the level of competition among our game players far beyond that of not only the typical computer horse racing games or simulation games, but beyond that of all fantasy sports games, as well. This is why we believe an introduction to this amazing evolution of the wonderful world of horse racing is required. Enjoy the information - and then enjoy our horse racing game!

HORSE RACING : ORIGINS, INFLUENCERS AND MODERN DAY


History and Evolution of Horse Racing

Horse racing is more than the popular once-a-year Kentucky Derby. Horse racing has a rich history that extends back into even before the colonization of the United States. From its origins to today, horse racing has certainly had a large impact on the world of betting and it continues to hold a big influence today.

Historically, horse racing began in the 12th century, when English knights returned from the Crusades with swift Arab horses. Over the next 400 years, an increasing number of Arab stallions were imported and bred to English mares to produce racing horses that combined speed and endurance. Matching the fastest of these animals in races with two contenders for a private wager became a popular diversion of the nobility.

Further in horse racing history, it began to become a professional sport during the reign (1702-14) of Queen Anne, when match racing gave way to horse races involving several on which the spectators wagered. Racecourses sprang up all over England, offering increasingly large purses to attract the best race horses. These purses in turn made breeding and owning horses for racing profitable. With the rapid expansion of the sport came the need for a central governing authority. In 1750, racing's elite met at Newmarket to form The Jockey Club, which to this day exercises complete control over English racing.

In English horse racing history, The Jockey Club wrote the complete rules of racing and sanctioned racecourses to conduct meetings under those rules. Standards defining the quality of horse racing soon led to the designation of certain races as the ultimate tests of excellence. Since 1814, five horse races for three-year-olds have been designated as "classics." Three races open to both males (colts) and females (fillies), make up the English Triple Crown: the 2,000 Guineas, the Epsom Derby and the St. Leger Stakes. Two horse races, open to fillies only, are the 1,000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks.

The Jockey Club also took steps to regulate race horse breeding. James Weatherby, whose family served as accountants to the members of the Jockey Club, was assigned the task of tracing the pedigree, or complete family history, of every horse racing in England. In 1791 the results of his research were published as the Introduction to the General Stud Book. From 1793 to the present, members of the Weatherby family have meticulously recorded the pedigree of every foal born to those racehorses in subsequent volumes of the General Stud Book. By the early 1800s the only race horses that could be called "Thoroughbreds" and allowed to race were those descended from horses listed in the General Stud Book. Thoroughbreds are so inbred that the pedigree of every single animal can be traced back father-to-father to one of three stallions, called the "foundation sires."

The text that follows will walk you through the inner workings of today's modern horse racing industry, including its main governing body (The Jockey Club), the pedigree bible of horses (General Stud Book, American Stud Book and others), the founding "fathers" of Thoroughbred racing (foundation sires) and wrap up with a discussion about horse racing today in America.

As you read through this material you might also consider learning how to actual participate in horse racing through our exciting online virtual horse racing game by visiting www.horseracegame.com.

To read more about the history of horse racing click here.

BREEDING THOROUGHBRED RACE HORSES


horse breeding

Horse breeding refers to reproduction of horses, and particularly the human-directed process of selective breeding of animals, particularly purebred horses of a given breed. While feral and wild horses breed successfully without human assistance, planned matings can be used to produce specifically desired characteristics in domesticated horses. Furthermore, modern breeding management and technologies can increase the rate of conception, a healthy pregnancy, and successful foaling.

The male parent of a horse, a stallion, is commonly known as the sire and the female parent, the mare, is called the dam. Both are genetically important, as each parent provides half of the genetic makeup of the ensuing offspring, called a foal. (Contrary to popular misuse, the word "colt" refers to a young male horse only; "filly" is a young female.) Though many amateur horse owners may simply breed a family mare to a local stallion in order to produce a companion animal, most professional breeders use selective breeding to produce individuals of a given phenotype, or horse breed. Alternatively, a horse breeder could, using individuals of differing phenotypes, create a new horse breed with specific characteristics.

Some horse breeders consider the quality of the sire to be more important than the quality of the dam. However, other breeders maintain that the mare is the most important parent. Because stallions can produce far more offspring than mares, a single stallion can have a greater overall impact on a breed. However, the mare may have a greater influence on an individual foal because its physical characteristics influence the developing foal in the womb and the foal also learns habits from its dam when young. Foals may also learn the "language of intimidation and submission" from their dam, and this imprinting may affect the foal's status and rank within the herd. Many times, a mature horse will achieve status in a herd similar to that of its dam; the offspring of dominant mares become dominant themselves.

The Thoroughbred remains one of the most important breeds used in modern horse breeding. They have been incredibly influential on many of the favorite breeds of today, including the American Quarter Horse, the Morgan (a breed that went on to influence many of the gaited breeds in America), the Standardbred, and others. Along with the Arabian, the Thoroughbred continues to be a favorite as an improver of breeds. This is most notable in the Warmblood breeds, which occasionally infuse the hotter, leaner Thoroughbred blood when needed.

While the Thoroughbred is sometimes referred to as a “purebred”, it is really a single breed itself, rather than the avatar of all horse breeds. Like all breeds, the Thoroughbred has distinct characteristics that define its beauty and worth, such as a well chiseled head on a long neck, high withers, a deep chest, a short back, good depth of hindquarters, a lean body, and long legs. Thoroughbreds are also praised for their great speed, temperament and appearance. They have large expressive eyes, long legs and very thin skin, allowing us to see the vessels and muscles. The strength of the breed is explained by the large heart and lungs.

Thoroughbreds are often crossed with horses of other breeds to add speed and refinement. Thoroughbreds are classified among the "hot-blooded" breeds, animals bred for agility and speed, generally considered spirited and bold.

Thoroughbred

Registration

Unlike most registered breeds today, a horse cannot be registered as a Thoroughbred (with the Jockey Club registry) unless it is conceived by "live cover;" that is, by the witnessed natural mating of a mare and a stallion. Artificial insemination, though legal and commonly utilized in other horse breeds, cannot be used with Thoroughbreds. Originally this was because blood typing and DNA testing had not yet developed to a degree adequate to verify parentage. Today the reasons may be more economic: a stallion has a limited number of mares who can be serviced by live cover. Thus, the practice prevents an oversupply of Thoroughbreds to some extent. (Though modern management still allows a stallion to live cover more mares in a season than once was thought possible.) By allowing a stallion to only cover a couple hundred mares a year rather than the couple thousand possible with artificial insemination, it also preserves the high prices paid for horses of the finest or most popular lineages.