The history of horse races in India

Horse racing in India is a very famous sport loved by millions of India country wide. As much as people of India love horse race as a sport they also love it for its betting opportunities. This sport is over 200 years old in India. The first ever horse race course in the country was set up in Madras now called Chennai in the year 1777. Today, horse race as a sport has deepen its root in India. Right now, India has six major horse race tracks countrywide.

Furthermore, India is now very well established in horse racing and breeding industry. Horse race was first established in India as a part of sports for Kings. From being just a sport of kings, horse race has become a big gambling industry in India. Currently India has developed well established breeding industry. They also import exotic stallions from all over the world. Let is discuss in details about the history of horse races in India.

Tracing the History of Horse Racing in India

Let us take it from the start when horse was an uncommon animal in India. In ancient times the horse was quite rare and it was not until fleets from Persia had arrived loaded with horses. After that, this new animal named horse altered the situation. All Indian kingdoms were faced with grave danger of enemies having mighty cavalry so they had to increase the numbers of horse and horsemen in order to protect their kingdom and survive. This is how horse were brought and bred in India in past. The first ever horse race course in the country was set up in Guindy, Madras now called Chennai in the year 1777. At that time India was a colony of the British. The concept of horse races was brought to India by the British government.

The First Derby in India

The first Indian Derby was held in 1943. And it was won by a filly named Princess Beautiful. It was owned by the Maharaja of Baroda. This filly was ridden by an Australian jockey named Edgar Britt. First time in history an Indian man named Kheem Singh broke the monopoly of foreign jockeys by winning the Indian Derby. He rode the horse named Balam in 1949.

With the Horse Race came Gambling

Horse races were an instant hit after several horse races in the country. And with the incoming of horse race gambling also knocked the door of Indians. During the Year 1992, Horse race betting was accepted only by bookmakers. After which the government of the presidency abolished all bookmakers from the country. According to the RWITC records, after abolishing the bookmaker system they established a new form of regulating bodies to regulate all horse racing betting. They introduced the tote monopoly.

The Tote System of Horse Race Gambling

The tote was a modern system of betting at that time. It was essentially based on the use of totalisators. These totalisators were managed by the club in which dividends were calculated. It was done according to the amount staked rather than the odds offered at the time. After that Indians had easy access to place their bets which led to footfall at the race course to increase. After few years in 1925 the Tote systems were made automated using modern technology at that time.

Now an operated tote was installed which further laid foundation to the most popular form of tote betting, the jackpot pool, which was loved by the audience and filled the seats at the race course. In recent times, this horse race gambling has partially moved to online betting websites. With the internet boom in India, many Indians who can not attend these horse races can now easily have access to these betting and earn money. You can learn more about these online horse race betting websites online which you can find here.


The history of horse race is very rich. It is true that in terms of sports Indians love cricket more than horse racing but no one can deny that the historic value of horse race is much more than of the cricket. The horse as an animal has a long history. There are several evidences of horses in France in the Neolithic age and in Egypt in the 18th century BC. But horses were not a common animal in Indian sub-continent. It was the Persians who brought ships full of horses to Indian coasts. Thus began the road to the history making events of horse racing.

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