Racing trials of speed between two or more horses. It involves races among harnessed horses with different gaits (pacers and trotters), saddled thoroughbreds along a flat track, and saddled horses over an obstacle course (steeplechase). Horse races are recorded as early as 1500 B.C. in Egypt, but the organized sport dates from 12th-cent. England.
In the U.S. the institution of legalized pari-mutuel betting has made horse racing the leading spectator sport. In the U.S. the most important flat-racing events (all for three-year-olds) are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes, known as the Triple Crown.