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Who Started Horse Racing?

Horse racing is a beloved sport that has been around for centuries. It is considered to be one of the oldest forms of organized competition in the world, with evidence of horse racing as far back as the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. But who exactly started this thrilling and exciting sport?

The Origins of Horse Racing

Horse racing has been around for thousands of years, with evidence pointing to ancient civilizations in both Greece and Rome. In these civilizations, chariot racing was a popular form of entertainment and competition. Chariot racing was a dangerous sport, with chariots reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. As chariot racing declined, horse racing began to take its place.

The Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks were among the first to use horses for racing. This was primarily done as a form of entertainment, but also served as a way to select the best horses for breeding purposes. The Greeks would race their horses in a hippodrome, a large oval track made of dirt or stone.

The Ancient Romans

The ancient Romans were also known for their love of horse racing. The Roman Empire had a strong affinity for chariot racing, and it wasn’t long before they began to incorporate horses into their races. The Romans were the first to use a starting gate, and they also created a type of betting system known as parimutuel betting.

The Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, horse racing began to become more organized. This was largely due to the influence of the Church, which saw horse racing as a way to bring people together. This period saw the development of the first jockey clubs, which were responsible for setting rules and regulations for the sport.

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The Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period of great innovation and technological advancement. Horse racing was no exception, and this period saw the development of the modern flat racing. This type of horse racing is still popular today, and involves horses racing on a flat track for a set distance.

The 18th Century

The 18th century saw the development of the modern thoroughbred horse. This was the result of a combination of various breeds, including Arabian, Barb and Turkoman horses. This new breed was used for horse racing, and was the foundation for the sport as it is known today.

The 19th Century

The 19th century was a period of great change and innovation in horse racing. The sport became more organized and regulated, and horse racing tracks began to sprout up across the country. This period also saw the rise of professional jockeys, and the development of handicap racing.

The 20th Century

The 20th century saw the continued growth of the sport. This period saw the development of the modern sports betting system, and the introduction of the photo finish camera. This allowed for a more accurate determination of the winner of a race.

The 21st Century

The 21st century has seen the continued growth of the sport. Horse racing is now a multi-billion-dollar industry, with tracks around the world. Technology has also continued to play a role in the sport, with the introduction of the internet and online betting.


Horse racing has been around for centuries, and its origins can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. The sport has continued to evolve and develop over the centuries, and today it is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Horse racing is a beloved sport that continues to thrill and excite millions of people around the world.