A history lesson in modern-day horse racing events
Britain is considered to be the birthplace of many of the world’s much-loved sports, and one of those is horse racing. The kind of horse racing events that we see drawing huge numbers of spectators and bettors in today’s era actually originated in the U.K. It is believed that the first and oldest horse racing event was the Kiplingcotes Derby, which began way back in 1519 up in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
Across the pond from Britain in the United States, there are several tracks that are considered to be the oldest in the country. As far as major sporting venues go, many consider the New York based Saratoga Race Course to be the oldest of its kind in the States, with the first modern-day event taking place in the mid-1800s.
The United Kingdom versus The United States
Horse racing is a big deal across the world, and no more so than in places like the United Kingdom and the United States. They are both home to some of the most famous racing events around the world and routinely draw enormous crowds and tv viewers each year.
In the U.K. the horse racing event regarded as the number one in the country is the Grand National without a doubt. It is the one that has the largest TV audience and is the one that is able to capture the attention of everybody in the country. One of the reasons the Grand National has become such a big event on the calendar is the betting. While gambling is not for everyone, you’ll often find that those people who only bet once a year are betting on the Grand National. Whether it be direct from the bookmakers down at the race for those lucky enough to go, or from a U.K. online betting site, the thrill of watching your horse score you some extra cash is a big part of what makes this such an exciting day for many.
Another reason for the popularity of this event is the drama. Due to the nature of the course, the unexpected is often expected with lots of shock wins and favorites falling at the fences. The culture at this event is also massive and typically British. Everyone flocks to Aintree dressed to the nines, ready to watch some horse racing and potentially make some money, all in a very British fashion.
The Grand National, however, is not the only major horse racing event that the U.K. is blessed with. Others with an enormous reputation both nationally and around the world are The Royal Ascot, Epsom Derby, Scottish Grand National, and of course, Cheltenham Festival. The latter is considered as one of the biggest and sees the world’s best jump racing horses feature at this racecourse. Not only are the horses some of the finest, the very best of Britain and Ireland’s trainers and jockeys battle it out as the noisy Cheltenham crowd cheers them on.
In the whole of horse racing, the U.S.’s Kentucky Derby is arguably the number one race in the world. The world’s most elite horses and jockeys make their way to Louisville ready to go full throttle straight to the finish line, with the hope of winning horse racing’s greatest prize and cement themselves as legends of the sport. Just like the Grand National, betting on this race offers plenty of thrilling scenarios with the favorites tending to do well compared to other events.
The U.S. also possesses an exceptional schedule of horse racing with the addition of Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Breeders’ Cup, and Travers Stakes. One of the biggest draws to horse racing as a sport is betting. It is a hugely significant cultural and economic aspect that up until 2018, posed some challenges to the industry in the U.S. Gambling as a whole was illegal, with the exception being horse racing. The decision on gambling was passed over to the states with many now opening their doors to the gambling industry. On the other hand, it is taking much longer for others to completely accept gambling, particularly online gambling. The state of New York for example has legalized casinos, but has favored more live horse racing and off-track betting, with horse racing being the only form of legalized online gambling here.
So who takes it?
Two fierce destinations in the world of horse racing. It’s a very tough call to make about who is the best as both present strong claims for this victory. The U.K. has the most history and holds the crown as the pioneer as it is where the sport originated from. They also are home to a bunch of huge racing events that draw in huge spectators with it being the second-largest spectator sport in the country.
The U.S. on the other hand also boasts an impressive calendar of racing events and is the proud creator of the greatest race in the world — the Kentucky Derby which is able to sweep staggering amounts on the betting markets too. This alone could sway the decision stateside. Perhaps though, the culture, history, spectator numbers, and freedom to bet nationwide could be the reason why the U.K. has to take this one. What do you think?