Thoroughbred horse racing is a popular sport in Japan, with over 2,000 races held annually. The sport is organized by two governing bodies: the Japan Racing Association (JRA) and the National Association of Racing (NAR). The JRA is responsible for horseracing events at ten major racecourses in metropolitan areas, while the NAR is responsible for various local horseracing events throughout Japan.
Japan's top stakes races are run in the spring, autumn, and winter; the top race is the Japan Cup. Purses for graded stakes races begin at ¥74.6 million (about US$882,000). The country's most prominent race is the Grade 1 Japan Cup, a 2,400 m (about 1½ mile) invitational turf race run every November at Tokyo Racecourse for a purse of ¥476 million (about US$5.6 million), which used to be the richest turf race in the world. Other noted stakes races include the February Stakes, Takamatsunomiya Kinen, Yasuda Kinen, Takarazuka Kinen, Arima Kinen, and the Tenno Sho races run in the spring and autumn. The Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Yushun, and Kikuka Sho comprise the Japanese Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
Horse racing is a major spectator sport in Japan, with millions of people attending races each year. The sport is also popular with bettors, with billions of yen wagered on races annually.
Here are some of the most popular thoroughbred horse racing tracks in Japan:
- Tokyo Racecourse: The most famous racecourse in Japan, Tokyo Racecourse is located in Fuchu, Tokyo. It is home to many of the country's biggest races, including the Japan Cup and the Tenno Sho.
- Hanshin Racecourse: Located in Takarazuka, Hyogo, Hanshin Racecourse is the second-largest racecourse in Japan. It is home to the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, one of the most prestigious races for fillies in Japan.
- Kokura Racecourse: Located in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Kokura Racecourse is the third-largest racecourse in Japan. It is home to the Zen-Nihon Nisai Yushun, one of the most prestigious races for two-year-olds in Japan.
If you are interested in learning more about thoroughbred horse racing in Japan, there are many resources available online and in your community. You can also contact a local racetrack to learn more about their events and programs.