Horse racing is a popular and longstanding sport in Japan. For most Japanese, it is more than just a sport. Horse racing has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and it is an integral part of the country’s rich sporting history. Today, there are many race tracks in Japan that host horse racing events, and the sport attracts a large and dedicated following. Horse racing in Japan is organized and regulated by the Japan Racing Association (JRA), which is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the sport in the country.
The sport is divided into two main categories: flat racing and jump racing. Flat racing, also known as thoroughbred racing, involves horses running on a flat course, while jump racing involves horses running over obstacles. Both types of racing are popular in Japan, and there are many prestigious races held throughout the year, including the Japan Cup and the Arima Kinen.
Horse racing in Japan is also closely linked to the country’s gambling industry, and many people enjoy placing bets on races as a form of entertainment. Speaking of betting as a form of entertainment, the current trends have seen horse racing getting more popular in African continent just like the Asian continent.
Horse Racing Championships in Japan
There are several major horse racing championships in Japan including:
The Japan Cup is an annual horse race held at Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu, Tokyo. It is a Grade 1 flat race for thoroughbred horses and features a run distance of 2,400 meters or about 1.5 miles. The race kicked off in 1981 and has since become one of the most prestigious and lucrative races in Japan, with a total prize purse of ¥432 million (about $4 million). The Japan Cup is open to horses of all ages and attracts top horses from around the world. It is held on the fourth Sunday in November and is often considered the highlight of the Japanese racing season.
The Japan Derby is an annual horse race held at Tokyo Racecourse. The Grade 1 flat race is designed for three year old thoroughbreds, and is run over a distance of 2,400 meters (about 1.5 miles). The race was first held in 1932 and has been held on the third Sunday in May ever since. In most cases, it is considered a key preparatory race for the Japan Cup.
The Arima Kinen, sometimes called the “Japanese Grand Prix.” is another annual horse race held at Nakayama Racecourse in Funabashi, Chiba. Like other racing events, it is a Grade 1 flat race for horses of all ages. This race features a run distance of 2,500 meters (about 1.5 miles). The first time the race was held was in 1956.
The Takarazuka Kinen is an annual horse race held at Hanshin Racecourse in Takarazuka, Hyogo. The race was first held in 1960, and is held on the second Sunday in June. This race is usually in preparation for the Arima Kinen.
The Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) is an annual horse race held at Kyoto Racecourse in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. It is a Grade 1 flat race for three-year-old thoroughbreds, and is run over a distance of 3,000 meters (about 1.9 miles). Established in 1936, the race has since become one of the most prestigious races in Japan for three-year-old horses.
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