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Horse racing in Barbados

Horse racing is an exciting element of the Bajan culture and “Going to the Races” is a top attraction on the island for locals and returning holidaymakers alike;

This great sport makes the perfect choice for a fun afternoon with family and friends. Here are five interesting facts that will make you want to join the sport of kings at the Garrison Savanah, one of the first horse racing tracks set in the Americas.

Horse Racing in Barbados is a tradition dating back almost 2 centuries

Racing on the island dates back to 1845 when Barbados was still part of the British Empire. Almost 200 years ago, British officers used to gather at the Garrison Savanah, a short drive from Bridgetown, to race their horses. Later on, they would also run against plantation owners and wealthy merchants who lived on the island. In the 19th century, horses represented a true way of life on the island as they were used for work, play and a gentle commute.

Race meetings occur over three seasons

The Barbados horse racing calendar is split into three seasons: January-April, May-September and November-December. For most tourists, this means there’s almost always a race to enjoy while on holiday. Races are most run on Saturdays when both locals and visitors can enjoy a lovely afternoon witnessing horses at their best.

The Barbados Gold Cup is the most famous race in the Caribbean

The Sandy Lane Gold Cup is the main event of the season. Once known as the Cockspur Gold Cup, the race attracts entrants from all the Caribbean islands, as well as from the United Kingdom and Canada. The race is always scheduled for the first Saturday in March (every year since 1982) and consists of a turf course at a distance of 1,800 meters. The event attracts enthusiasts from all over the world.

The Barbados Turf Club organises the most horse races

Established in 1905, the Barbados Turf Club is responsible for the coordination of most races on the island. The club organises all the famous competitions, including the Barbados Triple Crown, the Coolmore Trophy, and the Victor Chandler Trophy. Another important organisation to be mentioned is the Barbados Thoroughbred Breeders' Association; it sponsors five races every year, specially created for Barbadian bred horses.

The day at the races is for all the family

The fantastic atmosphere at the Garrison is suitable for the entire family. There’s a bit of everything - street food, parades, and the ability to organise picnics with your loved ones, regardless of their age.