The oldest horse race in the world? I don’t think so; there are plenty of them around, but this one is the oldest. It’s probably no older than the first race in the USA, or more than four years earlier.
This isn’t even the oldest horse race in the world, though, nor even one of the oldest races in the world. That’d be the race held in Kentucky in 2004. Kentucky holds a record for the oldest race ever, although it’s in a different state – the record stands for the longest single continuous race: 14 hours, 3 minutes.
It’s not exactly a surprise that the oldest horse race in the world happened in the mid-1990s. For almost thirty years, a horse from the US had been waiting to run with the horses of the UK: the two best horses in the world racing in the United Kingdom were the two best horses in the world, in any race, ever: Triple Crown winners, the Kentucky Derby and Belmont. (And if it wasn’t for American horse racing, these horses are probably a long way down this list.)
And in a race with this kind of history, the fastest horse in the world, a 12-year old Scottish colt, won. For nearly a decade, the best colt horses were from Kentucky. In 2001, the Belmont Stakes was held in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the world’s largest horse race by some distance. And despite some major media reports of horse racing as a “race for the money”, the prize money was small enough that the money winner only spent $2,800.
So naturally, a boy from Kentucky won at the Belmont. That young colt, named “Lucky”, won the Belmont Stakes the following year in his home town, as well as a US$500,000 purse.
Lucky, the fastest horse on the planet, retired after the Belmont. And in 2012 the Belmont had its 100th anniversary at the Belmont Stakes; that is, the biggest and fastest race of the Belmont Stakes took place this year: there were only eleven different Belmont Stakes with over one million fans, and all of those came from the Belmont Mile. (Some of those people were likely to have watched the race live; that’s also why the first mile of the Belmont Stakes at mile 22 was a mile slower than the first mile of the Kentucky Derby.)
As of this year,
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