First Women’s Harness Race In Illinois
Chariot racing existed in ancient Greece and Rome. In the US the Dutch brought “hardriverij – hard drivery” to New Amsterdam in the 1700’s. Trotting harness races became a popular rural past-time using carts and carriages and by the early 19th century the first harness racing tracks where established. Trotting races were an attraction and most county fairs. A standard track for trotting was one mile with a standard time of 2.5 minutes maximum. While the classical thoroughbred is used in flat and jump races, the harness races use what is known as a ‘standardbred’ horse, a horse who can meet the standard distance and time. The horses race do not gallop but move in a specified gait–either the trot or the pace with a trotter’s forelegs move in tandem with the opposite hind legs.