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Horse racing in the United States

Horse racing in the United States dates back to 1665, which saw the establishment of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York, a section of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains of Long Island, New York. This first racing meet in North America was supervised by New York's colonial governor, Richard Nicolls. The area is now occupied by the present Nassau County, New York, region of Greater Westbury and East Garden City.

Thoroughbred racing in the United States

The American Stud Book was started in 1868, prompting the beginning of organized horse racing in the United States.

Horse racing, especially thoroughbred racing, was a sport enjoyed by all during the progressive era. According to Steven A. Reiss "Thoroughbred racing was the rare sport that was trending with both social and economic elites and the lower classes". Horse racing was an enamored sport that was popular for its time in all regions of the United States and took a downturn for a while as the economy, gambling reformers and some interest faded. Reiss states that post-Civil War America was the rebirth of the horse racing sport and it relied on the status of men who bred and raced horses and operated jockey clubs and racetracks. "The powerful alliance between urban machine politicicns and racetrack owners enabled thoroughbred racing in New York to flourish for about for forty-five years without interruption". Horse racing endured several ups and downs throughout the era to include socioeconomic status, political gain, morality imposition or just a mere stronghold for the pleasure of the sport.

There were 314 tracks operating in the United States by 1890; and in 1894, the American Jockey Club was formed. The anti-gambling sentiment prevalent in the early 20th century led almost all states to ban bookmaking. Bookmaking is the process of taking bets, calculating odds, and paying out winnings. This nearly eliminated horse racing altogether. When parimutuel betting was introduced in 1908, the racing industry turned around. Horse racing flourished until World War II. The sport did not regain popularity in the United States until horses began to win the Triple Crown, a series of three races, consisting of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes.

Endurance racing

Contemporary organized Endurance racing began in California around 1955, and the first race marked the beginning of the Tevis Cup This race was a one-hundred-mile, one-day-long ride starting in Squaw Valley, Placer County, and ending in Auburn. Founded in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was the United States' first national endurance riding association.

Quarter horse racing

The first record of quarter mile length races dated back to 1674 in Henrico County, Virginia. Each race consisted of only two horses and they raced down the village streets and lanes. The Quarter Horse received its name due to the length of the race. The races were indeed "a quarter" of a mile, or 400 meters. The breed of horse was developed so they could get off to a quick start, and win the race.

Major racetracks

Belmont Park is part of the western edge of the Hempstead Plains. Its mile-and-a-half main track is the largest dirt Thoroughbred race course in the world, and it has the sport's largest grandstand.

One of the latest major horse track opened in the United States was the Meadowlands Racetrack opened in 1977 for Thoroughbred racing. It is the home of the Meadowlands Cup. Other more recently opened tracks include Remington Park, Oklahoma City, opened in 1988, and Lone Star Park in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, opened in 1997; the latter track hosted the prestigious Breeders' Cup series of races in 2004.

The Thoroughbred horse racing in the United States Hall of Fame is in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Hall of Fame honors remarkable horses, jockeys, owners, and trainers.

In North America, most racehorses are stabled in the backstretch of the racetrack at which their trainers are based. The backstretch has extensive facilities to house the horses and workers.


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