Top 5 Russian racetracks steeped in tradition (PHOTOS)

Russians have been fascinated by horse racing since the early 1830s. Their love for the game has definitely stood the test of time, and it’s easy to see why. Sport is filled with fun, exciting and learning activities for the whole family.

5. Krasnodar Racecourse

The southern climate means that it is almost always warm here, so it is possible to train racehorses even in winter.

Thoroughbred horses, Arabs and Akhal-Tekes call the Krasnodar course their home. The history of the site dates back to 1868 when the first equestrian competitions of the Kuban (the sunny geographic region of southern Russia, on the Black Sea) were held here for the very first time. The Kuban Cossack Ataman and the region’s governor, Count Sumarokov-Elston, have established annual horse races to encourage horse breeding and the development of horsemanship in the country.

Some 150 years later, it seems his pro-horse policy is still a success, with horse racing drawing healthy crowds of people hoping to see a spectacular spectacle.

4. Pyatigorsk Racecourse

One of the oldest and largest racetracks in Russia, the Pyatigorsk site officially opened in 1885. The Stavropol region course is located on the outskirts of the southern city of Pyatigorsk, approximately 1,500 km from Moscow.

During the Great Patriotic War, when Pyatigorsk was occupied by Nazi troops, no horse races were held there. After the liberation of the city, the hippodrome was relaunched again in 1944. Along with half-blood breeds and thoroughbred horses, Arabian horses entered the Pyatigorsk track, and until 2001 the The Pyatigorsk racecourse was the only one in Russia where thoroughbred Arabian horses were prepared for equestrian sports.

In summer, the spacious race track, surrounded by mountains and bleached by the southern sun, hosts some of the most exciting equestrian events.

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3. Grozny Racecourse

A brand new equestrian center opened in the Chechen capital of Grozny in October 2021.

According to the TASS news agency, the new course is set to become one of the main sporting venues in Russia and has a capacity of 3,000 horse fans. It will host thoroughbred horse races.

The new facility includes a veterinary center, a variety of buildings and equestrian spaces, stables and sheds, as well as indoor and outdoor pools for horses. Aspiring cowboys will have the chance to take a riding lesson.

Horse enthusiasts will also learn about safety, horse care, saddling, trail rides and other activities. It is common knowledge that horseback riding is a great cardiovascular exercise that will tone your stomach and legs.

2. Kazan circuit

The history of the Kazan Hippodrome dates back to 1868, when the first horse races were held next to the large and beautiful Kaban Lakes.

Over the centuries, architectural forms have evolved and developed, adapting to the new reality on the ground. There are twelve stables at the facility, where racehorses live and train.

Many horse races are held regularly at the Kazan Hippodrome, which is large enough to accommodate some 6,000 spectators. With a total area of ​​almost 90 hectares, it is the largest in Russia and one of the largest in Europe. There is also a Horse Racing Museum which showcases decades of riding in Russia.

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1. Central Moscow Hippodrome

The so-called Moscow Hippodrome is a historical monument and a major tourist attraction. The first horse races were held here in 1834.

The Moscow Hippodrome has long been associated with the royal family of the Romanovs. Alexander Nikolaevich Romanov (the future Alexander II) visited the hippodrome in 1837. In 1851, horse races were held exclusively for Emperor Alexander II, Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolaevich (the first cousin of Nicholas II once removed), as well as Prince Karl of Prussia and Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar.

But horse racing did not only attract men. In 1876, Maria Fyodorovna, wife of Russian Emperor Alexander III, attended a horse race. In the same year, the first horse betting tote boards were launched at the Moscow Hippodrome.

After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, when Russia was divided by civil war, Vladimir Lenin addressed the proletariat at the Moscow Hippodrome, which served primarily as a political gathering place at the time. When the Great Patriotic War broke out, the cries of the jockeys had to be interrupted again, the equestrian center being evacuated first to Kuibyshev (now Samara), then to Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) for security reasons. In 1949, the building and stalls were burnt almost to the ground.

In 1955, the legendary Russian architect Ivan Zholtovsky designed the new building, considered a gem of Soviet architecture. The Moscow Hippodrome, which can seat 3,500 spectators, has become the city’s iconic postcard.

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Some of the most popular races it hosts these days are the President’s Cup horse race in the summer and the Russian Troika Championship in the winter. The traditional troika (a sleigh pulled by three horses) first appeared in Russia in the 18th century, with the first race taking place in Moscow in 1847.

It’s always a great show for families looking for a fun way to let go of the winter blues.

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