Oct 17, 2008

Mornington Racecourse

Long delay between posts, and it is going to be that way for a while because I haven´t finished up moving yet. Anyway, this is a strange track, kind of a romboid shape, with a short straight (less than 300m long), 1000m, 1200m and 1600m chutes, and a total circumference of 1800m. It also has several dirt training tracks.

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Sep 23, 2008

Hipódromo do Cristal

It seems that in Brazil every time they look for a place to build a racetrack they look for a spot near a river (just kidding!).

This is Porto Alegre´s racetrack, inaugurated in 1959 it has a 1928m dirt oval with a 700m straight, a 1600m chute off the backstretch and a 1900m chute off the clubhouse turn. It also has an inner turf oval with two far turns, with the larger oval measuring 1780m.

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Sep 15, 2008

Los Alamitos Race Course

This is a quarter-horse racing venue in Los Angeles, California. It has a 1000m dirt oval with a 500m straight and a 900m chute off the backstretch.

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Sep 7, 2008

Hipodromo Los Comuneros

This is the local racetrack in Medellin, Colombia. It is a regular dirt oval with one chute in each turn, the one in the far turn for 1800m races and the one in the clubhouse turn for 1100m races. The total length of the oval is of 1280m, and curiously it doesn´t have an inner track.

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Aug 30, 2008

Ascot Park in Invercargill

So, what is so special about this racecourse you may ask? Well, I´ve been doing some research and it seems it is the southernmost racetrack of the world. Of corse I could be wrong but I scouted Argentina and Chile´s south and didn´t find any.

This is a 1880m left-handed racecourse with three chutes, and an alternate track for steeplechase. It also has two completely separate inner dirt tracks, and both inner tracks have inner turf tracks. It has a remarkable square form.

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Google Maps is getting stubborn...

.. it won´t let me use plain maps.google.com in english, since I live in a spanish speaking country. So from now on until I figure that out, all maps will be ourtesy of http://maps.google.co.uk

Aug 27, 2008

Epsom Downs

One of the most traditional European racecourses, this is a one-way track that zig-zags through english contryside. Obviously it´s distintive is that horses can´t "go around" it and once they are past the finish line they have a small "curl" where they stop and that´s all. There is a 5 furlong straight, 6f and 7f chutes, and then the main track, which has a maximun length of a mile and a half (around 2400m).

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Aug 25, 2008

Cidade Jardim

This is the racetrack of the São Paulo Jockey Club. It´s main turf oval has a circumference of over 2100m, with a 1000m straight course and a 2000m backstretch chute. The inner dirt track has a circumference of just under 2000m, and it also has a shorter far turn. There is also an irregular oval inside dirt track which is used only for training.

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Also, here you can see a beautiful night shot of the racetrack.

Aug 11, 2008

Corowa Racecourse

Located in a small town in Australia (yet again!) this is a 1860m grass irregular oval, with a 1000m chute off the far turn in a 90º angle, a 1400m backstretch chute and a 1600m near turn chute. It is very well aligned east-west, so the finish line is at the north-east corner.

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Jul 27, 2008

Hipodromo de Las Piedras

This is my other hometown racetrack. Located in the border between Montevideo department and Canelones department (you can clearly see the river that marks the border passing through the track!) this is a triangular dirt track with a 700m chute (it almost is a straight course), a 1300m chute and a 1500m chute. The total circumference of the track is just a tick above 1500m. The stretch is in the upper part of the picture. It is a small racetrack, but it was the center of Uruguay´s racing world while the main racetrack (Maroñas) was closed between 1997 and 2003.

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Hipodromo de San Isidro

One of the finest racetracks in the world. This is in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. It has a main turf track and an inner dirt track with two far turns. The "smaller" dirt track measures 2240m around and the big one 2600m. The main turf track measures a whooping 2780m around. It has a straight course of 1000m, a 1400m chute and a 2400m chute on the backstretch. If you look to the west there is a training track almost as big as the racetrack itself.

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Jul 24, 2008

Hipodromo de La Plata

This will be a straightforward post, so, this is in La Plata, in Argentina.

Track surface: Dirt
Track Circumference: 2050m
Chute: 1700m

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Since there is no chute in the far turn the sprints are run at least at 1100m and not less, since that involves starting in the turn itself. Also, there are no races between 1700m and 2100m. Which are, indeed, not-so-common distances.

Jul 20, 2008

Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo

This is one of the two main tracks in Argentina. Located near the city centre in Buenos Aires, the nation´s capital, this is a dirt triangular track with a circumference of little less than 2400m, or 12 furlongs. It features a 1000m straight, and also 1800m and 2200m small chutes. The 2000m races start in the little straight to the right of the picture. A railroad track runs alongside the backstretch.

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This is a 2500m race run there, the Gran Premio Nacional G.I won by brazilian Eu Tamben.

If you look to the north, you´ll see there is an airport less than a kilometre away from the backstretch.

Jul 19, 2008

Hipodromo Independencia

This is a dirt oval located in Rosario, Argentina. It has an oval of around 1785m, with chutes for 1000m, 1600m, 1700m, and one that looks like it measures 2350m, so I guess they use it for 2300m races. It is interesting to see how the racetrack is the only park in the middle of a big city.

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Jul 14, 2008

Ippodromo San Siro (Milan)

This is a large turf oval in Milan, Italy. It has 2 turns at each end of the track, so in theory there are 4 different ovals in there. The big one measures 2800m and the small one just over 2000m. The stretch is on the lower side of the image, and the finish line is just where the first turn starts, in front of the grandstand. I found this video of a 2400m race. The chute that starts in the lower right side of the image measures just over 1000m. The strange thing is that there is also a chute on the other end of the stretch.. I wonder if they also run left-handed races there? Also, you can see that there is a steeplechase track on the inside.

