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Arabian Racing Primer

Arabian horses have been the foundation of horse racing since the beginning. Horse racing is thought to have originated all the way back to the beginning of recorded history. It was a very popular sport in the Roman Empire and was also included in the ancient Greek Olympics. Now, it is one of the most widely attended spectator sports in America.

Modern horse racing as we know it originated in the 12th century when English knights returned from the Crusades with very fast, strong horses known as Arabian horses. They were unfamiliar to the English, but their traits were very desirable. Because of this, many more Arabian horses were imported to be bred with English mares for racing to produce a horse that had both speed and endurance. Beginning in 1679, England chose three sires that would end up being the foundation of all thoroughbred racehorses. These stallions were the Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian and today, most thoroughbreds have bloodlines tracing back to these three horses.

Around 1959, Purebred Arabian horse racing started being recognized as its own sport separate from that of thoroughbreds. Today, it is the fastest growing segment in the racing industry and the purse money is constantly increasing.

One very important organization involving Arabian racing, The Arabian Jockey Club, was created in 1987 and was officially chartered as a non-profit organization to represent Arabian Racing in the U.S. Their goal is to educate and promote Arabian racing. The President of the organization, Sue Meyer, states that there are many exciting events coming up involving Arabian racing, one of which is on June 15th. On this day, an event will take place at Churchill Downs called “Downs After Dark” that involves an Arabian race as the 10th race of the night. This event is sponsored by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Presidential Affairs and has a purse of $100,000. The Facebook page of the Arabian Jockey Club will be screening the entire event live, including behind-the-scenes interviews as well as a live screening of the race itself. The event will also be available for viewing after this date for viewers that were not able to watch live. For more information regarding Arabian racing, please visit

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