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  1. #1
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    Default Why Are Races Run Going Counterclockwise ??

    Ok, anyone know the history of why this is done? All racetrack races (at least in America) being run on the left rein?

    Enlighten me, please.

    Thank you



  2. #2
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    Because they run clockwise in England, and the guy who really started horseracing in the US was a revolutionist - so he ran his races counterclockwise.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirGali View Post
    Because they run clockwise in England, and the guy who really started horseracing in the US was a revolutionist - so he ran his races counterclockwise.
    Most famous races in England

    Derby - counterclockwise
    Oaks - counterclockwise
    St Leger - clockwise
    2000 Guineas - straight
    1000 Guineas - straight

    Jump races
    Grand National - counterclockwise
    Gold Cup - counterclockwise

    There are probably more counterclockwise courses in England than clockwise. Here, you can count them yourself if you have the time, I don't... http://icard.racinguk.com/course

    So, so much for that theory.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Anyone?



  5. #5
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    Default

    It's probably like asking why do we drive on the right, and they drive on the left. At least with auto racing, there is some logic. The driver sits on the left, and spinouts gravitate toward the outter wall so that side of the car generally absorbs more impact. With horses, the only thing significant about direction I can think of is the lead a horse travels on for the turns and stretches would be reversed with the direction they are traveling. Apparently some horses can even adjust to that with success (ie, Goldikova)



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jengersnap View Post
    It's probably like asking why do we drive on the right, and they drive on the left. At least with auto racing, there is some logic. The driver sits on the left, and spinouts gravitate toward the outter wall so that side of the car generally absorbs more impact.
    Um.
    I don't think so.

    A. MANY auto racing tracks run clockwise (Waktins Glen, Road Atlanta, Summit Pt, Virginia International Raceway)

    B. Racing cars traditionally had the steering wheel on the right, regardless of the country of origin . (The attached picture is an Italian racing car. In Italy they drive on the right and street cars have the steering wheel on the left)

    ETA that Stock car races go counterclockwise BECAUSE US horse races go that way.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Janet; Oct. 6, 2010 at 09:31 AM.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  7. #7
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    An instructor friend of mine said it was because most horses tend to be *left-handed/hooved* (as opposed to people who mostly tend to be right-handed). Never heard that before until this discussion.

    I don't agree with that, I thought most horses generally were/are right-handed/hooved (just like people).

    Her reasoning was that left-handed/hooved horses would have a faster race going in the direction that they tended to take the lead on most naturally.

    My reasoning was the opposite. That right-handed/hooved ponies would save more energy throughout the race if they had to swap leads ... so by travelling to the left, switching leads to the right is made easier for the jockey (easier to fall into the natural/right lead when needed). Left lead for the turns ... swap on the straightaways ...



  8. #8
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    According to Answerbag.com:

    "...In the case of American horse racing the reason has less to do with physics and much more to do with politics. In 1780, the first circular US race track was established by William Whitley near his home in Lincoln County, Kentucky. A staunch supporter of the Revolution, Whitley insisted that horses race counterclockwise, as opposed to clockwise as was the custom at the time in England. While some race tracks were slow to adapt (Belmont racetrack in NY actually ran clockwise until 1921), now all racetracks in the US follow Whitney's patriotic tradition..."



  9. #9
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    Posted by sar2008:

    the reason has less to do with physics and much more to do with politics
    Why does that not suprise me

    I actually thought my theory was maybe too much



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sar2008 View Post
    According to Answerbag.com:

    "...In the case of American horse racing the reason has less to do with physics and much more to do with politics. In 1780, the first circular US race track was established by William Whitley near his home in Lincoln County, Kentucky. A staunch supporter of the Revolution, Whitley insisted that horses race counterclockwise, as opposed to clockwise as was the custom at the time in England. While some race tracks were slow to adapt (Belmont racetrack in NY actually ran clockwise until 1921), now all racetracks in the US follow Whitney's patriotic tradition..."
    I don't know why people keep persisting with this ol' chestnut. In England, they have always raced in both directions. In fact the oldest racetrack still running in England is Chester racecourse. They have held races at the "Roodee" (as it is affectionately known) since 1539. Guess what? It's a one mile left handed oval (of sorts)...... how American!

    So either this story is bunkum or Mr Whitley was pretty uninformed.



  11. #11
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    it's probably as easy as the color of money: if all tracks are as close to identical as you can get the handicapping is easier...

    But in the Old World they race either way. I think it's depending on the topography, because the tracks are not cookie cutter ovals, but fit into the existing landscape. Cologne, Germany for example is pretty much egg shaped, with a home stretch of roughly 3 furlongs, slightly uphill....raced clockwise if memory serves me right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.



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