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Just to the south there is a smaller oval used for trotters, and you can also see Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (formerly also known as San Siro) where both Milan football teams play.

Jul 10, 2008

Coffs Harbour Racecourse

It is curious how almost every city in Australia has its own racecourse. According to Wikipedia Coffs Harbour has less than 30,000 inhabitants, but that doesn´t stop it from having a very nice turf oval, with the far turn bigger than the near one, and four chutes, one measuring only 600 metres from the finish line (I guess it is used rather for 2300m races) another one for 4 furlong (800m) races in the middle of the turn, then a 5 furlong (1000m) chute and at the top of the backstretch a mile (1600m) chute. The racetrack measures around 1700m.

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Jul 9, 2008

Happy Valley

With this one I complete my first goal, that is to have at least one track from every corner of the world. This is Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong. It is a very small irregular turf oval, mainly due to the land restrictions there are in Hong Kong (there isn´t much free space). The track is around 1400m or 7 furlongs around, and it has small chutes for 1000m races (which doubles for 2400m races), 1200m and 1800m. It has a very large grandstand which borders the track where the finish line is. I can´t post the map directly here, but you can see it through this link.

Jul 8, 2008

Nad Al Sheba

This is one of the best racecourses in the world, specially for the elevated purses it gives out, including the world`s richest dirt race, the Dubai World Cup (G.I) ran over 2000m every spring in the international meeting, where several G.I millionare races take place. This track is shaped like a triangle, with an outer dirt track featuring a 1200m straight, and also 1600m and 2000m chutes, and it is 2250m around. The inner turf track has also 1200m, 1600m and 2000m chutes, though the 1200m chute is not used for those distances but to accomodate 2800m to 3200m races. The track seems a little narrow when compared to other big dirt tracks around the world, and it is 20m wide.

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The Emirates Racing Site has a nice diagram and some more info about the track.

Jul 6, 2008

Clairwood Racecourse

This is another southafrican racecourse, in Durban. It is a turf left-handed track with a 1200m straight course and an oval measuring around 2600m, thought it´s not actually a perfect oval since the far turn is bigger and more "square" thatn the clubhouse turn, which also isn´t symmetrical. At the top of the backstretch the distance is 2000m, so I guess that´s where they start those races.

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Kenilworth Racecourse

This is a left-handed turf course located in Cape Town South Africa, that actually has three totally different courses that come together after their respective finish lines. Taking the stretch run as reference, the "outside" course is 2700m around, and it has a chute for races up to 1900m, and the "inner" course is 2800m around (because its far turn is much bigger) and it uses the chute for races up to 2000m. Both courses are triangular in shape, with the clubhouse turn being the "third" side of the triangle. There is a 1200m Straight course that goes through both turns. Apparently all three courses have their own finish lines.

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Well, now I only have to post a racetrack from Asia to have all continents covered!

Jul 5, 2008

Hipodromo Nacional de Maroñas

This is my hometown main racetrack. It is a large (2065 metres) oval, with four chutes, the one in the stretch is for 750m (3 3/4 furlong) races and for the big 2800m (14 furlong) Gran Premio de Honor G.II Stakes, which is run in the spring. Also there is a 1300m (6 1/2 furlong) chute along the far turn, a 1800m (9 furlong) chute along the backstretch and a 2000m (10 furlong) chute on the clubhouse turn. There is an inside dirt training track, and you can see the remains of the third track that was wiped out during the remodelation work that took place 6 years ago.

This track was closed from 1997 until 2003, when it was reopened. It is the main racing venue in Uruguay, and one of the most important in South America. Races are run every saturday and sunday throughout the year.

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Jun 30, 2008

Randwick Racecourse

I decided to take a trip (albeit a virtual one) to one of Australia´s racecourses. I noticed that these tend to be bigger than the ones in the Americas, and also that the shapes are not the classic oval. This one in Sydney, for example, is almost square-shaped right hand course, though the near turn is sharper near the finish line, so it is trapezoidal really. This track has a 2200 meter circumference, and has chutes for 1000m races (doubling as the 3200m chute), 1200m, 1400m and 1600m. The four chutes are located along the backstretch. 1800m and 2000m races start on the turn.

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Jun 27, 2008

Yellowstone Downs

Look how small this track is! Just four furlongs or about 800 metres around! It is used for different breeds, but for thoroughbreds the two distances run here are 5 and 1/4 furlongs (using the chute on the stretch) and 7 furlongs (starting on the chute on the backstretch and then going around a second time).

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Jun 26, 2008

Santa Anita Racetrack

This classic west coast oval has it all: the dirt oval with a special chute, the inner turf, and the famous downhill 6 1/2 furlong turf course, that starts straight, takes a right and then makes a sweeping left hand turn, crosses over the dirt track and finishes. The dirt oval measures around a mile and the grass oval a little over 7 furlongs. The track has one dirt chute for 7 furlong races and another one for 10 furlong races.

The most usual distances are 6 to 7 furlongs, 1 1/16 miles and 1 1/8 miles over the dirt and 1 mile, 1 1/8 mile and 6 1/2 furlongs (almost) on the turf course.

North America´s longest turf race, the San Juan Capistrano Handicap, is run here over a distance of almost 1 3/4 miles. The race starts at the top of the downhill turf course and then the horses go around one extra time around the turf oval.

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