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 back then incorporated this game in the Olympics, which helped it gain natural popularity.
The origin of the game in United Kingdom though begins with the importation of Arabian stallions into England during and after the Crusades. The combination from the stock from Middle East and the breeds in Europe led to the emergence of a swift runner having a steady build.
During the course of 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 private and public horse racing competitions held through their own initiatives.
Horse racing in Europe was marked later with the growth of various racing arenas throughout the land. However, professional horse racing occurred while in the 16th century once the great classics were established.
Before America had got its American Jockey Club, Europe had already established the very first governing body for horse racing. In accordance with this, they have already accomplished various things associated with horse racing.
The Jockey Club of England was established due to the movement initiated by the elite of horse racing. This then became the overseer of racetracks, races, standards for horse breeds, and event regulations and rules. In short, they formalized the sport, as we know of today during 1750s. The Jockey Club has also been the cause of early determination of breeding lines of the horses.
James Weatherby, the official from the Jockey Club was the first to distinguish the founding sires of the stallions that we now know as Thoroughbreds.
During the entire development of the sport, various 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 three years after, the following year produced the Derby, 2,000 Guineas in 1809 and 1000 Guineas which was created five years after.
All these, among other events, were created through the formation of the Jockey Club.
St. Leger was founded by a former Irish soldier Lieutenant Colonel Anthony St Leger. The first event under this category was held on September 24, 1776. It offers the longest distance among the 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 during the Civil War.
This horse racing event rooted from the race that was 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. It was named after his estate, Oaks. The race has become successful and the following year saw the 2nd race of this type.
The actual race was then founded after the Earl won in a game of flipped coin with his friend Sir Charles Bunbury, then was an excellent racing figure.
These are merely 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.