Saturday, June 18, 2011

First Arabian race running at Churchill Downs - Full Article

June 18 2011

by Jessie Oswald

Race 6 at Churchill Downs today is the Grade 1 $50,000 The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup. The race is open to Arabian horses four years old and up. This is the first time Churchill Downs has held an Arabian race.

Although Arabian racing is unknown to most thoroughbred race fans, the thoroughbred owes its beginnings to the Arabian breed. The English breeders wanted to add speed and endurance to their horses, so they bred them to Arabians. The Darley Arabian was brought to England in 1704. This horse was the great-great grandsire of Eclipse, who was undefeated in 21 races. 90% of today's thoroughbreds can be traced back to this male line.

The first Arabian race ran in the U.S. occurred in 1959 at Laurel Race Course in Maryland. Last October, Keeneland held its first Arabian race in which Grilla won the race. Grilla is the favorite in today's race at Churchill Downs.

If thoroughbreds are a mix of Arabians, does that mean you should handicap an Arabian race the same as you would a thoroughbred race? The answer is yes and no. Arabians generally run much slower than thoroughbreds. On average, Arabians will run a mile about 10 seconds slower than a thoroughbred...

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